The Lake Hamilton Cross Country teams traveled to Fayetteville for the 30th annual Chili Pepper Cross Country Festival held at the University of Arkansas Agri Park. All four teams competed against in state and some nationally ranked out of state competition in what has become one of the biggest Cross Country meets in the South United States yearly. With ideal temperatures in the 60's the teams toed the line on the muddy course against hundreds of other competitors in each race anticipating the gunshot that would send the group into a mad freenzy pace to get to the front. It was a great day to work as a team and individually which saw many L.H. runners and teams do well overall.
To get the day started off, Lake Hamilton senior Colby Swecker placed 104th out of 649 finishers Saturday to lead the Sr. Boys to 37th overall, sixth among Arkansas schools and first among the state’s Class 5A programs in the senior high boys’ “El Caliente” race.
The Woodlands, TX won the competition at 116 points. Bentonville was the top finisher from Arkansas with 249 points. Fayetteville was second from Arkansas and ninth overall at 353. The Wolves finished with 1,046 points, just one ahead of Bryant at 1,047.
Junior Noah Smith led other Lake Hamilton runners with a time of 17:25.70 to place 187th. Other runners from Lake Hamilton were William Swecker, sophomore, 217th, 17:37.20; Skylar Davis, senior, 273rd, 17:55.70; Houston Baber, junior, 375th, 18:34.40; Christian Silvar, senior, 398th, 18:43.80; and Carter Manatt, junior, 405th, 18:46.60.
Next for the ladies, Junior Meighan Mears led Lake Hamilton in the senior girls’ “El Caliente” race with a time of 21:59.60 to place 231st out of 576 finishers. Other members of the team were Anacaren Ramos, junior, 258th, 22:19.80; Jessica Jennings, junior, 351st, 23:15.30; Katherine Scalzo, junior, 377th, 23:40.20; Olivia Caraway, sophomore, 405th, 24:02.30; Brittany Borger, junior, 498th, 25:49.70; and Bridani Diaz, sophomore, 515th, 26:22.30.
The Sr. boys junior varsity team competed in the open division and placed 25th out of 66 teams. Senior Omar Ramos led the squad with a time of 17:45.70 to place 43rd among 788 finishers. The team’s other runners were Nick Davis, senior, 118th, 18:28.20; Neal Cole, junior, 172nd, 18:59.40; Jonathan Crane, senior, 246th, 19:36.60; and Brayden Watson, sophomore, 519th, 21:37.80.
Next up was the Jr. boys race. Lake Hamilton’s junior boys’ cross country team remained unbeaten this season by winning their competition the junior Wolves placed their top five runners in the top 29 out of 721 finishers to place first among 46 teams in the competition. The boys’ team placed first with 82 points. Mountain Home was second with 119 points, Bentonville was third at 158, Broken Arrow was fourth at 177 and Bryant placed fifth with 208 points.
Evan Armitage led Lake Hamilton’s top seven finishers, who were all freshman. He placed sixth with a time of 17:47.30. He was followed in ninth place by Zeke McCain, 17:59.40; Levi Stratton, 17th, 18:24.60; Ethan Smith, 26th, 18:46.50; Ethan Brock, 29th, 18:53.80; Nathan Taylor, 36th, 19:10.10; and Sutton Manatt, 51st, 19:28.20.
