Northside cross country coach Jeff Lewis had a few surprises waiting for him during Saturday’s Fort Smith Invitational meet at Ben Geren Park.
For one thing, Lewis was surprised by the number of runners from various teams who were able to compete despite stifling heat. But perhaps his biggest surprise came when one of his Lady Bear runners, Felicity West, was carrying around a plaque, symbolizing the team’s runner-up finish in the girls division.
The Lady Bears finished second in the 5A/6A girls division with 76 points, trailing only Siloam Springs, which won the team meet with 51 points. Northside also took second place by two points against Bentonville West.
“I was pretty stoked about that; that’s a big accomplishment for those girls, with (West), Dirie (Balderas) and Darriana (Franklin), they’ve worked so hard,” Lewis said. “We’re trying to plug in number four and five there and looking for a couple of girls to step up and pick up the slack from the seniors that I graduated and I lost three pretty good ones there, so I was really pleased with that.
“Saturday was much larger than we anticipated; we had almost over 900 entries. ... There were several thousand people on the venue and it was a learning experience for us, but I was real pleased; I thought we ran really well.”
West finished fourth in the individual girls division, running a time of 22:35.30. Franklin finished 11th while Balderas came in 12th place. Also for the Lady Bears, Emma Cobb and Jennifer Hernandez were 24th and 25th, respectively.
“I saw Felicity come in and she finished fourth, which was a good day for her and she ran really well,” Lewis said. “She was within 41 seconds of her (personal record), and for the first race of the year, it was pretty good.”
Greenwood had the top two girls finishers in Taylor Koeth and Macie Cash. Koeth was first in a time of 20:45.10, while Cash was second, running in 20:59.40.
Southside’s girls were led by Judith Ramirez, who came in 22nd (26:46.00), while Emmie Burgess was 33rd.
In the boys division, Northside’s Braeden Hindley was second in the individual portion, running in a time of 18:16.60, while Southside’s Quinlan Broadway was fifth (18:31.70). Bentonville West’s Keegan Terrell was the first-place finisher (18:00.10).
Bentonville West also won the 5A/6A boys team title, with Siloam Springs finishing second. Southside was fifth while Northside came in seventh.
Also for the Mavericks, Isaac Teague finished 13th, while Xander Naegle came in 21st.
The Grizzlies scored 10 points in the second quarter to trail Greenwood at halftime of Friday’s game, 13-10. But two third-quarter fumbles proved to be the Grizzlies’ undoing, which led to two Bulldog touchdowns as Greenwood pulled away for a 38-10 win.
“Greenwood does a great job and you can’t play them and make mistakes and give up big plays and we did both,” Northside coach Mike Falleur said. “You’ve got to credit them for the way they played and it’s like I told our guys, you need to look in the mirror at all of us, coaches and players, and kind of evaluate what we did and didn’t do that caused that game to go the other way the way it did.”
The Grizzlies (1-1) finished with 181 total yards of offense. Quarterback Drey Norwood rushed for 65 yards and a touchdown while throwing for 31 yards. Sophomore tailback Seth Fields was the leading rusher with 68 yards.
For the second straight week, senior linebacker J.J. Mills was the top tackler with 13 stops. Defensive back Montay Parks added 11 tackles. Senior linebacker Stetson Van Matre also had three of the team’s five sacks, with linebacker Conley Bone and lineman Kaleb McDonald registering the other sacks.
This Friday, Northside will have its home opener at Mayo-Thompson Stadium, taking on Van Buren.
The Southside Mavericks spent the first two days this week hoping to correct some mistakes that cost them in last week’s 37-13 loss to Bentonville West.
“I didn’t think we played real well, but we had a lot of new faces and a lot of guys that were inexperienced,” coach Jeff Williams said. “We came out this week and tried to get those things corrected. We have to try to get better each day as an individual and team.”
The Mavericks travel to Greenwood on Friday to face the Bulldogs.
“Watching them on film against Northside, I really thought they flew around to the ball defensively and made a lot of plays,” Williams said. “It’s always a great atmosphere at their place and this will help make us a stronger football team.”
The Mavericks host Rogers Heritage in their 2019 non-conference finale, then hit the road for back-to-back 7A-Central games at Conway and Cabot.
Southside quarterback Parker Wehunt threw for 90 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s loss to Bentonville West.
Wehunt completed 7-of-19, including second half touchdown passes to Jake Tyler and Josh Hannan.
Tyler caught three passes for 37 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown reception on the next to final play of the game.
Hannan caught a 31-yard touchdown pass in the loss as well.
“You can see they’re continuing to get better in that area,” Williams said. “We also did some things where, if you had more experience, that wouldn’t have happened. It’s all about experience.”
Fullback Nathan Bogner caught two passes for 19 yards.
Southside junior running back Johntarrius Washington added 47 yards rushing on 18 carries.
The Southside boys tennis team has started conference play undefeated prior to Tuesday’s matches, defeating Conway and Cabot, the latter 5-0.
Coach Braden Eads credits the play of his top two singles players, Robison Wright and Graysen Conley, as the reason for his team’s undefeated start in conference. He added his top boys doubles team of Reiter Ahlert and Daniel Kiss have been delivering as well.
“We are strong on boys number one doubles and boys number one singles as far as I expect them to do well in conference,” Eads said. “On the girls side, we are strong on both one and two doubles.”
The top Southside girls doubles team consists of Jordan Cormier and Annie Nelligan, while the number two girls doubles team consists of Ashlyn Roffine and Kate Coleman.
As for Northside tennis, the Lady Bears won their first two conference matches against Bryant and Little Rock Central while the Grizzlies split their first two, beating Bryant but falling to Little Rock Central.
Once again, Northside’s top girls singles player, junior Kate Files, is turning in another impressive season.
Files is 7-1 so far, with her only defeat coming to a familiar nemesis, Fayetteville’s Mary Houston, which beat Files each of the past two seasons en route to winning consecutive state titles. Houston beat Files in their latest match, 6-4, 6-4....