Yearly results list season-to-date times for all runners, with matching times from past years for returning runners. Junior high races range from 1.55 to 2 miles, and may vary from meet to meet and sometimes from year to year at the same meet. The tables generally make note of that.
Salem Invitational, Tuesday, October 6
Trey Peugeot is getting used to running to daylight. For the second week in a row, Trey took the lead within 300 yards of the finish but was nipped at the finish. At Salem High School, he finished a step behind the winner but was recorded in the same time. He has now been second two weeks in a row, with a total time difference of less than 1.5 seconds. Jake Ward also fought all the way through to finish sixth. Jacob Smith hit his PR of 21:07 on the fast course. Brock Sturdivant pushed through to a top 20 finish and Hunter Barnett stepped in as fifth man while Jesus Figueroa struggled with a sore back. Hunter also recorded a strong PR at 22:43, first time under 23 minutes. The squad finished third, but likely would have been first had Tristen Driver returned from medical rest.
The Salem course is friendly and fast, perhaps a little short, for it is generally a place for season’s best performances. Junior boys and girls nearly all set their PRs at the race. Jillian Jones finished second against a strong kick as the leader ran to a 10-second advantage in the last 200 yards. Jillian nevertheless ran nearly half a minute faster than her previous best, which came on the same course last year. Kaylee Clark and Tori Roddy dropped a minute off of their best times from earlier this year.
Sloan-Hendrix Invitational, Tuesday, September 29
With Tristen Driver still under medical supervision after his asthma attack, the senior boys stepped up to a strong third place finish at Old Davidsonville Park in Pocahontas. Trey Peugeot surged from fourth place at the two-mile mark to catch and pass eventual winner Jesse Applewhite with a quarter-mile to go. Applewhite responded to outkick Trey to the tape by 1.3 seconds. That’s a fantastic finish for Trey on a difficult course with rolling hills in a hard-pack woodland trail that shifts onto soft grass and finally paved path. It’s tough for terrain change, treacherous footing, and challenging hills. Jesus Figueroa ran a strong race as fourth man just ahead of Jacob Smith.
The junior boys race saw unreliable official scoring and times as the finish line crew was not efficient for the day’s first race. Official results posted later showed the boys in fourth place, with only 4 points separating the second-, third-, and fourth-place teams behind winner Heber Springs. Corbyn Snell finished in seventh, with Peyton Fowler in 13th. Aubry Southerland ran a solid race to finish 31st, and Kaden Shaw and Austin Scott are continuing to pace and challenge each other. Gage Baker ran a good steady race in his cross-country debut, and Noah Swaim put in his best effort of the year. (I have not added the Jr boys times to my chart of results yet, awaiting verification from Coach Wilson, since he was at the finish line with his watch recording our times.)
Jillian Jones won the junior girls race with an improved time from last year, though the course was modified and a little more difficult. Alaina Chism also ran a good bit better than she did at the same race last year. Kaylee Clark, Tori Roddy, and Madelyn Cunningham all registered their best times of the year, as the team finished third, just 10 points behind the two teams tied for first. The five Pioneer scorers actually had a faster average time than the winning teams. Olivia Scaggs returned from injury to run hard but a little slower from the time off.
West Side Eagle Invitational, Tuesday, September 22
Pioneer leaders had a tough day at the Eagle Invitational in Greers Ferry as Jillian Jones took a substantial lead more than halfway through the junior girls race only to be misdirected at a turn. She likely ran more than half a mile extra to return to the field. The day was more dangerous for Tristen Driver, who fought through an asthma attack in the senior boys race, needing medical attention after finishing. He finished seventh but his time was more than a minute slower than over the same course the year before. He has been evaluated and will return to the team after recovery time off.
Race officials were advised of the guidance error affecting Jillian and the next two leaders, and times were adjusted by 3 minutes with places awarded accordingly. Among other junior Pioneers, Madelyn Cunningham made noticeable improvement to finish strong right behind Tori Roddy.
In senior boys, Trey Peugeot and Jake Ward pulled alongside Tristen and pressed on to second and fourth place, respectively. With Brock Sturdivant 14th and Jacob Smith in 28th, the boys finished a close third behind West Side and Heber. Tristen’s typical top 3 finish would have put the Pioneers first or within a point or two. Jesus Figueroa ran an excellent race to finish on Jacob Smith’s heels, and Hunter Barnett also made big gains.
The junior boys did well with Corbyn Snell in fifth and Peyton Fowler in hot pursuit at seventh. Kaden Shaw and Austin Scott kept it together in 30th and 35th, respectively. The junior boys had a bit of drama of their own as Brandon Grant missed the team bus and did not make it to the meet.
