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Panthers take second at home meet

n Siloam Springs’ Chance Cunningham and Vanessa Frias finished first in the boys and girls junior high races. by Graham Thomas | September 21, 2022 at 7:30 a.m.
Graham Thomas/Herald-Leader Siloam Springs freshman Chance Cunningham finished first overall in the junior high boys division of the Panther Cross Country Classic on Saturday, Sept. 17, on the grounds of Simmons Foods.

The Siloam Springs boys cross country team finished second place at its home meet, the Panther Cross Country Classic, held Saturday, Sept. 17, on the grounds of Simmons Foods.

Bentonville had four of the top five finishers and won the Class 5A/6A division with 19 points, while Siloam Springs was second at 85, followed by Greenwood 96, Fort Smith Southside 108, Van Buren 109, Rogers Heritage 168, Don Tyson School of Innovation 182 and Springdale Har-Ber 209.

"Our high school boys did a little better," said Siloam Springs coach Sharon Jones. "Most of them ran at or around the goals we had set for them. ... Coming in second place to Bentonville and beating conference teams Greenwood and Van Buren was nice."

Bentonville's James American Horse won the individual title with a time of 16 minutes, 4.65 seconds, more than 10 seconds ahead of Greenwood's Noah Embrey at 16:15.42.

Nathan Hawbaker led Siloam Springs with a 12th place finish of 17:23.10.

Levi Fox placed 14th at 17:37.50, while Wilson Cunningham finished 18th at 17:58.92.

"It was good to see Nate showing some consistency coming in first for our team and winning the 12th place medal and Levi coming in second for us with that 14th place medal," Jones said.

Tommy Seitz finished 22nd at 18:11.55 with Noah Granderson 40th at 19:02.85, Billy Samoff 42nd at 19:08.82 and Jacob Seauve 55th at 19:28.92 to complete Siloam Springs' top seven scores.

Sterling Maples placed 56th at 19:39.09 with Riley Harrison 62nd at 20:00.03, Jared Brewer 75th at 20:25.23, Barrett Eldridge 78th at 20:23.27, Caleb Wallace 81st at 20:48.28, Anthony Cruz 82nd 20:50.13, Zane Pickering 86th 21:07.50 and Parker Watson 112th at 24:02.20.

"Levi, Nate, Tommy, Billy, Caleb, Barrett and Jacob all ran faster this week on a much tougher course," Jones said. "Caleb and Jacob both set new personal records. Caleb was our most improved by 49 seconds.

Pea Ridge finished first out of 14 teams in the 1A-4A division.

A total of 257 runners combined competed in both varsity boys division -- 131 in 5A-6A and 126 in 1A-4A.

Varsity girls

Greenwood finished with four runners in the top six and scored 23 points to win the varsity girls race.

Greenwood's Carole Werner was the top overall finisher at 20:24.90.

Bentonville was second at 42, followed by Fort Smith Southside 73, Siloam Springs 115 and Springdale Har-Ber 137.

"Our high school girls might have been disappointed with their times," Jones said. "The course we ran on at Elkins last week was short, so it made our times look really slow this week. But most of our girls ran faster this year on our course than they did a year ago."

Claire Jagger led Siloam Springs with a 13th place finish of 22:46.16.

"Claire Jagger ran almost as fast this week as she did last week on the shorter course," Jones said.

Faith Harris finished second at 24:39.08, with Avery Carter 44th at 26:05.42 and Caroline Dewey 48th at 26:39.77.

Haylee Fox placed 50th at 26:53.18, followed by Gracie Floyd in 55th at 27:17.00 and Ava Jones 56th at 27:19.94 to complete the Lady Panthers' top seven scores.

Elizabeth Humphries placed 59th at 27:51.09 with Laura Fields 61st at 28:27.29, Anna Floyd 65th at 29:25.67 and Malia Lykins 67th at 30:14.57.

Pea Ridge won the small school girls division with 23 points, edging out Prairie Grove, which had 32 points.

A total of 131 runners combined participated in the girls varsity race with 74 runners in the 5A-6A division and 57 in the 1A-4A.

Junior high boys

Siloam Springs' Chance Cunningham finished first overall with a time of 10:49.14 to lead the Panthers to a fourth place finish in the 5A-6A division of the junior high boys race.

"He runs so smoothly, almost making it look effortless," Jones said of Chance Cunningham.

Bentonville took first place with 36 points, followed by Fayetteville 72, Rogers 77, Siloam Springs 94, Rogers Heritage 126, Greenwood 180, Fayetteville Woodland 206, Van Buren 237, Van Buren Northridge 288, Van Buren Butterfield 302, Don Tyson School of Innovation 308 and Springdale George 335.

Gaige Thompson placed 18th at 11:52.38, while Corbett Stephenson was 20th at 11:53.40, Bennett Naustvik 23rd at 12:02.55, Sebastian Romero 34th at 12:19.38, Cooper Bunker 35th at 12:21.42 and Blake Kuykendall 36th at 12:24.45 to complete the Panthers' top seven scores.

