Billie senior takes individual XC title
Races were not as crowded as they had been a week before in Little Rock but the results were every bit as pleasing to the head coaches at the annual Los Toritos Cross County Invitational at Cane Creek State Park Saturday.
Monticello’s runners was competing in its second meet of the season and Drew Central joined them in its season opener. Led by an overall first-place finish by senior Caleb Clair, the Billies finished fourth in the 18-team senior boys’ division while the Pirates ran eighth.
In the senior girls’ classification, Monticello was fifth and DC 10th, and in the junior divisions, Monticello’s Junior Lady Billies turned in the top team performance of the morning, finishing third. The Junior Lady Pirates were right behind them, finishing fourth. Sixteen junior girls’ teams sent runners to the meet hosted by Star City.
The Junior Billies ran fifth of 12 teams entered in the classification. The Junior Pirates entered only four runners; thus, they did not post a team score.
“Taking into account two different courses (Western Hills the first weekend; Cane Creek the second) and more humid conditions this past weekend, I feel the overall perspective of Saturday was positive,” Monticello head cross country coach Shawn Curtis said. “I saw growth from most everyone on the team and some definite bright spots from our newcomers. With each practice and each race, we start to hone in on the individual goals each runner need to improve upon, but more importantly improving as a collective team is our main objective.”
Drew Central head cross country coach Michael Goad was equally as impressed with his four squads, especially in their first competition of 2017.
“I thought all of our runners ran well,” Goad noted. “Most of them set personal records. They are confident in improving their times and being prepared for the district meet.”
Clair was clocked in 18 minutes, 2.540 seconds over the 3.1-mile senior boys’ course, winning the individual title by more than 12 seconds (an eternity in cross country terms) over Little Rock Central’s William Purifoy.
“Caleb did well and I am very proud of him,” Curtis said of his star runner, “but realistically speaking, he has not run to his potential. He has all the necessary tools to exceed his limits and drop his time drastically. He has picked up where he left off last year, but we are hoping to get him and the rest of the seniors on the team to buy in and go all out.”
One of those other seniors, Kai Lampkin, was 11th overall and seventh in scoring (21:21:370). Other Billie point-producers were juniors Matt Marshall (18th overall, 13th in scoring—22:02:017) and Carlton Talley (41st, 35th—24:10:413), and sophomore Jackson Hollis (42nd, 36th—24:33:563).
Tenth grader Jeremy Smith led the Pirates across the finish line in 31st overall (25th in scoring) in a time of 23:23:700. Senior Josh Forrest was next (38th overall, 32nd in scoring—23:58:437). Junior Alex Todd (39th, 33rd—24:02:730), sophomore Trenton Eubanks (67th, 46th—27:40:070) and junior Jorge Bran (68th, 47th—29:33:413) were the other Pirates to finish.
For Monticello, senior Ivan Buenrostro was 46th overall (25:05:583), sophomore Braydn Curtis 50th (25:38:603) and junior John Swain 64th (27:23:703). None scored points, however, as they were out of the top five Billies—but showed Curtis the depth of his senior boys’ squad.
Junior Tyneisha Nolen once again led the Lady Billies, placing fifth overall (third in scoring) in a time of 25:08:473 in a 3.1-mile race. Four Monticello seniors followed her across the finish line—Samantha Pennington (25th overall, 18th in scoring—28:52:450); Mariah Austin (29th, 22nd—29:44:697); Kaylyn Smith (37th, 27th—30:36:970) and Brooke Shrum (61st, 49th—36:28:303). Another upperclassman, Holly Turner finished 63rd (36:47:243).
For Drew Central, it was an all-junior lineup. Amaya Hunt nipped Gabby Caine for the best Lady Pirate placing, running 47th overall (36th in scoring) in a time of 32:18:290. Gabby Caine, meanwhile, was 48th overall (37th in scoring in a time of 32:19:933.
Other Lady Pirate point-producers were Gabby’s twin sister, Kelsey Caine (59th, 47th—36:11:133); Kailee McKay (62nd, 50th—36:38:823); and Jazmyne Orr (64th, 52nd—37:09:203).
Both local schools had top 15 junior girls’ runners, with Monticello eighth grader Fleure Perez finishing 13th overall (ninth in scoring) with a clocking of 15:32:957 over two miles, just ahead of Junior Lady Pirate seventh grader Hannah Meeks. Meeks ran 14th overall (10th in scoring) with a time of 15:36:683.
Following Perez to the finish line for the Junior Lady Billies were seventh grader Cantley Gosdin (18th overall, 12th in scoring—16:11:793); freshmen Maia Reynado (23rd, 16th—16:54:123) and Brook Paschall (26th, 19th—16:56:073); and seventh grader Kate Morgan (39th, 29th—18:20:663).
Chasing Meeks for Drew Central were seventh grader Layna Chrabol (29th overall, 22nd in scoring—17:23:103); eighth graders Julia Bunn (33rd, 25th—17:47:460) and Edriana Hunter (34th, 26th—17:49:437); and seventh grader Meritza Spencer (40th, 30th—18:24:900).
Non-scoring junior girls’ finishers for Monticello were seventh graders Mia Reginelli (43rd—18:45:740), Brinkley Taylor (44th—19:11:470) and Anna Morgan (45th—19:12:820); eighth grader Grace Shrum (61st—20:35:690); seventh grader Tamia Brooks (64th—20:55:467); and eighth grader Emma Horton (77th—26:59:507).
Non-scoring junior girls’ finishers for Drew Central were eighth grader Dixie Morrison (41st—18:28:543); seventh grader Izzy Whitehead (46th—19:14:047); eighth grader Kelsey Johnson (47th—19:18:720); seventh grader Trinity Colbert (48th—19:26:303); and eighth grader Makyia Spencer (68th—22:47:913).
And in the junior boys’ division, freshman Kameron Fleetwood (14:27:773) was the top Junior Billies’ runner. Fleetwood ran 17th overall (17th in scoring).
Other Junior Billie finishers were seventh graders Nathan Palmer (21st, 20th— 14:38:917), Caden Fitzgerald (23rd, 22nd—14:46:710) and Caleb Freeman (27th, 26th—14:57:743); and eighth grader Sam Bostian (33rd, 32nd—15:11:100.
The Monticello junior boys were the largest team, in numbers, at Cane Creek. Eight other Junior Billies finished the two-mile race—eighth graders Mason Pharr (40th—15:46:440) and Trae Milburn (41st—15:48:183), and seventh graders Isaiah West (44th—16:05:913), Tushar Nathu (53rd—16:53:390), Jacob Akin (55th—17:07:150), Damirion Davis (60th—19:46:857), Elijah Schell (63rd—21:39:960) and Logan Hairston (65th—23:48:470).
The four Junior Pirates who finished the Los Toritos Cross County Invitational were freshmen Hunter Goad (43rd—16:05:913) and Ryne Hogg (46th—16:13:400), snd seventh graders Enrique Salazar (58th—18:00:750) and Will Watson (62nd—20:12:197).
In total, 295 runners competed at Cane Creek compared to the 1,223 of which Monticello’s teams were a part at Western Hills. Next outing for the Billies and Lady Billies will be the annual Chile Pepper Cross County Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 30 at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, while all eight local teams will be present at the Jordan Murphy Memorial Meet at Arkansas Post on Oct. 7.