From the desk of Coach John Allison:
It was unseasonably hot...no...crazy hot, Monday, when the Vilonia Cross Country teams competed at the 5A West Conference Meet. But the scorching heat did not stop the Eagles from making Vilonia proud. Both junior high boys and junior high girls won their respective races by huge margins. Both senior high teams placed third in the conference.
The Junior High Lady Eagles were led by Bryn Westby, who also won the race outright to earn the title of individual conference champion. Lauren Millikin, Laci McKay, Shelby Duncan, and Allison Ross race followed Westby in last four scoring spots for the Lady Eagles. Westby, Millikin, McKay, and Duncan all placed in the top ten finishers in the race, earning All-Conference honors. Emma Buck and Brooklyn Knight were next to cross the finish line of the two mile race for the Lady Eagles. Alexis Rhodes, Katie McKay, Harlee Heath, Jorja Bell, Evy McKissack, Kayla Luck, Mackenzie Floyd, Lauren Goodwin, Aubrey Lock, Olivia Balentine, Raven Garrison and Hailey Gibson all ran great races too. The Lady Eagles' team score of 27 was barely more than half the score of runner up Harrison.
The Junior High Eagles team dominated their race also. Even though the individual conference champion was Greenbrier's Dominic Ward, the Eagles secured the team victory by finishing in the second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth spots, securing the victory for the team and All-Conference designation for themselves. Their team score of 20 was less than half runner up Greenbrier's score. Tate Smithhart was the first Eagle across the finish line, followed closely by Cordell Palmer, Harrison Janski, Braden Matyja, and Chase Hawkins. Only 26 seconds separated the five scorers for the Eagles. Close behind were Cade Wagner, Tyler Kelley, and Keller Willhite. Caleb Freeman, Austin Wader, Colin Ratliff, Clayton Jones, Matthew Goodwin, Andy Palmer, Nathan Freeman, Noah McBee, Gabriel Goodwin, Mason Hoover, Ethan Crawley and Lucas Yarbrough all did a fantastic job for the Eagles too.
The Vilonia High School Lady Eagles raced next as the sun, and the temperatures, climbed ever higher. Caroline Wagner finished ninth overall to lead the Lady Eagles and earn All-Conference designation. She was followed in by Abbie Cole, Jessica Hutchison, Rose McKay, and Krista Hogan, who rounded out the team's scoring. Madison Loter, Faith Johnson, Callie Palmer, Sydney Weaver, Kara Moore, Kaitlyn Weaver and Macy McKissack all ran great too.
The last, and hottest, race of the day was the high school boys race, where the Vilonia Eagles finished third. The first Eagle across the finish line was JD Otts, who finished fourth overall to lead the team and earn All-Conference honors. Ethan Janski, Brody Johnson, Thomas Hutchison, and Kent Luck were the final four scorers for the Eagles, with Caleb Johnson and Carson Willhite taking the two displacer spots. Hunter Kelley, Daniel Massa, Gage Helton, Luke Mikeal and Jace Farrior all did a fantastic job in brutal weather conditions too.
This was the last meet of the season for most of the Eagles and Lady Eagles. Of the 67 athletes who were active Monday, only 18 can be entered in the 5A State Championship Meet on November 12. Coaches Jana Sisson and John Allison were next faced with the difficult decision of narrowing this fantastic group of young men and women down to nine boys and nine girls to race for the state title in Hot Springs. After analyzing the season's race results, practice logs, and current health of all eligible athletes, the roster for the state meet has been finalized.
Next Saturday, November 12, the nine young men who will toe the line to represent Vilonia in the quest for the 5A state title will be seniors Jason Rail and Carson Willhite, juniors Thomas Hutchison, Ethan Janski, Brody Johnson, Caleb Johnson, Hunter Kelley, Kent Luck and sophomore JD Otts. The nine young ladies who will race for the girls' state title will be seniors Krista Hogan and Jessica Hutchison, juniors Rose McKay and Sydney Weaver, sophomores Abbie Cole and Caroline Wagner and freshmen Laci McKay, Lauren Millikin and Bryn Westby.
When you see these young ladies and gentlemen this week, wish them luck. And if you see these or any of the other cross country kids, let them know their hard work and dedication are appreciated.