What the Maumelle cross country team has been working for all year occurs Saturday at the Oaklawn infield in Hot Springs.
At approximately 3:15 p.m., the Hornets try to win the 4A boys state cross country title. Standing in their way is defending champion Heber Springs, the team Maumelle has been training all year to beat.
"Heber Springs has the experience and also won indoor and outdoor track, and they know what they need to do and don’t panic," Maumelle Coach Nick Taylor said. "Practice has been wonderful, if only we can race like we practice. Our boys have yet to run like we are capable—either someone was missing, someone was injured or some guys just didn’t run the way they were capable."
The Hornets have not lost to a 5A team all season and enter the race with two victories behind them. On Oct. 22, they won the 4A-4 district championship and on Oct. 29 the Rogers Mountie Classic in the 6A and under. In the Mountie Classic, they totaled 46 points to runner-up Berryville’s 54 points. However, Maumelle was without its top two runners because of nagging injuries and had to hold off Berryville, who is also a contender for the 4A state title.
"Berryville is good," Taylor said. "If we make a mistake, they can sneak up. Our last two races, we were able to sharpen up and try out some new things."
Taylor still doesn’t know if the Hornets have enough girls to compete as a team at state. They also are conference champs but didn’t have enough girls for a team at Rogers. The 4A girls’ race is at 3:45 p.m.
"I really don’t know what to expect with the girls," Taylor said. "We could win a championship. We have four girls who are good, but the fifth is unreliable. But, I don’t know if we will have five."
Results of the 4A-4 Championships:
Sophomore Caroline Sweet who won the girls race in 21:04. She was followed by Jordan Marshall in third (23:11), Akeia Joyner in sixth (23:46), Kayla Gamble in 13th (26:42), and Kamillah Phillips in 14th (26:53)
The boys put 7 runners in the top 8 to easily win the race. They were led by sophomore Sean Adams in 2nd with a time of 16:50. Adam Hoy was third (17:05), Hayden Anderson in fourth (17:22), Cody Motes in fifth (17:44), Zach Williams in sixth (18:05), Darrius Thomas in seventh (18:13), and Bret Sherkenbach in eighth (18:20). After the top seven, Xzavier Pettus was 11th in 19:14, Stephen Edwards was 19th in 19:55, and Tracy Cook ran the 5k course in 25:48.
Rogers Mountie Classic results:
3rd - Adam Hoy 18:04
5th - Hayden Anderson 18:19
10th - Zach Williams 18:41
13th - Cody Motes 19:01
19th - Bret Sherkenbach 19:09
28th - Xzavier Pettus 19:57
40th - Stephen Edwards 20:41
71st - Tracy Cook 25:45
15th - Akeia Joyner 23:49
20th - Jordan Marshall 24:06
33rd - Taillor Lockhart 26:14
37th - Kayla Gamble 27:02