Another 32 runners competed for the junior high boys, including eighth-grader Nathan Miller in 127th with a time of 20:31.60; Coby Qualls, eighth grade, 134th, 20:38.20; Brantley Cogburn, seventh grade, 177th, 21:05.40; Evan Estes, freshman, 182nd, 21:08.10; Kolby Brown, freshman, 189th, 21:14.10; Garrett Horton, freshman, 20th, 21:27.90; Jackson Callahan, eighth grade, 218th, 21:34.10; Bonham Taliaferro, eighth grade, 255th, 21:56.20; Devin Patel, eighth grade, 272nd, 22:06.20; Riley Spaulding, freshman, 307th, 22:33.40; Jose Rodriguez, eighth grade, 384th, 23:31.60; Cade Martin, eighth grade, 405th, 23:42.00; Dakota Fuller, eighth grade, 425th, 23:58.10; Blake Hecke, seventh grade, 440th, 24:09.20; Wesley Bonner, eighth grade, 471st, 24:55.80; James Jimenez, eighth grade, 485th, 25:10.30; Ty Harris, seventh grade, 490th, 25:13.70; David Cofar, eighth grade, 492nd, 25:14.70; Zeke Lackey, eighth grade, 514th, 25:30.00; Gavin Smith, eighth grade, 566th, 26:36.80; Oscar Totten, seventh grade, 569th, 26:44.00; Logan Tieaskie, seventh grade, 580th, 26:55.70; Spencer Wood, eighth grade, 591st, 27:18.50; Jonathan Newell, eighth grade, 595th, 27:24.10; Jack Higginbotham, seventh grade, 599th, 27:38.30; Conner Ashley, freshman, 607th, 27:52.40; Keegan Guthrie, eighth grade, 637th, 28:45.40; Braydn Messersmith, seventh grade, 657th, 29:20.20; Aiden Warren, seventh grade, 660th, 29:35.50; Hunter Baber, seventh grade, 697th, 32:53.80; and Zane McCain, seventh grade, 700th, 33:26.00.
After the Jr. boys was the Jr. girls race. Lake Hamilton’s junior high girls team placed fourth, the senior high boys placed 37th and the senior high girls finished 52nd. Woodland placed first with 54 points to edge out Rogers’ 57 points. Washington Middle School took third with 90 points. Lake Hamilton finished in fourth place with 176 points as Siloam Springs finished in a distant fifth at 247.
Olivia Pielemeier led Lake Hamilton’s top five runners in the junior high girls’ competition to place in the top 78 out of 525 finishers. The eighth-grader Pielemeyer placed 20th with a time of 21:55.70.
Fellow eighth-grader Sheryl Rojas placed 23rd with a time of 22:00.80. She was followed in the standings by freshman Maylin Reyes, who finished 41st with a time of 22:44.40; MacKenzie Cronin, eighth grade, 47th, 22:57.50; and Savana Green, eighth grade, 78th, 23:39.00.
Another 20 team members finished the race, including eighth-grader Kiano Arcos, who placed 102nd with a time of 24:01.70; Chloe Carson, eighth grade, 117th, 24:20.30; Adrina Rodriguez, seventh grade, 150th, 24:52.80; Naomi Smith, eighth grade, 154th, 24:55.90; Cindy Ramos, freshman, 189th, 25:27.00; Aubrey Jennings, eighth grade, 208th, 25:43.80; Audrey Wacaster, eighth grade, 254th, 26:35.70; Laura Ramos, seventh grade, 290th, 27:03.20; Natalie Scalzo, eighth grade, 299th, 27:11.50; Alexis Josephson, seventh grade, 313th, 27:29.90; Kaitlyn Galloway, seventh grade, 343rd, 28:04.70; Nakayah Percy, seventh grade, 349th, 28:10.10; Leilani Anguiano, seventh grade, 350th, 28:10.80; Kimberly Deangeles, seventh grade, 361st, 28:28.70; Martha Megee, seventh grade, 363rd, 28:32.90; Elizabeth Word, seventh grade, 394th, 29:14.00; Kaniyah Williams, seventh grade, 396th, 29:17.70; Darby Fisk, seventh grade, 406th, 29:39.50; Ella Berryhill, seventh grade, 409th, 29:47.50; and Alexis Rowland, seventh grade, 451st, 31:48.70.
The junior high and senior high teams are scheduled to compete again Saturday as they travel to Russellville to compete in the Cyclone invitational held on the campus of Arkansas Tech University. Good luck to all the runners this upcoming weekend!!! Go L.H. Running Wolves!!!