Pictured above, nearly 650 athletes preregistered to run the Mansfield Cross Country Meet on September 23 in Mansfield. This is a fourth of the total in the junior girls 3K race. WOW!
By the time the last race fired off, the temperatures reached slightly above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. By the time the last runner crossed the finish line, the heat was cranking near the 90’s.
So it went for the 649 registered athletes that took part in the 14th Annual Mansfield Invitational Cross Country Meet. The 3.1 and 1.8 mile races that kicked off at cooler temperatures during the morning of September 23, were just plain hot by the end of the afternoon.
Mansfield had more than a few runners that stood out among the many competitors in attendance. Megan Rose, Faith Rainwater, Olivia Bouse, Devon Pyles, and Steven Perez finished either among the medal winners or were inside the top 20%.
The face of the Lady Tiger cross country team, Megan Rose, did her hometown proud as she bested her personal course record. The MHS senior was third overall with a time of 22:26.
Only two athletes ran better times than Rose in the women’s 5K race. Both runners were former state champions either as an individual or as a team. Kendall Hays of West Fork came in first with a mark of 21:18. Kennedy Timmerman clocked in at 21:50 for second.
Rainwater, just an eighth grader, was once again the Mansfield junior girl’s number one ranked runner. For the third time out of four meets, Rainwater took a top qualifying medal home. She was twelfth at the campus course which makes its way through the Tiger Nature Trail.
Bouse, who has consistently been a close second to her older teammate, finished 18th among 137 runners. For the fourth consecutive meet the seventh grade rising star was ever so shy of the medal recognition.
On the men’s side, Pyles produced for the senior team. According to his own record, this was the fastest time he has posted along the 5K course.
“It’s good to see Devon continue to improve over the span of his career,” stated a proud coach in John Mackey. “He never questions the method, and trusts what we do has value. Devon’s a quality person. I’m glad for him.”
Pyles was 22nd in the second race of the morning. He was battling a combination score of both large and small schools ranked together. There were 109 men in his event.
For the junior boys’ squad, Perez was another story of oh so close. Like his counter part in Bouse, Perez had another near miss. The eighth grader finished 29th out of 178 runners. That mark was outside the top 15 medalists but within the top 16% among all classifications.
Others making strides for the Tigers included Lennon Woods, Natalie Brewer, and Corrina Wesley off the senior women’s team.
Woods seemed to make positive statement towards her recovery of a leg issue that kept her away from training and the first meet of the season. Her 25:13 wasn’t far off her personal record set at last season’s River Valley All-Star Meet. Furthermore it was nearly 2 minutes faster than her Clarksville run earlier in the week.
Brewer and Wesley recorded nearly identical times going 33rd and 34th among the large field of senior high participants. Brewer crossed at 27:19.37. Wesley went 22:19.61. Both had solid times despite spending the previous night cheering late at the Tiger football game and homecoming activities.