Green Forest gets prepared for cross country season

Tuesday, July 31, 2018
Green Forest's Lexington Hilton crosses the finish line at last year's Bobcat Back 40.
Charles Chappell /

The Green Forest Tiger cross country team had won three consecutive Class 3A boys state championships until finishing third last year. The girls finished second and are looking to improve on that finish.

"Everyone is coming back from vacation and so we are starting the process, but they are doing pretty well," Green Forest coach Bradley James said.

The girls have a lot of talent coming back this year.

"We have everyone coming back from the girls, as far as the girls that were major point scorers for us," James said. "Girls like Lucy Rios, Karina Maravillas and Jennifer Martinez, they are all back. It's a really good outlook for the girls. They have a strong bond with them supporting each other and wanting to see each other do well. The biggest thing will be to continue to stay healthy this year. Injuries kind of crept up on us last year and we couldn't perform like we wanted to in November, but when looking around at things this year, we probably have one of the best teams in 3A."

The boys lost some pieces from last year's team, but James believes the Tigers will be in the hunt for a championship once again.

"We lost some of the guys that were major for us, but one of the ones who will lead us is Lexington Hilton," James said. "He has been working really hard as far as that's concerned. I think he is going to be a good example and leader for the team. I think we can be competitive on the boys side, just like we have for the last four or five years."

James also believes some of the junior high runners could make a contribution before the year is over.

"We have a good number in junior high boys," James said. "We have some ninth-graders that are motivated and successful enough that they could possibly be moved up. We have some good competition going. We finally have a few more girls out in junior high to hopefully get a few more numbers and build the girls program. Overall, I think it's going to be a good year for our cross country team."

To avoid the heat, the team has been practicing at 7 a.m., but when school starts, that will change.

"The junior high kids will start practicing in the afternoons a lot," James said. "We may bring some senior high practices back in the afternoon this year to help acclimate them. Some races are hot and others aren't so hot. It's just a process. Right now, I'm just trying to remind them to stay healthy and stay hydrated."

After the summer break, James said it's important for the Tigers to get their legs back under them.

"We are getting those miles in right now," James said. "The kids have been on vacation and done a lot of different things. Right now it's a process of getting them in a routine of doing workouts, stretching and getting miles underneath them. It's a process we go through every year. We knock a lot of time off from August to November, but that's because we get in a routine of running every day."

Green Forest's season starts on Saturday, Sept. 1, at Shiloh Christian in Springdale.

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