Siloam Springs re­flects on an­other stel­lar show­ing

Con­sid­er­ing the stiff com­pe­ti­tion, a fourth-place fin­ish was no sur­prise to the Pan­thers’ boys.

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - SPORTS - By Gra­ham Thomas Staff Writer gth­omas@nwadg.com

HOT SPRINGS — The Siloam Springs boys cross coun­try placed fourth over­all at the Class 6A state meet last Fri­day at Oak­lawn Park in Hot Springs. It was Siloam Springs’ low­est fin­ish since fin­ish­ing fourth in 2013.

But it was about where the Pan­thers thought they might wind up.

“We ex­pected fourth place,” said head coach Sharon Jones. “We knew it was go­ing to be a long shot to try and get Green­wood. We thought at con­fer­ence Ben­ton might be within our grasp and Ben­ton showed up at con­fer­ence. They showed up again to­day.”

Head­ing into the meet, cal­cu­la­tions showed that even if ev­ery one of the Pan­thers set new per­sonal records, they still might not be as quick as the teams that

fin­ished ahead of them: state cham­pion Lake Hamil­ton, Ben­ton and Green­wood.

“Lake Hamil­ton is su­per, su­per good,” said se­nior Caleb El­lis, who fin­ished 38th over­all. “So we were ac­tu­ally try­ing to come in run­ner-up. That was our aim, to beat Ben­ton and Green­wood. We were just try­ing to run our best and get good place­ments and just keep try­ing to get the guy in front of us and just move our team up as a whole. I say we did give our 100 per­cent all.”

Jones is op­ti­mistic about the Pan­thers’ fu­ture. They’ll lose se­niors Isaac Leach­man (23rd over­all) and El­lis, but the other seven run­ners from Fri­day’s race are ex­pected to re­turn.

Siloam Springs hasn’t won a state ti­tle in boys cross coun­try since 2009, but they did get run­nerup fin­ishes in 2014 and 2015 be­fore fin­ish­ing third in 2016. The goal is to get back on the win­ner’s podium for first and sec­ond place teams.

“We’re work­ing to­ward it,” Jones said. “Win or loss, there is not a bet­ter group of boys. They love each other. They pray with each other. They play with each other. They’re fun. They’re goofy. It’s a good group of boys. I don’t care if they win or not, I am so happy for them that they ran their best.”

Not 100 per­cent

One of the Pan­thers’ top run­ners was not at 100 per­cent in Fri­day’s meet.

Leach­man has been bat­tling a sprained big toe for a while, and at one point it was feared it was bro­ken.

“Mat­ter of fact he was tak­ing his shoes off (Thurs­day) out here,” Jones said. “His toe hit­ting the end of his shoe was hurt­ing him. We knew we needed him. We could not have fin­ished fourth with­out him.”

Leach­man has been one of the Pan­thers’ top run­ners but he fin­ished third on the team with a time of 18:45.5.

“I was just try­ing to give all the glory to God and I was just pray­ing a lot,” Leach­man said. “It was re­ally hard. It was tough, there’s lots of spots in the race where you kind of get down and you don’t know if you can push any­more, but you know we have all these amaz­ing coaches and my friends all through­out the whole course just cheer­ing me on and that’s what al­lowed me to get through.

“It was a re­ally hard race, and it was re­ally hu­mid and hot, but I felt like I per­formed. I’m re­ally proud of my team. I feel like we did well.”

Scary mo­ment

The Pan­thers had a scary mo­ment at the end of the race.

Sopho­more Isaac Price was head­ing to­ward the fin­ish line when he col­lapsed face first on to the ground.

Price picked him­self up and stum­bled to the fin­ish line and col­lapsed again, and this time he had to be helped up by race of­fi­cials.

Price was treated by lo­cal med­i­cal per­son­nel and taken to the hospi­tal, where he was treated for se­vere de­hy­dra­tion, ac­cord­ing to head coach Sharon Jones. Price fin­ished with a time of 20:06.6.

“The kid runs out­side his body,” Jones said. “He gives it ab­so­lutely ev­ery­thing. … We thought he was do­ing good at two miles and then again at a half mile to go. I think he just sensed, ‘I’ve got to push, I’ve got to fin­ish’ and over-ex­tended him­self. Bless his heart he gave it ev­ery­thing. That’s heart-wrench­ing to see him get up and fall down and get up and fall down.”

Gra­ham Thomas/Her­ald-Leader

Siloam Springs ju­nior Sa­muel Gran­der­son fin­ished 20th over­all with a time of 18:40.9 at the Class 6A state cross coun­try meet at Oak­lawn Park in Hot Springs.

Gra­ham Thomas/Her­ald-Leader

Siloam Springs boys cross coun­try run­ners take off at the start of the Class 6A boys state meet Fri­day at Oak­lawn Park in Hot Springs. Pic­tured, from left, are Ran­som Van Asche, Adam Kennedy, Isaac Price, Blake Mor­ri­son, Sa­muel Gran­der­son, Isaac Leach­man, Caleb El­lis, Michael Cape­hart and Ker­rig Kelly.

Pho­tos by Gra­ham Thomas / Her­ald-Leader

Siloam Springs sopho­more Adam Kennedy, right, placed 50th over­all with a time of 19:43.4 on Fri­day at the 6A cross coun­try meet at Oak­lawn Park in Hot Springs.

Siloam Springs sopho­more Isaac Price stum­bles to the fin­ish line af­ter fall­ing a few steps ear­lier. Price fin­ished 61st over­all with a time of 20:06.6 on Fri­day at the Class 6A meet at Oak­lawn Park in Hot Springs.

Siloam Springs se­nior Caleb El­lis fin­ished 38th over­all with a time of 19:19.7 on Fri­day at the Class 6A state cross coun­try meet at Oak­lawn Park in Hot Springs.

Siloam Springs se­nior Isaac Leach­man fin­ished 23rd over­all with a time of 18:45.5 at the Class 6A state cross coun­try meet Fri­day at Oak­lawn Park in Hot Springs.

Siloam Springs sopho­more Ker­rig Kelly was the Pan­thers’ top fin­isher Fri­day at the Class 6A cross coun­try meet at Oak­lawn Park in Hot Springs. Kelly fin­ished 11th over­all with a time of 18:08.0 and earned All-State hon­ors.

Siloam Springs soph­more Ran­som Van Asche fin­ished 82nd over­all with a time of 21:02.9 at the Class 6A state cross coun­try meet Fri­day at Oak­lawn Park in Hot Springs.

Siloam Springs fresh­man Blake Mor­ri­son placed 41st over­all with a time of 19:32.4 at the Class 6A cross coun­try meet Fri­day at Oak­lawn Park in Hot Springs.

Siloam Springs fresh­man Michael Cape­hart fin­ished 55th over­all at the Class 6A meet with a time of 19:51.7 on Fri­day at Oak­lawn Park in Hot Springs.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.