(Pictured Left to Right) Alyssa Berry, Devon Pyles, and Megan Rose
One of the largest high school cross country meets in the nation, the Chile Pepper Festival in Fayetteville Arkansas, saw a trio of Mansfield products take the challenge.
Juniors Megan Rose and Devon Pyles along with sophomore Alyssa Berry boarded the bus early Saturday morning to showcase their talents against thousands of runners. Going against 1,160 male runners and 763 female runners, the local distance runners showed that they belonged in such a competition.
The Tiger triad saw teams from Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Arkansas. That was just in their divisional races and did not include the “El Caliente” elite competitors from regions in the country.
Rose fared the best among the Mansfield collection. The 2015 district champion finished among the top 19%. Her mark of 23:37.6 placed her 148 out of 763.
“Megan’s time was about a half-minute faster than last year at the Chile Pepper,” stated her cross country coach John Mackey. “She’s coming on and really motivated to do well. Right now she’s the face of our cross country program.”
Rose averaged 7:37 per mile over the 5K course. It was the same course her idol Dominique Scott-Efurd of the University of Arkansas won last year as a college senior. It was the same Scott that recently competed in the Rio Olympics back in August.
Tiger teammate Alyssa Berry competed in her first Chile Pepper Festival. The timid tenth grader was a little over two minutes behind her friend Rose.
“Alyssa ran her best time so far this cross country season,” explained Mackey. “She got into the 25 minute range near the end of last season and just recently dip under 26 minutes the other day at Magazine.”
Berry was clocked at 25:43.68. Her placement was 315 out of the near 800 runners putting her near the top 40%. Her rate of speed was 8:18 per mile.
Pyles was the lone representative for the Tiger men. The eleventh grader rushed around the 3.1 mile equivalent in 20:57.98. His mark was 547 out of the over one thousand racers.
“Devon is coming on as well,” stated Mackey. “He’s picked up a medal already this season and has a solid chance to make the all-stars again if we can get his time down a little more.”
Pyles averaged 6:45 miles. According to his coach, they are working to get that down closer to 6:30 miles within the next few weeks.
Congrats Alyssa, Devon, and Megan!