HOT SPRINGS -- Siloam Springs went into the Class 5A Girls State Championship Cross Country Meet feeling the pressure and nerves that goes with being four-time defending state champions.
But if the Lady Panthers had butterflies prior to the meet, those were not evident in their performance.
TEAM RESULTS 1. Lake Hamilton 53; 2. Mountain Home 88; 3. Maumelle 107, 4. Siloam Springs 141, 5. Russellville 148, 6. Benton 195, 7. Lakeside 251, 8. Vilonia 259, 9. Jonesboro 266, 10. Beebe 287.
1. Dominic Ward, Greenbrier, 16:46.1
2. Kazdyn Chandler, Nettleton, 17:02.8
3. Colby Swecker, Lake Hamilton, 17:09.3
4. Tyler Harrod, Maumelle, 17:14.8
5. Whit Lawrence, Mountain Home, 17:21.4
6. Damion Brown, Jonesboro, 17:24.8.
7. Michael Capehart, Siloam Springs, 17:26.1
8. JD Otts, Vilonia, 17:27.6
9. Kerrig Kelly, Siloam Springs, 17:29.1
10. William Swecker, Lake Hamilton, 17:29.5
29. Samuel Granderson, Siloam Springs, 18:16.8
49. Javier Chavez, Siloam Springs, 18:53.0
54. Adam Kennedy, Siloam Springs, 19:02.8
56. Blake Morrison, Siloam Springs, 19:03.0
62. Jordyn Baskins, Siloam Springs, 19:12.0
113. Luke Fields, Siloam Springs, 20:23.9
126. Ben Humphries, Siloam Springs, 20:44.6
TEAM RESULTS 1. Siloam Springs 86; 2. Jonesboro 102; 3. Vilonia 134; 4. Mountain Home 156; 5. Little Rock Christian 162, 6. Lake Hamilton 167, 7. Russellville 188, 8. Greenwood 244, 9. HS Lakeside 252, 10. Maumelle 270.
1. Sara Steimel, Jonesboro, 20:03.5
2. Presley Roberts, Greenbrier, 20:39.0
3. Marcie Cudworth, Mountain Home, 20:45.6
4. Taylor Koeth, Greenwood, 20:52.7
5. Victoria Ortega, Maumelle, 21:02.1
6. Macie Cash, Greenwood, 21:03.9
7. Chloe McGooden, Siloam Springs, 21:09.3
8. Jescina Droughn, Jonesboro, 21:18.2
9. Bryn Westby, Vilonia, 21:24.7
10. Emma Selph, Benton, 21:28.2.
14. Quincy Efurd, Siloam Springs, 21:43.5
16. Candy Dubon, Siloam Springs, 21:47.7
24. Jacilyn Weilnah, Siloam Springs, 22:25.3
25. Rebekah Rodgers, Siloam Springs, 22:25.5
28. Claudia Mercado, Siloam Springs, 22:30.8
34. Sydney Moorman, Siloam Springs, 22:44.9
36. Lilly Cole, Siloam Springs, 22:48.6
43. Brittany Pilcher, Siloam Springs, 23:04.6
Placing all seven of its scoring positions in the top 35, Siloam Springs captured its fifth straight cross country championship on a chilly morning Friday at Oaklawn Park.
"I felt like the pressure was on more than it ever has been in the past," said Siloam Springs coach Sharon Jones. "Because before, we've just have had to go out and run a confident race like we normally do. This time we had to run our best. We really had to run our best and those girls stepped up. It was really good."
Siloam Springs scored 86 points, 16 ahead of a surprising second place Jonesboro team and 38 ahead of Vilonia, which only finished two points behind the Lady Panthers at the 5A-West Conference meet held at the Simmons Course in Siloam Springs on Oct. 25.
The Lady Panthers felt like their toughest challenge would come from Vilonia, but it turns out Siloam Springs placed all nine of their runners competing in front of the Lady Eagles' fifth.
Jonesboro's Sara Steimel placed first individually at 20 minutes, 3.5 seconds and the Lady Hurricane also had Jescina Droughn at 21:18.2 to place ninth.
"We were watching the wrong team," Jones said. "Apparently we should have been paying more attention to Jonesboro. Jonesboro was not even on our radar."
Siloam Springs senior Chloe McGooden finished seventh overall at 21:09.3 and received a medal for placing in the top 10.
"I just really wanted to win this one because I'm a senior," McGooden said, "and I wanted to keep the streak going for Coach."