Cassie Taylor and Lauren Smith continue hard at it for the senior girls.
Josh Park Memorial Invitational, Tuesday, Sept. 15
The Pioneer senior boys continue to pick up steam, racing to another second place finish at the Josh Park Memorial 5K Invitational in Heber Springs. Tristen Driver finished second at 18:20 in the large-schools division, dropping 1:20 from his 2014 run on the park 5K course, with Trey Peugeot closing strong in third at 18:25, a full four minutes faster than his 2014 effort. Jake Ward (7th), Brock Sturdivant (20th), and Jesus Figueroa (26th/24th scorer) gave the Pioneers 56 points behind Vilonia’s 35. Figueroa moved into the fifth spot, improving two minutes from his cross-country debut the week before, even though the dam site park is a much harder course than Melbourne’s campus route. Jacob Smith gained 20 seconds over his 2014 race on the same course. Hunter Barnett also keeps progressing, running the longer senior high courses at faster pace than his shorter runs last year in junior high. Shawn Patterson also returns from a year away, picking up speed week by week.
Speaking of junior high, returnees Corbyn Snell and Peyton Fowler again led the way, with Peyton especially strong in 8th place, 3 minutes faster than his 2014 finish. Corbyn finished in 3rd and improved by a minute. Peyton was the only seventh grader on the team in 2014, when he finished in 16:49 in his first-ever cross-country race. This year four seventh-grade newcomers and one ninth-grade newcomer all finished faster or within seconds of that time. This is a strong young bunch with good years ahead if they stick with it. The team finished third.
The junior girls found the hillier course challenging, with some girls doing much better and others struggling a bit from the week before. Jillian Jones finished second by 5 seconds after pulling even with the winner in the last 150 yards. Jillian improved by 1:20 from 2014 on the course, and the girl who beat her had been 30 seconds ahead in that race. Kaylee Clark again finished as the second junior Pioneer, but the hills and extra half mile slowed her pace a bit. Madelyn Cunningham fared well under the challenge, hanging with Kaylee much of the way and keeping a faster pace than over the previous week’s shorter, easier course. Tori Roddy and Jadelyn Cunningham followed close behind, with Jadelyn also running a faster pace over the tougher course than the week before. Alaina Chism leaped ahead two minutes from her 2014 run. The team took third place just ahead of conference rival Greene County Tech and not far behind Greenbrier.
Senior Cassie Taylor picked up 3:20 from 2014, and Lauren Smith is running the extra mile of senior distance while keeping her pace from the shorter junior high courses.
Melbourne Bearkatz Invitational, Tuesday, Sept. 8
The Batesville Pioneer cross-country teams opened the 2015 season with a strong showing at the Bearkatz Invitational in Melbourne. Defending champ Tristen Driver battled Jesse Applewhite of Heber Springs to the wire in the senior boys race, trading positions a few times in the last half mile with Applewhite finding just enough extra in the last 120 yards to notch his first overall win. In the junior girls race, Jillian Jones learned from her 2014 experience where she was outkicked in the last 150 yards and instead took control of this year’s race, leaving the field behind on the final long hill half a mile out.
Plenty of Pioneers put in great efforts to back up their leaders. Trey Peugeot and Jake Ward finished third and fourth just behind Driver, and Brock Sturdivant was not far back in seventh, with Jacob Smith our fifth scorer in 30th in the team points. The team tied for first with Heber Springs but was awarded second in the tiebreaker, as the Heber sixth man finished ahead of Jesus Figueroa, a junior in his first cross country race. The team is much stronger than the 2014 squad, with four runners faster than the second Pioneer in 2014, and Jacob Smith improving his own time by more than a minute.
Returning junior high boys Corbyn Snell and Peyton Fowler both showed much improvement from last year’s race, finishing 13th and 29th. Newcomers Brian Briesmeister, Aubry Southerland, Kaden Shaw, Austin Scott, Devin Rice, Brandon Grant and Noah Swaim did well in their first meet.
Backing up Jones in the junior high girls meet was quite a crew of seventh-grade newcomers: Kaylee Clark (19th), Olivia Scaggs (33rd), Tori Roddy (42nd), Madelyn Cunningham (80th), and Halle Schroeder (91st). Eighth grader Alaina Chism (59th) returned a few seconds slower in this year’s heat and humidity, right behind ninth grader Jadelyn Cunningham (58th), who returns to the squad after missing 2014.
Senior girls Cassie Taylor (19th) and Lauren Smith (30th) ran a course shortened to the junior high distance under threat of lightning.