Bentonville Tigers: Writing History in Arkansas XC

Over the last six seasons, Bentonville High School has been the standard bearer for Arkansas High School cross country - and this season doesn't appear to be any different.

The last time a team from Bentonville lost at the Arkansas cross country state meet was in 2017 when Arkansas still consisted of seven divisions. That Bentonville girls team finished 3rd to Rogers and Fayetteville.

Ever since nobody has touched the Tigers.

On the boys side, Bentonville has claimed six straight state championships that have included two wins separating themselves and second-place Fayetteville by five or fewer points. Their most significant margin of victory came against Har-Ber High School in 2020 when the Tigers won their fourth straight state championship by 52 points.

Despite their historic run, the Tigers have only had one individual champion, which came from the 2019 Gatorade Player of the Year Lukas Pabst that same season.

However, this should not be a knock on Bentonville, but instead, a testament to the program's culture and consistency, managing to win six straight championships with just a singular one-point scorer at the state meet.

The same can be said about the girl's program that has won five straight state championships. The first three seasons of their reign atop the state of Arkansas were without an individual state championship.

The Lady Tigers have had the best low stick in the state the past two seasons, however, coming from two different girls. Haley Loewe won her first state title last fall while Madison Galindo won the year prior.

While much of the success this program has enjoyed over the last six seasons can be attributed to coaching, work ethic, and sheer talent, it's impossible to ignore the established culture and rich tradition Bentonville possesses.

On the boys side, the Tigers are the sixth-winningest program in state history, claiming 11 state championships, which included a four-year run from 2009-2012 and the program's first title in 1982.

The girls have 15 state championships to their name, which is the second most in state history. Their first title came in 1997, which led to a four-year run through 2000 and five titles in the nine seasons to follow.

Together, the boys and girls combine for 26 state championships, which is the second most of any high school in Arkansas. Rogers ranks first with 37 state championships.

Having won 11 of the last 12 state titles, there appears to be no signs of slowing down in Bentonville this season.

The Tigers enter the season with the preseason favorite to win the 6A individual state title and the overwhelming favorite to collect a 6th and 7th straight state championship.

The girls team is loaded. Led by 2022 state champion Haley Loewe, the Tigers boast incredible depth, which returns all five All-State performers from last season's team, as well as Macey Hurley, who finished 3rd at the 6A State Championship this spring in the 3,200m.

The ladies from Bentonville appear ready to cruise towards their program's 16th state championship in the fall.

Led by national standout James American Horse, Bentonville is once again positioned to win another state championship. The Tigers return 5 of their 7 All-State performers from last season, in addition to Tishan Abeyagunawardene, who was a breakout performer on the track this spring.

While the boys appear to have stiffer competition standing in the way of their program's 12th state title, they still enter the season a heavy favorite.

What Bentonville has managed to do over the last six years has been unrivaled in the state of Arkansas and will be nearly impossible to replicate in the years to follow. But for now, all we can do is sit back and bask in the history being made.