BHS-XC

*** Page Updated: 11/8/20 ***
Welcome, friends of Batesville High School and Junior High School cross country. This is the place for comprehensive unofficial information about Pioneer runners. Official results may be found by date and race name at ar.milesplit.com/results.
Reports: 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | Archive: Results | Schedules | Courses
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.
—BRUCE OAKLEY, Coach Bruce at rundamentals.fitness

 

5A State at Oaklawn Race Track, Hot Springs, Nov. 6

Six Pioneer seniors closed out their careers in a fast 5A crowd at the state championships Saturday at Oaklawn.

Brandon Grant and Tori Roddy showed their veteran leadership, with Brandon 45th in 18:16 in the field of 191 and Tori 92nd of 171 in 25:06, matching her best time of the year.

Brandon raced a bold first mile with the top 20 pack in 5:20, accepting the challenge to break 18:00 trying to return to all-state status. The early pace took its toll but he held on for 18:16 to finish every race this year within seconds of his same time, piling up three firsts and a third in his four races before state.

Gunner Shell, usually swapping top finishes with Brandon, got caught in a bunch and knocked into an obstacle. He had to step off the course after trying to fight through for a mile. He had started on a sore ankle already and the injury retirement shines a light on the fighting spirit that earned him all-state status the previous two years. Devin Rice ran his best race of the year by half a minute at 20:44, not far off his career best in only his second time ever under 21:00. Hats off to these senior boys for years of dedication and effort.

Tori also ran a strong start and maintained the aggressive pace throughout. Consistency has been her trademark and she has raced better and better as her confidence has grown through the years. Longtime running mate Madelyn Cunningham, this year’s homecoming queen, finished in 28:26, her second-best time of the year, as she looks ahead to outdoor track and her 400- and 800-meter specialties. Becca Wehrung, also a senior maid in the homecoming court, served the Pioneers well with impressive progress in a few short weeks. She finished in 28:00, more than a minute faster than 10 days before, and four minutes faster than her debut not 30 days ago Oct. 13. Older sister Anna ran cross-country a few years back, younger sister Emma was a junior high track standout in 2019, and younger brother Isaac is a leader on the junior high boys team. Isaac helped recruit Becca out of the classroom in October to give the ladies a scoring team of five runners.

Junior Kate Moody, another newcomer encouraged by a racing brother (her twin, Trey), also ran a strong race in 28:53, seconds off her best. Kate, a 200- and 400-meter track specialist and swimmer, made her debut with Becca Oct. 13. Freshman Kinley Dorris moved up to senior high as the biggest surprise of the day, running with Tori early and keeping company with her more experienced teammates in the shifting mid-pack. She finished a promising debut in 28:35, with her 5K pace a bit better than her usual junior high pace over half the distance.

Junior Maggie Walton, coming in with the team’s top time of the year, soldiered through circulatory distress to battle home in 29:17.

For the boys, junior Trey Moody steps up as the heir apparent to Brandon, recording his career best of 18:49. The Oaklawn course and competition suits him, as his previous best came last year at state. Fellow junior Noah Chaffin adds to the returning depth, as he and Devin pushed together over much of the course, with Noah notching his year’s best at 20:59. Sophomores Tanner Queary and Daniel Latus followed in 22:56 and 23:31, respectively. Daniel is new to the team this year, prodded by swimming teammate Trey. Sophomore Andrew Wixson, already a four-year veteran of the program but in his first senior high season, smashed his best by more than a minute, clocking 24:01. Junior Nathan Hernandez, another swimmer in his first season, finished in 28:35.

Junior Jacob Dorris and freshmen Trevor Finnie and Alexander Tenace traveled with their teammates as alternates and support crew.

The athletes will not have too much rest, as the swimmers now are lobbying some of the runners to reciprocate to build their scoring team. Two meets are already on tap next week. Other runners return to basketball, but most will look to maintain fitness for spring track.

So we run down the curtain on a strange, short season with best wishes for next year and highest praise for these fine young men and women for their spirit and growth in these unusual times.

Official results: https://ar.milesplit.com/meets/393872-arkansas-state-cross-country-championships-2020/results/

5A-East Championship, Crowley’s Ridge College, Oct. 27

Batesville senior Brandon Grant reigns as district champion for the second straight year, this time topping 5A-East at Crowley’s Ridge College. The Pioneers finished third Tuesday as a team behind Jonesboro and Searcy, with seniors Gunner Shell and Kaden Shaw sitting out the race. The junior boys took four top 10 medals to finish second behind Annie Camp. Eighth-grader Kennedy Johnson medaled 10th in the junior girls race.

The senior boys ran first on a cool overcast day and rain-dampened course. Batesville junior Trey Moody ran a bold first mile in the lead well under 6 minutes with Grant in a pack 20 yards behind with Jonesboro senior Steven Harrison, Searcy junior Mason Sciba, and West Memphis junior Freddie Thorne.

