High school cross coun­try wins fifth straight ti­tle.

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - FRONT PAGE -

The girls cross coun­try team at Siloam Springs High School won its fifth state cham­pi­onship in a row on Nov. 2 at Oak­lawn Park in Hot Springs

The Lady Pan­thers placed all seven of its scor­ing po­si­tions in the top 35 for a to­tal of 86 points, putting them 16 ahead of the sec­ond place fin­isher, Jones­boro, and 38 ahead of the third place fin­isher, Vilo­nia. This was an im­prove­ment from the pre­vi­ous week at the 5A-West Con­fer­ence Meet, where Vilo­nia fin­ished be­hind the Lady Pan­thers by just two points. Top plac­ers from Siloam Springs in the day’s race in­cluded Chloe McGooden, who fin­ished sev­enth over­all with a time of 21:09.3 and re­ceived a medal for plac­ing in the top 10.

Sopho­more Quincy Efurd placed 14th with a time of 21:43.5 and ju­nior Candy Dubon placed 16th af­ter run­ning a 21:47.7. McGooden, Efurd and Dubon earned all-state honors for plac­ing in the top 17 run­ners, or 10 per­cent of par­tic­i­pants. Head coach Sharon Jones said af­ter the race that Efurd and McGooden played an im­por­tant role in the team’s over­all strat­egy.

“Chloe ran tight last year, and our goal for to­day was for Chloe to run re­laxed,” Jones said. “Our two words this morn­ing were ‘calm’ and ‘con­fi­dent,’ be­cause we are run­ning from a place of vic­tory. We have been there. We won last week (at the con­fer­ence meet). We just need to do it again, so this morn­ing we just tried to get the girls calm. We tried to get them to step up to the start­ing line like they would any 5K and just run their best.”

This is the eighth state cham­pi­onship won by the Lady Pan­ther’s cross coun­try in the his­tory of the pro­gram, with other ti­tles won in 2001, 2002, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Ac­cord­ing to Efurd, the vic­tory was just a re­sult of the team do­ing their best.

“We had a big group dis­cus­sion be­fore the race, and we were all like, ‘win or lose we’re all in this to­gether,’” Efurd said. “Even if sec­ond place is our best, it doesn’t mat­ter be­cause we all know that we did the best we could.”

Gra­ham Thomas/Siloam Sun­day

The Siloam Springs girls cross coun­try team won their fifth straight cross coun­try cham­pi­onship on Nov. 2 at Oak­lawn Park in Hot Springs.

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