Bentonville's boys, Fayetteville's girls take 7A-West titles

Posted: October 25, 2017 at 4:15 a.m.

Fayetteville’s Rebecca Boushelle approaches the finish line as the winner of the girls’ 7A-West Conference cross country championship Tuesday in Rogers.

ROGERS -- It took a total team effort to keep Fayetteville from a complete sweep of the awards at the 7A-West Conference cross country championships.

Boys Team Scores

Bentonville High 31

Fayetteville 44

Rogers High 81

Springdale Har-Ber 89

Bentonville West 115

Springdale High 207

Rogers Heritage 211

Van Buren 211

Girls Team Scores

Fayetteville 39

Rogers High 52

Bentonville High 61

Springdale Har-Ber 144

Van Buren 146

Rogers Heritage 146

Bentonville West 148

Springdale High 217

Bentonville High's boys placed four runners in the top 10, despite windy conditions, to claim the team title during Tuesday's meet at the Rogers High course. The Tigers had 31 points to edge second-place Fayetteville, which tallied 44, while Rogers High was a distant third with 81 points.

Sophomore Lukas Pabst and junior Coleman Wilson led Bentonville's charge with a two-three finish over the 5-kilometer course. Pabst crossed the finish line in 16 minutes, 17.1 seconds -- 1.6 seconds ahead of Wilson.

"It comes down to the day, and I knew we had the right attributes to a winning team," Bentonville coach Mike Power said. "But we were facing some stiff competition, and we performed like I was hoping we could perform all year long. It happened to be on the conference championship."

Camren Fischer, however, had a comfortable lead before he reached the halfway point and won the individual title for the second straight year. The Fayetteville junior covered the distance in 15:54.1 -- more than 10 seconds faster than last year's time, and 23 seconds faster than Pabst.

Teammate Anton Michna, who hung with Fischer during the early portion of the race, was the only other Fayetteville runner in the top 10, finishing fourth in 16:23.0.

"Coming into this race, we wanted better conditions than this because we wanted to run good times and prep for state," Fischer said. "This wind definitely threw us off, especially in the open fields where we could feel it.

"Personally, I was just going for the win. The wind didn't change my strategy so much, but for them that were trying for personal-best or trying to run a certain time it felt harder."

In the girls division, Fayetteville senior Rebecca Boushelle ran her best race of the season, and she needed it order to take the individual title.

Boushelle was pushed from start to finish by Rogers Heritage freshman Hailey Day, and that helped her win the individual title. Boushelle covered the course in a personal-best 18:36.7 and edged Day by less than 4 seconds while the rest of the field was more than 35 seconds behind.

"It was fun running against some good competition," Boushelle said. "They all pushed me, and I couldn't be happier with the way it turned out.

"The conference meet is about placing, so you just want to get the best place you can to help your team. Day pushed me all the way, and that's a good thing because it makes you want to run faster. It's going to be an interesting race at state, that's for sure."

Boushelle led Fayetteville's girls to the team title as the Lady Purple'Dogs put three runners in the top 10 and all five runners in the top 12 in order to finish with 39 points. Rogers was second with 52 points, just nine points ahead of Bentonville High.

Morganne Browning helped Fayetteville's cause by finishing fifth, while freshman Taylor Owens -- who was just moved up from junior high -- was eighth.

"We just pull up a freshman, and she ended up being third on our team," Fayetteville coach Michelle Fyfe said. "She really ran hard and killed it, and I'm super proud of her.

"Becca is just strong and is running really well right now. We lost our second and third runners, and we had others that just filled in the gaps and ran their hearts out. I couldn't be more proud of that team."

Sports on 10/25/2017