Moody lost ground as the pack of four overtook him and fought together to the two-mile mark. Grant, Harrison and Sciba pushed the pace trading the lead throughout the last mile with Grant edging in front at the 270-degree turn to the finishing straight. Grant stayed a step ahead at the line, winning in his personal best 18:11.02, less than 3/4 second ahead of Harrison at 18:11.73. Sciba was just over a tenth back at 18:11.87.

Jonesboro packed in four of the next five finishers in the field of 46 to claim the team title with just 30 points.

Moody held on for 13th in 20:16 with senior Devin Rice in 15th at 21:05. Junior Noah Chaffin does not appear in the posted results, but he was unofficially timed in 21:19, which would be 19th place. Sophomore Tanner Queary is listed 23rd at 22:19, classmate Daniel Latus 26th in 23:13, junior Nathan Hernandez in 26:50 and junior Jacob Dorris in 28:46.

The Pioneer junior boys likewise started boldly with four in front at a quarter mile: Grant McDonald, Isaac Wehrung, Ethan Byler, and Ryan Barber. Byler is a freshman and the others are eighth-graders, and all four earned top 10 medals in the field of 38. Seventh-grader Hudson Copeland of Annie Camp and eighth-grader William Felipe of MacArthur Junior High gradually took control of the pace as McDonald fought to stay close. Copeland won in 9:25 with Felipe second in 9:27 and McDonald third in 9:41.

Wehrung finished sixth in 10:15 and Byler finished seventh with a sprint in 10:20.09 to nip Will Spikes of Annie Camp in 10:20.45. Barber grabbed 10th in 10:35. Freshman Alexander Tenace made the scoring five for the Pioneers in 23rd at 12:10. Seventh-grader Garrett Burton ran 14:28 with freshman Trevor Finnie steps behind in 14:31.

Annie Camp took the team title with five runners in the first 12 for 37 points to the Pioneers’ 47.

Jonesboro senior girls raced to the team title with individual winner Mary Beth Bailey at 20:57 and all five scorers in the first 12 for 29 points, with Searcy placing five in the top 17 for second at 43 points. The Pioneer ladies finished fourth with 81 points.

Sophomore Maggie Walton just missed a medal in 11th place at 25:56. Senior Tori Roddy finished 13th in 26:12, and classmate and homecoming queen Madelyn Cunningham finished 18th in 27:24, her best race of the year by more than a minute. Newcomer Becca Wehrung, with the team for only a month and also a senior homecoming maid, raced to a 2-minute personal best in 29:12. Junior Kate Moody, another newcomer in the past few weeks, ran 29:35.

Seventh-grade standout Sophia Gonzales of Greene County Tech ran away with the junior girls title in 10:40, more than half a minute ahead of eighth-grader Starlyn Edwards of Paragould. Tech also claimed the team title with 26 points. The Pioneers did not have five runners in the field of 33 for a team score.

Eighth-grader Kennedy Johnson started early in medal position but was clinging to mid-pack at the mile mark, needing to pass a group of four in the hilly closing half-mile. She put her junior high track half-mile experience to work to leave all four behind as she powered home in 12:53.

Seventh-grader Claire Brooks finished 21st in 13:56 with freshman teammate Kinley Dorris 22nd in 14:11, her best of the year. Freshman Tamera Deutsch, also just a few weeks with the team, ran her best in 16:24, nearly 90 seconds better than on the same course two weeks ago.

The junior high season is finished but the ninth-graders can move up or travel to the state championship next week. Senior high wraps up at state Friday, Nov. 6, with the girls starting at 11:30 a.m. and the boys at 12:15 at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs.

Grant won the 4A-3 title last year and was third when Shell won the 4A-3 title in 2018. The Pioneers have won individual titles in seven of the past eight years, with Jillian Jones winning 5A-East girls in 2016 and 2017. Tristen Driver won the boys 5A-East title in 2013 and 2014.

Official results: https://ar.milesplit.com/meets/390791-5a-east-conference-meet-2020/results

Next up: 5A state championship, Friday, Nov. 6, at Oaklawn. Senior girls at 11:30, boys at 12:15.

Blazer Invitational, Joe Mack Campbell Park, Oct. 20

The Batesville Pioneers wrapped up the cross country regular season with a strong performance against their toughest competition Tuesday at the Valley View Blazer Kid Spot Invitational.

Senior Brandon Grant finished third behind Manila’s Connor Jackson, ranked fifth overall in the state over the 5K distance, and 5A East leader Keagan Pointer of Jonesboro. Jackson ran 16:39 to win easily on the soggy grass at the Joe Mack Campbell Park sports complex in Jonesboro. Grant and Pointer raced neck and neck to the finish, with Pointer at 18:18 edging Grant at 18:19.

Pointer and teammates claimed seven of the top 22 places to cruise to the team title with 34 points, ahead of race hosts and longtime Pioneer rival Valley View at 60. The Pioneers grabbed third with 90 points. Valley View had its five scorers in the top 22 and the Pioneers had three.

The Pioneers will contend with Jonesboro again Tuesday in the 5A East championship at Crowley’s Ridge College.

