The Southwest R-V School District hosted its first ever Southwest Cross Country Jamboree on Oct. 6. Unlike the annual Southwest Invitational, there were no high school heroes vying for honors and team trophies. This event was only for third through sixth grade runners, and the emphasis was on fun.
A total of 117 runners competed in the various divisions, and 27 of those competitors came from College Heights Christian School in Joplin.
"I invited 15 schools way back in August, and College Heights was the only school that responded positively," said Lee Stubblefield, the meet manager. "Coach Daniel Lewis of College Heights is as passionate about running as I am, so it was a natural fit for his school to share in this little adventure with us."
Races matched young athletes from the two schools in four divisions: third and fourth boys; third and fourth girls, fifth and sixth boys, and fifth and sixth girls. Although boys and girls ran together, awards were handed out separately for the four divisions. The course was a mile long.
"The more kids in a race, the more fun," explained Stubblefield. "The kids also get more of a feel of the experience of being in a big cross country race with 70 or more runners on the course at once."
More fun for the kids meant more work for the volunteers. Southwest Elementary Principal Judy Randall manned the results table, with faculty and members of the high school cross country team serving as course judges, finish judges and timers. Many students and parents lined the course near the finish area to cheer.
Every child who participated received an award. "One student received two if
you count the turtle he carried in from the course during his finishing sprint," said Stubblefield.
The top three runners in each division were decorated with handsome medals hung on red and white neck ribbons, and all other finishers received participant ribbons.
"There were some excellent performances," said Stubblefield. "I honestly had nothing to do with the kids as far as coaching. Mike Vining, our elementary physical education director, trained all of them and did a great job."
The top 10 finishers in each age division are listed below.
Third and fourth boys: Ryan Beaver, College Heights 6:56, first; Will Little, College Heights 7:02, second; Jerod Black, Southwest, 7:24, third; Dustin Morgan, Southwest 7:36.06, fourth; Sam Kennedy, College Heights 7:36.97, fifth; Blake Barnes, Southwest, 7:45, sixth; Matthew Cunningham, Southwest, 7:59, seventh; Sam McGarrah, Southwest, 8:00.31, eighth; Rian Hackett, Southwest, 8:00.73, ninth; and C. Dolberry, Southwest, 8:08, 10th.
Third and fourth girls: Montana Hendrix, Southwest, 7:06, first; Hailey Riesenmy, College Heights, 7:10, second; Brianna Shores, College Heights, 7:18, third; Nicole Ickes, Southwest, 7:19, fourth; Heather Wilson, College Heights, 8:13, fifth; Brittany Miles, Southwest, 8:15, sixth; Lee Ann Blakey, Southwest, 8:51, seventh; Casey Garman, College Heights, 8:55, eighth; Kelsey Leonard, Southwest, 9:22, ninth; and Tabitha Curby, Southwest 9:44, 10th.
Fifth and sixth boys: Adam Lewis, College Heights, 6:13, first; Travis Hayworth, Southwest, 6:22, second; Derek Hoover, College Heights, 6:24, third; Ben Michael, College Heights, 6:25, fourth; Jonathon Wolf, Southwest, 6:50, fifth; Logan Sparlin, College Heights, 7:11, sixth; Christian Sellars, Southwest, 7:12, seventh; Jose Cuevas, Southwest, 7:27, eighth; Skylar Knoll, Southwest, 7:35.00, ninth; and Jeff Elkins, Southwest, 7:35.42, 10th.
Fifth and sixth girls: Savannah Beaver, College Heights, 6:39, first; Mariah Fields, Southwest, 7:08, second; Jerri Lynn Henry, Southwest, 7:52, third; Megan Wilson, College Heights, 8:00, fourth; Cady Swindle, Southwest, 8:45, fifth; Amberly Miles, Southwest, 9:03.08, sixth; Atisha Boudreau, Southwest, 9:03.55, seventh; Carla Rose Rivas, College Heights, 9:19, eighth; Courtney Morgan, Southwest, 9:30, ninth; and Randi Woods, Southwest, 10:13, 10th.