Eureka runners defy storms, run in muddy Panther races
SILOAM SPRINGS -- In spite of raging storms overnight that brought sheets of rain, golf ball size hail and possible tornadoes, a hardy group of Eureka Springs cross country runners loaded the bus last Saturday morning to go run in the Panther Invitational.
Berryville Coach Doug Scheel didn't take his teams, as he said the storms hadn't subsided by early morning when they were scheduled to leave.
Eureka Springs coach Ben Lairamore said his senior boys finished third in the 4A-and-down division for small schools after he moved one ninth-grade boy up to make enough for a team.
"Jimmy Hansen moved up and did a good job for us," Coach Lairamore said. Although some storms continued overnight and into the morning, Lairamore said when the races started "It wasn't raining. It was really nice weather. There were puddles and the ground was soaked, muddy and sloppy, but cross country kids love that stuff.
"The kids did super. They ran as hard as they could. I'm extremely proud of them for showing up to run in that type of weather."
Travis Guess was first in for Eureka in 18:55 over the 5K course. Andrew Hansen ran a 19:31, Nathan?Drebenstedt a 21:27, Troy Mosley 23:58, and Jimmy Hansen 24:41.
Guess, A. Hansen and Drebenstedt all medaled by finishing in the Top 20 in their race.
The junior boys also had five runners for their 3200m race, with Dustin Morrell in first for Eureka in 10:52. Ian Reynolds ran 11:12, Chris Verdoot 11:16, Alex Freeman 14:42, and Ben Windle 16:11.
"They did a good job. I was proud of them," Lairamore said, adding, "Dustin medaled."
Two senior high girls showed up to run, Callie Smith and Abbie Brown. Smith ran 21:08, finishing second or third overall, and medaled. Brown ran 25:05.
For the junior girls, Laura Winters ran 14:14, and Haillie Cisco ran 14:36.
The Highlander Invitational at Holiday Island is set for this Saturday, Sept. 30, with races starting at 10 a.m.
Coach Lairamore said a big field is expected, larger than last year's event.