Pioneer senior Gunner Shell finished 14th in 20:06 and junior Trey Moody also brought home a top 20 medal, 18th in 20:38. Junior Noah Chaffin came in 29th of 96 in 21:23, with Southside senior Brycen Sutton not far behind, 33rd in 21:45. Senior Devin Rice rounded out the Pioneer scoring five in 37th at 21:54. Southside’s Jonathan Calhoun finished 53rd in 23:17.

Remaining area finishers are Pioneer sophomore Tanner Queary 23:40, Cedar Ridge junior James Cleveland 24:23, and Pioneers senior Kaden Shaw 24:53, sophomore Daniel Latus 25:56, junior Nathan Hernandez 26:30 and sophomore Andrew Wixson 27:49. Southside and Cedar Ridge did not have five runners for a team score.

Valley View flipped the script in the senior girls race, beating Jonesboro 23-46, with Batesville fifth at 136, edged out of fourth by Brookland at 135.

Jonesboro senior Mary Beth Bailey took the individual title in 20:47, but was followed by four Blazers, with senior Reese McMillan second at 20:59. The Blazers had seven ladies take top 20 medals and Jonesboro claimed five. Southside junior Brett Gardner finished 14th in 24:41 and Pioneer sophomore Maggie Walton fought to 18th in 25:12. Other local finishers in the field of 79 are Pioneer senior Tori Roddy 29th in 27:05, Southside junior Olivia Allen 27:49, and Batesville senior Madelyn Cunningham 28:46, junior Kate Moody 30:00 and senior Becca Wehrung 31:52.

Valley View also won the junior high races, grabbing the boys title with 51 points to Batesville’s 86 in second. Southside finished ninth and Cedar Ridge did not have a team score in the two-mile run. Seventh-grader Hudson Copeland of Annie Camp won in 12:26, but the Blazers and Pioneers each had four medalists before the winner’s next teammate. The Pioneers were led by eighth-grader Grant McDonald fourth in 12:45, with ninth-grader Ethan Byler fifth in 12:48, and eighth-graders Isaac Wehrung 10th and Ryan Barber 11th in 13:43.

Kyle Provence led Cedar Ridge, 39th of 98 at 15:18, ahead of teammates Phoenix Ballard 16:06 and Javahn McCann 16:25.

Luke McLaughlin crossed the line first for Southside, 45th in 15:55, joined by Jeremiah Morris 16:17, Micah Kelley 16:24, Ezra Busby 16:37, Caleb Middleton 16:39, Cody Brown 18:02 and Gage Tarpley 21:39.

Fifth scorer for the Pioneers was freshman Alexander Tenace 18:42, nipping classmate Trevor Finnie by tenths of a second.

Sophia Gonzalez ran wire to wire to win the junior girls race in 13:47, 20 seconds in front of fellow seventh-grader Vada Watkins of Westside Consolidated. Valley View placed six in the top 20 for the team title with 29 points, with Green County Tech second at 60. Southside finished sixth and Batesville and Cedar Ridge did not have team scores.

Eighth-grader Leilah Campbell of Cedar Ridge brought home a medal in 18th at 16:12. Southside’s Madison Edington just missed in 22nd at 16:44 as did Pioneer Kennedy Johnson 23rd in 16:49. Also for Southside, Abby Strother finished 29th out of 103, in 17:31, followed by Krieston Bright 18:19, Leah Miller 18:27, Callie Low 21:07 and Rhanda Fields 21:10. Lady Pioneer finishers are seventh-grader Claire Brooks 18:43, tenths of a second ahead of freshman Kinley Dorris, and freshman Tamera Deutsch 23:26. Gracie McNutt of Cedar Ridge ran 21:09.

Official results: https://ar.milesplit.com/meets/389390-blazer-kid-spot-invitational/results

Next up: 5A-East championship Oct. 27 at Crowley’s Ridge College.

Race on the Ridge, Crowley’s Ridge College, Oct. 13

The Batesville Pioneers and Brandon Grant earned their second titles of the year Tuesday in the Race on the Ridge. Seniors Grant and Gunner Shell paced steadily near the front for the first 1.5 miles of the 3.1-mile race, with Grant taking over from Jonesboro’s Steven Harrison to win by 4 seconds in 18:19. Shell worked hard to hold fifth in 19:29.

The cooler temperatures at Crowley’s Ridge College helped the Pioneers across all four races. Nearly every runner was at least a minute faster than on the easier, flat course at Sulphur Rock for the Pioneer Invitational season opener a month ago.

Trey Moody ran a smooth 20:18 in seventh, with junior classmate Noah Chaffin hanging close most of the way in 12th at 21:05 in his first race of the season. Senior Devin Rice ran a solid pace with a strong closing mile and a dead sprint to a photo finish in 16th at 21:19, a tenth of a second off the individual medal for 15th. Sophomore Tanner Queary finished 30th in the field of 70 in 22:48, with classmate Daniel Latus fighting for 45th in 24:30 in only his second race as a newcomer from swimming. Fellow sophomore Andrew Wixson continues to improve with added mileage, keeping Latus in sight for 48th in 25:07, also in only his second race at senior high distance.

