Hillcats Sweep Top Spots In Season Opening Victory

The Rogers State men’s cross country team swept it’s season-opening meet on Friday, taking the top six scoring positions en route to a victory at the Lions Club Bucks Overland Classic hosted by the University of Arkansas – Rich Mountain.

Sophomore Jackson Stinnett led the way for the Hillcats on a hot and humid day at the hilly Mena Lions Disc Golf Course, taking second overall, and first among collegiate scoring runners, with a time of 27:54.0 in the 8k event. Stinnett finished behind winner and former Hillcat cross country runner Nick Williams, who competed as an unattached individual in the race and claimed the win with a time of 26:30.5.

Running second for the Hillcats was transfer Garrison Blanton, who made his Hillcat debut with a time of 27:58.8, finishing 5.8 seconds behind Stinnett. Blanton edged out fellow Hillcat newcomers Kory Wilson and Tyler Melton, who took fourth and fifth overall.

Wilson, also a transfer, finished two seconds behind Blanton with a 28:00.8 and edged out Melton by just 1.2 seconds. Melton, the top freshman for Rogers State, finished with a 28:02.0.

Julius Oheim, another freshman for the Hillcats, rounded out the top five for scoring runners, taking sixth overall with a time of 28:04.8. With Oheim finishing just 10.8 seconds off of Stinnett’s time, Rogers State’s top five finishers scored the closest race in school history by over 30 seconds. The previous best gap for the top five came in 2012 at the Southern Stampede when the Hillcats had a gap of 42.4 seconds between first and fifth.

Taking sixth overall and sixth for the Hillcats was sophomore Hunter Hart, who ran a 28:07.6, less than three seconds behind Oheim. Freshman Jean-Benoit Merte rounded out the scoring places, finishing seventh for RSU and 10th overall with a time of 28:40.4.

The Hillcats scored the minimum 15 points in the overall standings, picking up a convincing victory over Arkansas-Fort Smith, who finished with 59. Arkansas Rich Mountain took third overall with 79 points. Seven schools were represented in the event.

Friday’s win is the sixth victory in program history and the first victory for the Hillcats since claiming two wins in 2017, including the Heartland Conference Championship on October 21 of that year.

The Hillcats are set to return to action on Friday, October 30 with the 2020 Cross Country Team Championships event, hosted by Newman University.

Hillcat Runners

Place

Runner

Time

2

Stinnett, Jackson

27:54.0

3

Blanton, Garrison

27:58.8

4

Wilson, Kory

28:00.8

5

Melton, Tyler

28:02.0

6

Oheim, Julius

28:04.8

7

Hart, Hunter

28:07.6

10

Merte, Jean-Benoit

28:40.4

12

Turner, Preston

29:13.5

13

Vallejo, Carlos

29:17.2

21

Phillippi, Blaine

30:49.3

22

Biersdorfer, Jon

30:50.3

35

Fortune, Bolton

33:18.2

42

White, Joseph

35:57.4

 

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