Arkansas State Cross Country Championships - Day 1 Recap

It was a fantastic first day at the Arkansas Cross Country State Championships.

Today, Division 4A, 5A, and 6A took to the course in Hot Springs for the biggest distance event of the year and it did not disappoint, providing action from start to finish.

For those of you who might have missed out on the action, here's a quick recap from Day 1!

To relive all the action, follow @armilesplit on Twitter/X and check out their minute-by-minute updates from the course!


Division 4A

Maddie Cabana kicked things off with a dominating win in the 4A Girls Championship race. The senior from Clinton raced to an impressive 18:36.80, claiming her 5th state championship and second consecutive cross country title.

Julia Whorton finished in second, which helped lead Gravette to their second consecutive team championship. Gravette narrowly edged out Clinton, winning 60 to 62.

In the Boys 4A Championship race, three runners took the lead from the gun making for an incredibly exciting race.

Tian Grant, Matthew Thurman, and Trea Melton were side by side for the first 1.5 miles until Grant began to make his move around Oaklawn's famous figure-8. Grant would go on to win his first state title, running a 16:20.25. Thurman would finish second and Melton finished 3rd.

Grant's championship efforts helped Pea Ridge to a team title as well, defeating Shiloh Christian School 72-77, while Gravette finished third beating fourth-place Pottsville via tiebreaker.

Division 5A

Similarly to the Boys 4A Championship race, the Girls 5A Championship race was taken out by a group of three consisting of Aubrey Minton, Brooklyn Nicholson, and Audrey Herrell.

As the race progressed, Minton began to slowly break away from the lead pack and surged to a 32-second victory, running a 19:14.89 en route to the Valley View freshman's first-ever state title.

Nicholson finished second, running a season-best time of 19:46.43 while Herrell finished fourth behind Carole Werner in third.

Greenwood edged out Russellville by a slim margin, winning the 2023 5A Girls team championship 65-74. Lake Hamilton finished third while Valley View finished fourth and Mountain Home rounded out the top 5.

It was all Joseph Bariola in the Boys 5K Championship, who won his first state title running a breathtaking solo 15:22.06. The Lakeside star set out at a meet-record pace early on and held on for the 45-second victory.

River Hardman finished runner-up and William Hill finished just seconds behind him in 3rd.

Mountain Home dominated the team race, scoring just 39 points and putting four runners inside the top 9. Big days from Garrett Barr and Connor King helped etch Mountain Home into the history books, winning their second straight state title and their third in the last five seasons.

Russellville finished second, scoring 72 points while Lakeside was third and Siloam Springs edged out Little Rock Christian by five points for fourth.

Division 6A

In the biggest race of the week, the Girls 6A Championship delivered in every way imaginable.

The scene was set: the Bentonville Tigers were defending their five straight state championships against Rogers' underclassmen superteam and a rising Fayetteville squad. And at the end, it was Rogers spoiling Bentonville's historic run and winning their state record 26th state championship.

It was a back-and-forth battle up front. A front pack of four consisting of Haley Loewe and Devyn O'Daniel from Bentonville and Lilly Beshears and Kayla Eggers from Rogers lasted for a little past a mile until Loewe turned on the jets and raced to her second straight state championship, remaining undefeated on Arkansas grass over the last two cross country seasons.

Loewe was just seconds away from her meet record that she set a year ago, running 17:49.77. O'Daniel finished shortly behind in second while Eggers finished 3rd and Loewe finished 4th.

From there, the race for a championship was on. Katherine Scudder finished 5th for Rogers while Hannah Hanson finished 10th for Bentonville. Rogers was able to close the door on the Tigers once Elizabeth Scudder and Anna Scudder crossed the line in 11th and 12th for the Mounties, giving them a 35-40 victory over Bentonville.

There was a ton of action elsewhere during the race too. Lauren Thompson, a freshman from Jonesboro, had an emphatic finishing 6th while Virginia Milwee finished 7th, Emelia Hesselgren finished 8th, and Passion Perez, who set a massive 15-second personal best on a very intimidating course, rounded out the top 9.

In the 6A Boys Championship race, Bentonville was dominant, putting their entire top 5 in the top 6 to win their 7th straight state title.

Matthew Shelly led the Tigers en route to his first state championship, running the fastest time on the day in a 15:19.43. Owen Kelley quickly followed in second, running a 15:21.61 while James American Horse finished third in a 15:29.20.

Payton Brack and Eli Seavey rounded out the 17-point score for Bentonville, finishing 5th and 6th.

Jonathan Mendez was the lone individual able to break up Bentonville's scoring five, finishing fourth and running a 15:53.51. Mendez's fourth-place finish helped aid Har-Ber to a second-place finish, knocking off Rogers and Fayetteville, who finished third and fourth respectively.

Rogers' Noah Gorden had a terrific day, finishing 7th while Sam Gerhardt from Bentonville West finished 8th. Ryan Fernstrom from Bentonville finished 9th while Myson McFall from Cabot rounded out the top 10.


Milesplit Arkansas will be in Hot Springs for Day 2 of the Arkansas Cross Country State Championships. For live updates from the course, follow along on Twitter/X (@armilesplit).

For those individuals who finish in the top 10 on Friday and teams that podium, come find us in our Milesplit gear for an interview that will later be posted to the site.

Let's do it all again, we will see you again tomorrow!