Juniors Nathan Hernandez (54th, 26:01) and Jacob Dorris (61st, 28:11) battled through the hills to improve much, despite stress rivaling the heat and humidity at Sulphur Rock.

5A-East district rivals Greene County Tech put on the meet at the hilly campus that will be home to the district championship in two weeks. The Pioneers got a good look at the course and the district competition, as Jonesboro, Marion, Nettleton, Paragould, West Memphis, and Greene County Tech ran, and only Searcy not attending. (Jonesboro looks to have split their senior boys squad with their top runners resting for the Lake Hamilton Invitational on Saturday.)

The Pioneers beat runner-up Marion 32-73 for the team plaque Tuesday.

The senior girls fielded a scoring five for the first time outside a district or state championship since 2018, with junior Kate Moody and senior Becca Wehrung making their debuts. Junior Maggie Walton returned to strong form in the cooler weather to take the 11th place medal in a solid 24:41. Senior Tori Roddy turned in a steady 27:24 for 26th, with Moody, a 400-meter track star, pacing to 30th in 28:37 in her first cross-country 5K. Senior Madelyn Cunningham dropped a minute from her Sulphur Rock race, finishing 33rd in 29:02. Wehrung, from a Pioneer running family with an older sister who ran cross-country, a younger one who runs track, and a younger brother who runs both for the junior Pioneers, did the siblings proud after only a couple of weeks practice, claiming 38th in 31:29 among 58 finishers.

Valley View won the team title with a perfect 15 score. Jonesboro was second at 69, Brookland third at 92, and Batesville fourth at 94.

The junior boys also earned a team plaque for second place, just a few points behind longtime rival Valley View, staying back in 4A this year. Four junior Pioneers finished with top 15 medals, led by eighth-grader Grant McDonald in fifth at 9:46. Freshman newcomer (from swimming) Ethan Byler and eighth-grader Isaac Wehrung ran together much of the way, with Byler getting the edge by a step, eighth in 10:00.36 to ninth in 10:00.94. Eighth-grader Ryan Barber, a newcomer from basketball and also in only his second race, finished 14th in 10:21. Valley View placed two runners right behind Barber and their fifth in the top 25 to edge the Pioneers 68-72, with Batesville’s freshman Alexandre Tenace the fifth scorer 42nd of 102 overall in 11:32. Seventh-grader Garrett Burton and freshman Trevor Finnie made their debuts in steady company with Burton 79th in 13:39 and Finnie 40th in 13:40.

Valley View also won the junior girls title, edging Greene County Tech 33-39.

Seventh-grader Claire Brooks was the first of three junior high Lady Pioneers, 24th in 13:19. Freshman Kinley Dorris toughed out the hills in 52nd at 14:34, with newcomer classmate Tamera Deutsch 80th in 17:45. Three girls from volleyball are expected to round out the squad for the rest of the season.

The Pioneers race next Tuesday with host Valley View in the Blazer Kid Spot Invitational.

Official results: https://ar.milesplit.com/meets/390790-race-on-the-ridge/results

Next up: Valley View Blazer Kid Spot Invitational at Joe Mack Campbell Park in Jonesboro, Oct. 20, Junior high girls first at 3:45

Pioneer Invitational at Sulphur Rock, Sept. 15

The Batesville Pioneers started this strange 2020 cross-country season in familiar fashion, winning their home invitational at Sulphur Rock for the fourth consecutive time.

Senior Brandon Grant defended his individual title with a strong run from the front in 18:20 over the flat and fast 5K course, 90 seconds ahead of the field. That was also half a minute faster than his 2019 victory and just a few seconds off his fastest ever.

Senior teammate Gunner Shell, the 2018 champion here, took the early lead to the half-mile mark and held on for fourth place in 20:37. With juniors Trey Moody and Noah Chaffin unavailable, senior Devin Rice stepped up to take an individual medal in 12th place, better than his other career medal here at 15th in 2019.

Senior Kaden Shaw and sophomore Tanner Queary finished seconds apart in 20th and 21st to complete the scoring five for the champions, with runner-up Sloan-Hendrix the only other school to land four runners in the top 20. 5A-East District rivals Paragould and Greene County Tech finished fourth and fifth.

Recruits from the swim team made strong debuts, as sophomore Daniel Latus finished 26th in 24:07 and junior Nathan Hernandez followed in 37th. Sophomore Andrew Wixson finished 39th and junior Jacob Dorris 45th.

The senior girls were one runner short of a scoring team of five, but still claimed three individual medals in the top 15. Senior Tori Roddy showed the way with a steady 25:05 in sixth place for the second year in a row. Mountain View junior Chaelanne Vickers ran alone in the heat and humidity to win in 23:29, almost a minute ahead of sophomore Ava Lewis and senior Ashlyn Billingsley of team champions Izard County Consolidated.

