Leader Blues

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

SPORTS >>Cabot turns in best effort at XC

Leader sportswriter

Four Cabot cross-country runners will represent their school this coming Saturday in Fayetteville during the All-Star states run. The meet will be the 25 best cross-country runners from Arkansas against the 25 best from Oklahoma. Nathan Johnson, Emily Carpenter, Marissa DeLaPaz and Blake Norman all qualified for the event with strong efforts during Sunday’s cross- country championship at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs. Panthers cross-country coach Leon White says the effort from the runners was strong all year.

“These four performed consistent all year long,” White said. “For some of them, it was their best time, for the others, it may have not been their best time, but they competed hard and did well to get into the states meet. I don’t ever remember four kids making it in, so it’s a big honor, really.”

Senior Nathan Johnson’s run was second best in the 7A boys division behind Aaron Hamilton of Rogers. Johnson’s time of 16:32.68 was 22 seconds slower than Hamilton’s, but five better than Eric Molina, also of Rogers. In fact, Johnson was the only non-Rogers runner to finish in the top five. Six of the top eight finishers were from Rogers, with Johnson in second and Willie Pickhardt from Fayetteville in sixth as the only buffers for Mounties dominance.

Junior Blake Norman ran 25th in the state meet with a time of 17:36.05, earning him an alternate slot at Saturday’s states meet. The battle around the 25th spot was a close one, with Norman taking the final qualifying position by less than two seconds over Tyler Beaver of Har-Ber Springdale.

Overall, the Cabot boys finished eighth out of 15 teams with 188 total points. As expected, Rogers won the event with only 21 points, 101 points better than second-place finishers Van Buren with 124 points.

Junior Emily Carpenter was tops for the Cabot girls, finishing sixth out of 109 runners. Carpenter’s time of 20:02.52 was only a minute slower than winner Erika Setzler of Conway. Marissa DeLaPaz also finished with a time in the 20 minute range with a final time of 20:27.93, earning a 14th place finish for the Cabot senior.

The Cabot girls took sixth in the final team standings with 187 points, just three points out of the top five. Russellville took the fifth place spot with 184 points. Bentonville won the event with 46 total points and an average time of 19:56.40.