McGooden was also among the top 17 runners who made all-state, which is given to the top 10 percent of the field. Sophomore Quincy Efurd, who ran a 21:43.5 and was 14th, and junior Candy Dubon, who finished 16th at 21:47.7, also earned all-state honors in Class 5A.
"Chloe ran tight last year, and our goal for today was for Chloe to run relaxed," Jones said. "Our two words this morning were 'calm' and 'confident,' because we are running from a place of victory. We have been there. We won last week (at the conference meet). We just need to do it again, so this morning we just tried to get the girls calm. We tried to get them to step up to the starting line like they would any 5K and just run their best."
Freshman Jacilyn Weilnah took 24th overall with a time of 22:25.3 and finished two-tenths of a second in front of junior Rebekah Rodgers, who ran a 22:25.5.
Junior Claudia Mercado crossed the finish line in 22:30.8, while Sydney Moorman took 34th at 22:44.9. Freshman Lilly Cole finished in 22:48.6, while senior Brittany Pilcher was 43rd at 23:04.6.
"Our goal was for Chloe and Quincy to go out and stalk those top girls and just hang there," Jones said. "Not try and beat them in the first mile but just be there and to be ready to make move if they needed to. And then we told the pack, sometimes in practice we get comfortable in that pack and we almost slow down. Girls you can't get comfortable. We've got to stay close to Quincy and that's exactly what they did."
The state championship is the Lady Panthers' eighth in the history of the program, joining titles in 2001, 2002, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
"I feel blessed," Jones said. "I feel blessed to have that trophy this year, because it could have gone any way."
Efurd, who was running cross country for the first time this year, said the Lady Panthers were going to leave it all out there no matter the result.
"We had a big group discussion before the race, and we were all like, 'win or lose we're all in this together,'" Efurd said. "Even if second place is our best, it doesn't matter because we all know that we did the best we could."
Siloam Springs had two underclassmen place in the top 10, and the Panthers finished fourth for the second straight season.
Lake Hamilton won its sixth straight state title with 57 points, followed by Mountain Home with 93, Maumelle 107 and Siloam Springs in fourth with 141.
Jones said the Panthers had two goals going into Friday's race. The first was they wanted to get third place, which they fell 34 points shy of. But the second was the Panthers wanted to defeat Russellville, which finished ahead of Siloam Springs last week in the 5A-West Conference Meet on the Panthers' home course.
"We wanted to beat Russellville because we know we could have beat them at our place at conference," Jones said. "We really wanted to get Russellville back. We thought we might be able to sneak back up into third."
Sophomore Michael Capehart led the Panthers with a seventh-place finish 17:26.1, just three seconds in front of junior teammate Kerrig Kelly, who took ninth at 17:29.1.
Both Capehart and Kelly received medals and earned all-state honors in Class 5A.
"I wanted to go out and beat Kerrig and really try and get into the 17s, but that didn't quite happen," said Capehart, who did defeat his teammate in what has become a friendly rivalry.
"Oh yeah, definitely we've been pushing each other back and forth the whole time," Kelly said. "We both got faster because of it."
Both Capehart and Kelly have struggled with some injuries this year that has led to them not running in every race. It paid off in the final race for the boys.
"Neither one of them have complained one bit," Jones said. "They just do what they've got to do. And if I would have asked them to run hurt, they would have ran hurt. But they were smart."
Jones said she instructed Kelly to take a week off running and just swim and bike for one week.
"Man it made a difference for us, because if we had lost either one of those guys, it would have been disastrous for our team," she said.
Jones laughed at the thought of the sophomore Capehart who didn't have any nerves before the race, she said.
"Just a sophomore, he doesn't get nervous," she said. "We were just laughing at how nervous the girls were and how loose the boys were. The boys just, we're going to go out and run our hardest and see what happens. Nothing to lose."
Senior Samuel Granderson placed 29th overall with a time of 18:16.8, while freshman Javier Chavez placed 49th at 18:53.0, junior Adam Kennedy 58th at 19:02.8, and sophomore Blake Morrison 60th at 19:03.0.
Freshman Jordyn Baskins placed 65th at 19:12.0, while sophomore Luke Fields was 113th at 20:23.9 and sophomore Ben Humphries 126th at 20:44.6.
"Adam (Kennedy) told me after the race, 'Coach I don't think any of us could have done any more,' and I was like, 'I don't either,' Jones said. "I think they gave it every bit of what they had."Sports on 11/04/2018
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