Other medalists for the Lady Pioneers were home-school swim recruit Kate Gunter and veteran returnee Maggie Walton. Gunter, a sophomore, held up well in her well-paced debut, taking 12th in 27:00. Walton, a junior, also medaled for the second straight year, 14th in a bit off her 10th place finish in 2019. Senior Madelyn Cunningham finished 21st. District rivals Paragould claimed the runner-up team trophy, led by senior Alennea Smallie in 17th. Greene County Tech had only three finishers, with junior Hayley Russell a solid fourth in 24:44.

The junior Pioneers claimed three individual medals for a solid third-place. District rival Jonesboro landed all five scorers in the top 20 for the team title. Melbourne eighth-grader Shawn Wortham powered away to the individual championship in 9:07, leading the Bearkatz to second place.

Pioneer eighth grader Grant McDonald took seventh place in 9:37, 90 seconds faster than his 2019 personal best, with classmate Isaac Wehrung 12th in 9:54, a minute faster than his previous best. Another swim recruit, freshman Ethan Byler, impressed in his first outing, 14th in 10:01 over the 1.5 miles. Newcomer Ryan Barber, an eighth-grader cross-training with basketball, did well in his first race, 21st in 10:47. Freshman Alexander Tenace, who has practiced with the team in past years and run distance in track, finished 33rd in 11:18. Seventh-grade beginner Sam Smith worked hard to the finish in his first race on light practice after joining the team weeks into the season’s workouts.

Melbourne and Jonesboro traded places in the junior girls race, with the Lady Bearkatz winning 60-71, with Greene County Tech a close third at 74 points. Freshman Ellie Akins gave Mountain View both girls’ individual winners, running 10:34 to finish ahead of Tech seventh-grader Sophia Gonzalez in 11:00.

Batesville seventh-grader Claire Brooks finished mid-pack in her first race, 35th in 13:42. Veteran ninth-grader Kinley Dorris finished 62nd with newcomer classmate Tamera Deutsch persevering in her first time at the distance in 64th.

Official results: https://ar.milesplit.com/meets/391071-batesville-invitational-sulphur-rock/results

Next up: Salem Invitational, Sept. 22, Junior high girls first at 4:30

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5A-East Championship, Crowley’s Ridge College, Oct. 27

Batesville senior Brandon Grant reigns as district champion for the second straight year, this time topping 5A-East at Crowley’s Ridge College. The Pioneers finished third Tuesday as a team behind Jonesboro and Searcy, with seniors Gunner Shell and Kaden Shaw sitting out the race. The junior boys took four top 10 medals to finish second behind Annie Camp. Eighth-grader Kennedy Johnson medaled 10th in the junior girls race.

The senior boys ran first on a cool overcast day and rain-dampened course. Batesville junior Trey Moody ran a bold first mile in the lead well under 6 minutes with Grant in a pack 20 yards behind with Jonesboro senior Steven Harrison, Searcy junior Mason Sciba, and West Memphis junior Freddie Thorne.

Moody lost ground as the pack of four overtook him and fought together to the two-mile mark. Grant, Harrison and Sciba pushed the pace trading the lead throughout the last mile with Grant edging in front at the 270-degree turn to the finishing straight. Grant stayed a step ahead at the line, winning in his personal best 18:11.02, less than 3/4 second ahead of Harrison at 18:11.73. Sciba was just over a tenth back at 18:11.87.

Jonesboro packed in four of the next five finishers in the field of 46 to claim the team title with just 30 points.

Moody held on for 13th in 20:16 with senior Devin Rice in 15th at 21:05. Junior Noah Chaffin does not appear in the posted results, but he was unofficially timed in 21:19, which would be 19th place. Sophomore Tanner Queary is listed 23rd at 22:19, classmate Daniel Latus 26th in 23:13, junior Nathan Hernandez in 26:50 and junior Jacob Dorris in 28:46.

The Pioneer junior boys likewise started boldly with four in front at a quarter mile: Grant McDonald, Isaac Wehrung, Ethan Byler, and Ryan Barber. Byler is a freshman and the others are eighth-graders, and all four earned top 10 medals in the field of 38. Seventh-grader Hudson Copeland of Annie Camp and eighth-grader William Felipe of MacArthur Junior High gradually took control of the pace as McDonald fought to stay close. Copeland won in 9:25 with Felipe second in 9:27 and McDonald third in 9:41.

Wehrung finished sixth in 10:15 and Byler finished seventh with a sprint in 10:20.09 to nip Will Spikes of Annie Camp in 10:20.45. Barber grabbed 10th in 10:35. Freshman Alexander Tenace made the scoring five for the Pioneers in 23rd at 12:10. Seventh-grader Garrett Burton ran 14:28 with freshman Trevor Finnie steps behind in 14:31.

Annie Camp took the team title with five runners in the first 12 for 37 points to the Pioneers’ 47.

Jonesboro senior girls raced to the team title with individual winner Mary Beth Bailey at 20:57 and all five scorers in the first 12 for 29 points, with Searcy placing five in the top 17 for second at 43 points. The Pioneer ladies finished fourth with 81 points.

