Hilton rewards: Green Forest senior wins state cross country crown
By Scott Loftis
Green Forest cross country coach Bradley James says senior Lexington Hilton has just one speed in practice: fast.
His race-day speed is even faster.
On Friday, Hilton won the Class 3A boys individual championship, covering a muddy 5,000-meter course in Hot Springs in a time of 16:38.80 to win by seven seconds over the runner-up at the state championships.
“Lex obviously was the class of the field and he was able to hold onto it,” James said. “It was great to see him win it. He really works hard.”
A video recording showed Hilton falling to the ground after crossing the finish line, completely spent from his all-out effort.
“It was fun to watch,” James said. “It was good to see him reap the benefits of all the extra time and effort that he put in.”
Green Forest freshman Jake Lopez joined Hilton in earning all-state honors. Lopez finished 13th in a time of 18:42.30.
Sparked by Hilton and Lopez, the Green Forest boys finished fourth in the team standings. Cave City won the team championship.
“The boys had a pretty good race,” James said. “We had four freshmen run, so obviously that’s good for next year.”
On the girls side, Green Forest senior Karina Maravillas finished second in a time of 21:13.50, 43 seconds behind West Fork senior Kendall Hays. Green Forest junior Lucy Rios was 11th in 22:58.10 and junior Jennifer Martinez took 17th place in 23:38.90. Maravillas and Rios earned all-state honors.
The Lady Tigers finished second in the team standings, 44 points behind West Fork.
“The girls had a great race,” James said. “We went in with some high hopes, but we had a great year.”
Berryville coach Andrew Killingsworth laid out the options to junior Cecilia Doss before the start of Friday’s Class 4A state championships in Hot Springs. Doss, who had been up most of the night with food poisoning, could skip the race. She would feel a little better on Friday, Killingsworth said, and regret her decision in 10 years. Or she could run, maybe not feel so well on Friday, and look back with pride in 10 years. The decision, he said, was up to her.
Doss chose to be proud, and she probably won’t have to wait 10 years.
Running at less than her best, Doss pushed through a slow first mile and finished 12th in a time of 22:26.50, earning all-state honors and the admiration of her coach.
“I’m proud of her grit and determination to get out there and run,” Killingsworth said.
The Lady Bobcats finished 10th in the team standings as Harrison took first place. Only three of Berryville’s eight finishers were seniors.
On the boys side, sophomore Braden Scrivner led the way for Berryville. Scrivner finished fifth in a time of 18:08.30. Senior Eduardo Rangel was the next Berryville finisher, taking 18th place in a time of 18:56.80.
“What a way to go out,” Killingsworth said of Rangel. “I’m proud of that guy, for sure.”
The Bobcats finished fourth in the team standings, just one point behind third-place Pea Ridge. Berryville had four sophomores and a freshman among its nine finishers.
“It was a tough year, but you can tell how great a program we have when a tough year means one point away from third place in the state,” Killingsworth said. “We were right there competing with the best teams in the state.”
Eureka Springs senior Kayden Eckman finished fourth in the 1A/2A boys state championships in a time of 18:30.70. Junior teammate Tyler Stephenson was 12th, finishing in 19:05.80.
The Highlanders finished seventh in the boys team standings.