Wednesday, October 07, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot XC runners set several PRs

Leader sports editor

The Cabot Lady Panthers finished second out of 48 schools in the Chili Pepper High School Open cross country race Saturday in Fayetteville. Four Lady Panthers finished in the top 30 out of a massive field of 485 competitors.

Sophomore Bailey Lebow finished seventh to lead Cabot with a time of 20:22.07. Cabot coach Leon White hoped a few of his runners would break the 20-minute mark for the first time. That didn’t happen, but four of the top five all turned in personal records.

“We ran the open this year instead of the varsity race, but we did well for what we were trying to do,” said White. “We were trying to get kids to run their best times, and most all the girls had a PR.”

Senior Samantha Nickell continues to battle stomach problems, and was the only Lady Panther that didn’t turn in a PR.

“She’s not one to quit, so she keeps going even through all the discomfort she’s having,” White said. “At Russellville she was crying by the time she finished the race, but she keeps going. She was a little better this week, I think, but she’s not yet anywhere near 100 percent. Hopefully by conference and state, she’ll come through. She was our best one coming into the season and she’s capable of running much better times. She’s just having a tough time of it so far.”

Sophomore Casey Gore finished 12th with a time of 20:35.88, and Nickell was 23rd, finishing in 21:25.27. Rounding out the top five for Cabot was junior Brayden Giesler, who finished 29th and sophomore Chloe Thompson who placed 43rd.

“That was the first race Chloe ran for us,” White said. “She ran for us in junior high and then didn’t run in ninth grade. She said she’d come back out and give it a try, and she did pretty well for it to be her first race in about two years.”

Jordan Woodson was the top finisher for the Cabot boys. He finished in 20th place out of 828 runners with a time of 17:34.33. Wells Guyor was 37th and newcomer Landon Vaught finished 51st. Blake Scott took 53rd and Stuart Nickell was 70th for the Panthers.

The Cabot boys finished seventh in the team competition out of 60 schools competing.

“Three boys ran a PR for us, too,” White said. “Jordan has been our top runner the last two meets and he ran a PR. He says he’s run faster than that in road races and things like that, but as far as a high school meet, that was his PR. Landon is a basketball kid that came out and finished in our top five. So we’re excited about that. He’s going to get better.

“Like I’ve been saying, we’re a young team and we’re not running championship level times this year. But if all these kids will stay with it, in a couple years they could be right there near the top.”