Sophomore Maggie Walton just missed a medal in 11th place at 25:56. Senior Tori Roddy finished 13th in 26:12, and classmate and homecoming queen Madelyn Cunningham finished 18th in 27:24, her best race of the year by more than a minute. Newcomer Becca Wehrung, with the team for only a month and also a senior homecoming maid, raced to a 2-minute personal best in 29:12. Junior Kate Moody, another newcomer in the past few weeks, ran 29:35.

Seventh-grade standout Sophia Gonzales of Greene County Tech ran away with the junior girls title in 10:40, more than half a minute ahead of eighth-grader Starlyn Edwards of Paragould. Tech also claimed the team title with 26 points. The Pioneers did not have five runners in the field of 33 for a team score.

Eighth-grader Kennedy Johnson started early in medal position but was clinging to mid-pack at the mile mark, needing to pass a group of four in the hilly closing half-mile. She put her junior high track half-mile experience to work to leave all four behind as she powered home in 12:53.

Seventh-grader Claire Brooks finished 21st in 13:56 with freshman teammate Kinley Dorris 22nd in 14:11, her best of the year. Freshman Tamera Deutsch, also just a few weeks with the team, ran her best in 16:24, nearly 90 seconds better than on the same course two weeks ago.

The junior high season is finished but the ninth-graders can move up or travel to the state championship next week. Senior high wraps up at state Friday, Nov. 6, with the girls starting at 11:30 a.m. and the boys at 12:15 at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs.

Grant won the 4A-3 title last year and was third when Shell won the 4A-3 title in 2018. The Pioneers have won individual titles in seven of the past eight years, with Jillian Jones winning 5A-East girls in 2016 and 2017. Tristen Driver won the boys 5A-East title in 2013 and 2014.

Official results: https://ar.milesplit.com/meets/390791-5a-east-conference-meet-2020/results

Next up: 5A state championship, Friday, Nov. 6, at Oaklawn. Senior girls at 11:30, boys at 12:15.

Blazer Invitational, Joe Mack Campbell Park, Oct. 20

The Batesville Pioneers wrapped up the cross country regular season with a strong performance against their toughest competition Tuesday at the Valley View Blazer Kid Spot Invitational.

Senior Brandon Grant finished third behind Manila’s Connor Jackson, ranked fifth overall in the state over the 5K distance, and 5A East leader Keagan Pointer of Jonesboro. Jackson ran 16:39 to win easily on the soggy grass at the Joe Mack Campbell Park sports complex in Jonesboro. Grant and Pointer raced neck and neck to the finish, with Pointer at 18:18 edging Grant at 18:19.

Pointer and teammates claimed seven of the top 22 places to cruise to the team title with 34 points, ahead of race hosts and longtime Pioneer rival Valley View at 60. The Pioneers grabbed third with 90 points. Valley View had its five scorers in the top 22 and the Pioneers had three.

The Pioneers will contend with Jonesboro again Tuesday in the 5A East championship at Crowley’s Ridge College.

Pioneer senior Gunner Shell finished 14th in 20:06 and junior Trey Moody also brought home a top 20 medal, 18th in 20:38. Junior Noah Chaffin came in 29th of 96 in 21:23, with Southside senior Brycen Sutton not far behind, 33rd in 21:45. Senior Devin Rice rounded out the Pioneer scoring five in 37th at 21:54. Southside’s Jonathan Calhoun finished 53rd in 23:17.

Remaining area finishers are Pioneer sophomore Tanner Queary 23:40, Cedar Ridge junior James Cleveland 24:23, and Pioneers senior Kaden Shaw 24:53, sophomore Daniel Latus 25:56, junior Nathan Hernandez 26:30 and sophomore Andrew Wixson 27:49. Southside and Cedar Ridge did not have five runners for a team score.

Valley View flipped the script in the senior girls race, beating Jonesboro 23-46, with Batesville fifth at 136, edged out of fourth by Brookland at 135.

Jonesboro senior Mary Beth Bailey took the individual title in 20:47, but was followed by four Blazers, with senior Reese McMillan second at 20:59. The Blazers had seven ladies take top 20 medals and Jonesboro claimed five. Southside junior Brett Gardner finished 14th in 24:41 and Pioneer sophomore Maggie Walton fought to 18th in 25:12. Other local finishers in the field of 79 are Pioneer senior Tori Roddy 29th in 27:05, Southside junior Olivia Allen 27:49, and Batesville senior Madelyn Cunningham 28:46, junior Kate Moody 30:00 and senior Becca Wehrung 31:52.

Valley View also won the junior high races, grabbing the boys title with 51 points to Batesville’s 86 in second. Southside finished ninth and Cedar Ridge did not have a team score in the two-mile run. Seventh-grader Hudson Copeland of Annie Camp won in 12:26, but the Blazers and Pioneers each had four medalists before the winner’s next teammate. The Pioneers were led by eighth-grader Grant McDonald fourth in 12:45, with ninth-grader Ethan Byler fifth in 12:48, and eighth-graders Isaac Wehrung 10th and Ryan Barber 11th in 13:43.

