A seventh-place finish at last weekend’s Chile Pepper Festival helped Bentonville’s boys cross country team attain its goal during the meet and had Tigers coach Mike Power encouraged.
“I think we have a strong team, and I think the boys know that,” Power said. “They get their energy from within themselves. One of our goals was to finish in the top seven, and we just scraped into that because we knew were up against some pretty good teams.
“We hit some of our personal goals, and some of them we didn’t quite hit. That’s going to be our driving force in the next few weeks — try to tighten up the ranks a little bit and improve on the results from Saturday.”
Sophomore Lukas Pabst finished the race strong and led Bentonville with a 25th-place finish, covering the 5-kilometer course in 16 minutes, 6.6 seconds. Junior Coleman Wilson was just 12 seconds behind and finished 34th, while sophomore Daniel Graham took 45th with his time of 16:28.1.
Where the Tigers need to improve lies in their fourth and fifth runners. There was almost a 30-second gap between Graham and senior Nicholas Brophy finished the race.
“Our top three runners come back next year, and they will continue to get better as they learn about the sport,” Power said. “All three had a good race, and I think they have more improvement, which is good.
“There were some others who were consistent performers, which I like that consistency because that helps as a team.”
Bentonville only has one other race — the Pointer Invitational in Van Buren — before the 7A-West Conference meet later this month in Rogers and the Class 7A state meet Nov. 3 in Hot Springs. In the meantime, Power said his team will continue to focus on training and get ready for those meets.
“We have some things coming up, so we have to be a little flexible with our training,” Power said. “The Van Buren meet is sort of a tradition for us leading into the conference meet, then head to the conference meet.
“I don’t know when the last time we won the conference meet, to be honest. We’re hoping to go better than we did last year and get in the top two positions.”
— Henry Apple • @NWAHenry