Siloam Springs reflects on another stellar showing
Considering the stiff competition, a fourth-place finish was no surprise to the Panthers’ boys.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.