Kyle Provence led Cedar Ridge, 39th of 98 at 15:18, ahead of teammates Phoenix Ballard 16:06 and Javahn McCann 16:25.

Luke McLaughlin crossed the line first for Southside, 45th in 15:55, joined by Jeremiah Morris 16:17, Micah Kelley 16:24, Ezra Busby 16:37, Caleb Middleton 16:39, Cody Brown 18:02 and Gage Tarpley 21:39.

Fifth scorer for the Pioneers was freshman Alexander Tenace 18:42, nipping classmate Trevor Finnie by tenths of a second.

Sophia Gonzalez ran wire to wire to win the junior girls race in 13:47, 20 seconds in front of fellow seventh-grader Vada Watkins of Westside Consolidated. Valley View placed six in the top 20 for the team title with 29 points, with Green County Tech second at 60. Southside finished sixth and Batesville and Cedar Ridge did not have team scores.

Eighth-grader Leilah Campbell of Cedar Ridge brought home a medal in 18th at 16:12. Southside’s Madison Edington just missed in 22nd at 16:44 as did Pioneer Kennedy Johnson 23rd in 16:49. Also for Southside, Abby Strother finished 29th out of 103, in 17:31, followed by Krieston Bright 18:19, Leah Miller 18:27, Callie Low 21:07 and Rhanda Fields 21:10. Lady Pioneer finishers are seventh-grader Claire Brooks 18:43, tenths of a second ahead of freshman Kinley Dorris, and freshman Tamera Deutsch 23:26. Gracie McNutt of Cedar Ridge ran 21:09.

Official results: https://ar.milesplit.com/meets/389390-blazer-kid-spot-invitational/results

Next up: 5A-East championship Oct. 27 at Crowley’s Ridge College.

Race on the Ridge, Crowley’s Ridge College, Oct. 13

The Batesville Pioneers and Brandon Grant earned their second titles of the year Tuesday in the Race on the Ridge. Seniors Grant and Gunner Shell paced steadily near the front for the first 1.5 miles of the 3.1-mile race, with Grant taking over from Jonesboro’s Steven Harrison to win by 4 seconds in 18:19. Shell worked hard to hold fifth in 19:29.

The cooler temperatures at Crowley’s Ridge College helped the Pioneers across all four races. Nearly every runner was at least a minute faster than on the easier, flat course at Sulphur Rock for the Pioneer Invitational season opener a month ago.

Trey Moody ran a smooth 20:18 in seventh, with junior classmate Noah Chaffin hanging close most of the way in 12th at 21:05 in his first race of the season. Senior Devin Rice ran a solid pace with a strong closing mile and a dead sprint to a photo finish in 16th at 21:19, a tenth of a second off the individual medal for 15th. Sophomore Tanner Queary finished 30th in the field of 70 in 22:48, with classmate Daniel Latus fighting for 45th in 24:30 in only his second race as a newcomer from swimming. Fellow sophomore Andrew Wixson continues to improve with added mileage, keeping Latus in sight for 48th in 25:07, also in only his second race at senior high distance.

Juniors Nathan Hernandez (54th, 26:01) and Jacob Dorris (61st, 28:11) battled through the hills to improve much, despite stress rivaling the heat and humidity at Sulphur Rock.

5A-East district rivals Greene County Tech put on the meet at the hilly campus that will be home to the district championship in two weeks. The Pioneers got a good look at the course and the district competition, as Jonesboro, Marion, Nettleton, Paragould, West Memphis, and Greene County Tech ran, and only Searcy not attending. (Jonesboro looks to have split their senior boys squad with their top runners resting for the Lake Hamilton Invitational on Saturday.)

The Pioneers beat runner-up Marion 32-73 for the team plaque Tuesday.

The senior girls fielded a scoring five for the first time outside a district or state championship since 2018, with junior Kate Moody and senior Becca Wehrung making their debuts. Junior Maggie Walton returned to strong form in the cooler weather to take the 11th place medal in a solid 24:41. Senior Tori Roddy turned in a steady 27:24 for 26th, with Moody, a 400-meter track star, pacing to 30th in 28:37 in her first cross-country 5K. Senior Madelyn Cunningham dropped a minute from her Sulphur Rock race, finishing 33rd in 29:02. Wehrung, from a Pioneer running family with an older sister who ran cross-country, a younger one who runs track, and a younger brother who runs both for the junior Pioneers, did the siblings proud after only a couple of weeks practice, claiming 38th in 31:29 among 58 finishers.

Valley View won the team title with a perfect 15 score. Jonesboro was second at 69, Brookland third at 92, and Batesville fourth at 94.

