By John Allison, cross country coach
It was another hot one when the Vilonia Cross Country teams raced at Josh Park in Heber Springs Tuesday. With temperatures around 90 degrees, the junior high boys team ran first, followed by the junior high girls, high school boys, then the high school girls closed out the meet. All four teams placed well in the 5A-7A division at the meet.
The Junior High Lady Eagles won their race, with five girls placing in the top 10 runners. Bryn Westby won the race outright with a time of 13:25 on the two-mile course. She was followed in by Lauren Millikin, Shelby Duncan, Allison Ross, and Laci McKay, all scorers for Vilonia, placing 4th, 6th, 8th, and 9th, respectively. The sixth and seventh Vilonia finishers were Emma Buck and Brooklyn Knight. Mackenzie Floyd, Alexis Rhodes, Brandie Rottman, Harlee Heath, Katie McKay, Jorja Bell, Olivia Balentine, Lauren Goodwin, Kayla Luck, Aubrey Lock, Evy McKissack, Raven Garrison, and Hailey Gibson also ran strong for Vilonia.
The Junior High Men Eagles beat all other 5A schools in the meet, finishing second behind 7A Faulkner County rival Conway. The top five finishers for Vilonia once again ran an extremely close race, with only 29 seconds separating Tate Smitthart, who finished first for the Eagles, and Cordell Palmer, who closed out the scorers as the fifth Eagle to cross the line. Between them were Chase Hawkins, Braden Matyja, and Harrison Janski, the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th finishers for Vilonia, respectively. The 6th and 7th Eagles to cross the line were Tyler Kelley and Cade Wagner. Clayton Jones, Colin Ratliff, Austin Wader, Caleb Freeman, Keller Willhite, Andy Palmer, Noah McBee, Gabriel Goodwin, Matthew Goodwin, Nathan Freeman, Ethan Crawley, Mason Hoover and Lucas Yarbrough ran great races too.
The Vilonia High School Lady Eagles placed third in the 5A - 7A division, behind Conway and Valley View. Shannon Reifowitz led the Lady Eagles, followed by Abbie Cole, Caroline Wagner, Jessica Hutchison, and Rose McKay, who also scored for the Lady Eagles. Sydney Weaver and Krista Hogan finished 6th and 7th for Vilonia. Callie Palmer, Mary Beth McKay, Kara Moore, Kaitlyn Weaver, Madison Loter, and Macy McKissack rounded out the Lady Eagles at the meet.
The Vilonia High School Men Eagles were led by JD Otts and Ethan Janski, the first two finishers for the Eagles, who were both in the top five runners in the 5A - 7A division. They were followed by Thomas Hutchison, Brody Johnson, and Carson Willhite, who all scored for the Eagles. Hunter Kelley and Caleb Johnson were the 6th and 7th Vilonia finishers, respectively. They were followed by Daniel Massa and Luke Mikeal. The high school boys also beat the other 5A teams present and placed second in the 5A - 7A division behind Conway.
The Vilonia Cross Country teams will all run again Tuesday, September 20, in Clarksville at the University of the Ozarks Invitational.