Boone Eldridge was 37th at 12:26.76, followed by Sully Christians 51st at 13:05.55, River Hall 57th at 13:23.73, Morgan Lloyd 61st at 13:28.80, Melvin Chavez 64th at 13:34.56, Parker Malonson 77th at 13:50.46, Nico Loyd 78th at 13:51.72, Nathaniel Haak 80th at 13:53.40, David Dewey 86th at 14:03.87.

Also running for Siloam Springs was Kobe Rogers 14:52.71, Sam Wallace 14:53.10, Deacon Maples 15:06.48, Nathaniel Brennes 15:18.24, Eli Nofire 15:41.19, Oliver Posey 15:46.17, Nathan Palmer 15:59.85, Efrain Garcia 16:13.26, Jonathan Green 16:34.77, Jeremiah Castaneda 16:45.12 and Drake Turner 17:15.30.

"Eighth-grader Gaige Thompson improved almost a minute for a new PR," Jones said. "He is a workhorse in practice. Ninth-graders Sebastian, Bennett, Corbett, Boone and Blake all look super strong and have improved a lot. Overall, we had 18 new personal records for the junior high boys.

"Most impressive improvement from this group was seventh-grader Drake Turner, who improved three minutes and 47 seconds over last week. We are very proud of all these runners."

Shiloh Christian won the 1A-4A division. A total of 344 runners competed in the junior high boys race with 201 in the large school division and 143 in the small school.

Junior high girls

Siloam Springs freshman Vanessa Frias finished first overall with a time of 13:22.98 in the 5A-6A division of the junior high girls race.

"Vanessa won the junior high race pretty easily in front of a slew of Bentonville and Fayetteville runners," Jones said. "She continues to look really strong for us."

Bentonville won the team title with 24 points, while Fayetteville Ramay was second at 68, Siloam Springs third at 70, followed by Fayetteville Woodland 81, Greenwood 107, Don Tyson School of Innovation 194, Van Buren Northridge 210, Springdale George 248, and Van Buren Butterfield 258.

Amelie Seauve placed eighth at 14:03.19, while Morgan Jones was 19th at 14:44.79, Hope Nam 22nd at 14:56.73, Hannah Bergthold 29th at 15:12.72, Sawyer Smith 31st at 15:21.25 and Payton Lesso 32nd at 15:25.24 to complete the Lady Panthers' top seven scores.

Amelia Thomas was 42nd at 15:43.18, with Saylor Timboe 48th at 16:02.20, Ava Scarberough 51st at 16:10.66, Bella Shultz 60th at 16:59.32 and Presley LaBeff 63rd at 17:06.88.

Also running for Siloam Springs: Natalie Nichols 17:13.17, Hannah Lutrell 17:16.83, Jane Anglin 17:19.15, Brayleigh Scarberough 19:33.18, Sidney Burns 19:35.46 and Anne Claborn 19:43.87.

"Hope Nam set a new personal record improving nicely over last week," Jones said. "All of our junior high times were at least a minute faster this week. We believed Elkins junior high course last week was long, explaining some slower times last week. We know our course was right, so it was good to see them back on track with some really good times. We had nine junior high girls set a new personal records and almost everyone is faster than they were on our course last year. Partly due to some changes we made to our course, incorporating the new bridge over Sager Creek. But I also believe our junior high kids are working hard and getting better."

Haas Hall Academy won the 1A-4A division.

A total of 257 runners competed in both races with 147 in the large school and 110 in the small school.

Giving thanks

Jones said the cross country program wanted to thank businesses Arvest Bank and Simmons Foods. Arvest Bank grilled hamburgers and chicken sandwiches and donated toward the concession stand, she said. Meanwhile Simmons Foods made a "generous donation" toward the program and the meet itself.

"They are so kind to allow us to run on their property each week and host this amazing event each year," she said.

Up next

The Siloam Springs cross country teams are back in action Oct. 1 at the Chile Pepper Festival in Fayetteville.

  photo  Graham Thomas/Herald-Leader Siloam Springs boys cross country Nathan Hawbaker (left) and Levi Fox cross the bridge during the Panther Cross Country Classic held Saturday, Sept. 17, on the grounds of Simmons Foods. Hawbaker was the Panthers' top finisher in 12th place, while Fox took 14th place.
  photo  Graham Thomas/Herald-Leader Siloam Springs girls cross country runner Claire Jagger runs down the final stretch at the Panther Cross Country Classic on Saturday, Sept. 17, on the grounds of Simmons Foods. Jagger led the Lady Panthers with a 13th place finish.
  photo  Graham Thomas/Herald-Leader Siloam Springs freshman Vanessa Frias finished first overall in the junior high girls division of the Panther Cross Country Classic on Saturday, Sept. 17, on the grounds of Simmons Foods.

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