The junior boys also earned a team plaque for second place, just a few points behind longtime rival Valley View, staying back in 4A this year. Four junior Pioneers finished with top 15 medals, led by eighth-grader Grant McDonald in fifth at 9:46. Freshman newcomer (from swimming) Ethan Byler and eighth-grader Isaac Wehrung ran together much of the way, with Byler getting the edge by a step, eighth in 10:00.36 to ninth in 10:00.94. Eighth-grader Ryan Barber, a newcomer from basketball and also in only his second race, finished 14th in 10:21. Valley View placed two runners right behind Barber and their fifth in the top 25 to edge the Pioneers 68-72, with Batesville’s freshman Alexandre Tenace the fifth scorer 42nd of 102 overall in 11:32. Seventh-grader Garrett Burton and freshman Trevor Finnie made their debuts in steady company with Burton 79th in 13:39 and Finnie 40th in 13:40.

Valley View also won the junior girls title, edging Greene County Tech 33-39.

Seventh-grader Claire Brooks was the first of three junior high Lady Pioneers, 24th in 13:19. Freshman Kinley Dorris toughed out the hills in 52nd at 14:34, with newcomer classmate Tamera Deutsch 80th in 17:45. Three girls from volleyball are expected to round out the squad for the rest of the season.

The Pioneers race next Tuesday with host Valley View in the Blazer Kid Spot Invitational.

Official results: https://ar.milesplit.com/meets/390790-race-on-the-ridge/results

Next up: Valley View Blazer Kid Spot Invitational at Joe Mack Campbell Park in Jonesboro, Oct. 20, Junior high girls first at 3:45

Pioneer Invitational at Sulphur Rock, Sept. 15

The Batesville Pioneers started this strange 2020 cross-country season in familiar fashion, winning their home invitational at Sulphur Rock for the fourth consecutive time.

Senior Brandon Grant defended his individual title with a strong run from the front in 18:20 over the flat and fast 5K course, 90 seconds ahead of the field. That was also half a minute faster than his 2019 victory and just a few seconds off his fastest ever.

Senior teammate Gunner Shell, the 2018 champion here, took the early lead to the half-mile mark and held on for fourth place in 20:37. With juniors Trey Moody and Noah Chaffin unavailable, senior Devin Rice stepped up to take an individual medal in 12th place, better than his other career medal here at 15th in 2019.

Senior Kaden Shaw and sophomore Tanner Queary finished seconds apart in 20th and 21st to complete the scoring five for the champions, with runner-up Sloan-Hendrix the only other school to land four runners in the top 20. 5A-East District rivals Paragould and Greene County Tech finished fourth and fifth.

Recruits from the swim team made strong debuts, as sophomore Daniel Latus finished 26th in 24:07 and junior Nathan Hernandez followed in 37th. Sophomore Andrew Wixson finished 39th and junior Jacob Dorris 45th.

The senior girls were one runner short of a scoring team of five, but still claimed three individual medals in the top 15. Senior Tori Roddy showed the way with a steady 25:05 in sixth place for the second year in a row. Mountain View junior Chaelanne Vickers ran alone in the heat and humidity to win in 23:29, almost a minute ahead of sophomore Ava Lewis and senior Ashlyn Billingsley of team champions Izard County Consolidated.

Other medalists for the Lady Pioneers were home-school swim recruit Kate Gunter and veteran returnee Maggie Walton. Gunter, a sophomore, held up well in her well-paced debut, taking 12th in 27:00. Walton, a junior, also medaled for the second straight year, 14th in a bit off her 10th place finish in 2019. Senior Madelyn Cunningham finished 21st. District rivals Paragould claimed the runner-up team trophy, led by senior Alennea Smallie in 17th. Greene County Tech had only three finishers, with junior Hayley Russell a solid fourth in 24:44.

The junior Pioneers claimed three individual medals for a solid third-place. District rival Jonesboro landed all five scorers in the top 20 for the team title. Melbourne eighth-grader Shawn Wortham powered away to the individual championship in 9:07, leading the Bearkatz to second place.

Pioneer eighth grader Grant McDonald took seventh place in 9:37, 90 seconds faster than his 2019 personal best, with classmate Isaac Wehrung 12th in 9:54, a minute faster than his previous best. Another swim recruit, freshman Ethan Byler, impressed in his first outing, 14th in 10:01 over the 1.5 miles. Newcomer Ryan Barber, an eighth-grader cross-training with basketball, did well in his first race, 21st in 10:47. Freshman Alexander Tenace, who has practiced with the team in past years and run distance in track, finished 33rd in 11:18. Seventh-grade beginner Sam Smith worked hard to the finish in his first race on light practice after joining the team weeks into the season’s workouts.

Melbourne and Jonesboro traded places in the junior girls race, with the Lady Bearkatz winning 60-71, with Greene County Tech a close third at 74 points. Freshman Ellie Akins gave Mountain View both girls’ individual winners, running 10:34 to finish ahead of Tech seventh-grader Sophia Gonzalez in 11:00.

Batesville seventh-grader Claire Brooks finished mid-pack in her first race, 35th in 13:42. Veteran ninth-grader Kinley Dorris finished 62nd with newcomer classmate Tamera Deutsch persevering in her first time at the distance in 64th.

Official results: https://ar.milesplit.com/meets/391071-batesville-invitational-sulphur-rock/results

Next up: Salem Invitational, Sept. 22, Junior high girls first at 4:30

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