Place strategy

Lady Wolves take second place in state meet

Led by another dominating performance from Olivia Pielemeier, Lady Wolves finished second at Thursday’s Class 5A cross-country meet at Oaklawn.

Pielemeier won his second straight individual state title with a time of 18:40.92. Greenwood’s Carole Werner was second at 18:56.36, and Werner helped Greenwood win a tag team championship as the Lady Bulldogs finished with a score of 33.

Greenwood had four of its runners in the top 10, while Lake Hamilton’s Blair Turpen crossed the finish line in eighth position. Lady Wolves finished with 62 points.

“I feel like overall the girls did their best,” said Lake Hamilton head coach Brandon Smith. “We had a girl who was sick earlier this week. She wasn’t running as well. We had a few girls who weren’t running quite what we wanted. But overall I feel like the girls pushed really hard and I was really, really proud of them, we knew yesterday with Greenwood it would be an uphill battle for us to try and beat them.

Pielemeier took the lead early, and there was no drama or jockeying for position after the senior jumped to the front of the pack.

“It was OK,” Pielemeier said. “About a mile and a half I was ready to finish it. I had cramps, but hey, that’s part of it. It was a good test of mental strength for me. Individually we made it home with a title that really didn’t have anyone pushing me. So I mean, I really can’t complain. I’m really grateful for how it turned out.

After Pielemeier and Turpen, the next three graduates for Lake Hamilton were two sophomores and one freshman.

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Although they didn’t win the tag team title, Lady Wolves look to be a threat for years to come.

“We have a lot of young children,” Pielemeier said. “I mean you win some, you lose some. That’s racing, I guess. That’s really the best way to put it. On paper it showed we should have won them a lot. Unfortunately, we But I’m really happy with my girls We did better than last year.

In the boys’ race, Greenwood’s Noah Embrey sprinted off the start line and held on to beat Joseph Bariola of Lakeside.

Embrey (15:27.12) pushed the pace early on, and the junior Ram tried to stay with the senior Bulldog but just couldn’t get past Embrey for that individual state title.

“To be honest, I was going there and my mission was just to stay with the peloton and earn the placement,” Bariola said. “Today you really pushed the limits of how you come out of a race and how you fight in the middle. Strategy can only go so far if you’re not so strong to stay through the first and second mile. Noah really cooked it. He’s been really good this year.”

Bariola (15:49.60) said the race with Embrey was a battle.

“We kind of had a plan,” Lakeside head coach Jeff Haynes said. “Our plan was that we were going to hang back for that first mile and carry it on for the second mile. When you get through the first mile in 4:45 and you get faster, it’s hard to hang up there. Hats off to Noah . He’s gotten so strong over the last year.”

Both runners handled the rough terrain of Oaklawn’s infield well.

“I don’t really like this course,” Bariola said. “It’s testing all the limits of everything. You get hills. You get rocks. I think we should all, through the AAA, compete to move this to northwest Arkansas. But it’s “It’s a good race. You know it’s my hometown. I like to show in front of all my people. I like to have them here.

Hot Springs’ Layla Lammers finished 16th for the Lady Trojans, and Diego Martinez came in 14th to lead the men’s team.

“I couldn’t be happier,” Hot Springs head coach Milton Williams said. “I think we had our best race of the year. They just pulled it off and performed really well today.”

Williams said the Trojan Boys finished 22nd last year, and this year they jumped to 12th. Fielding a young roster this season, Williams hopes his team will take another leap next season into a community teeming with cross-country talent.

“It’s a running community for sure,” Williams said. “Two other great high schools doing very, very well. It motivates us a lot to try to catch up. Of course, we’re not just trying to catch up. We want to try and win one day. The hometown The rivalry is huge. It’s a friendly rivalry. It’s good for everyone. I think it raises everyone’s level.”

Early in the race, several boys’ teams attempted to win the state title. Mountain Home (54) emerged victorious and Lake Hamilton (210) finished eighth, Lakeside (237) following ninth.

“On the guys side, yesterday was really hard to tell who was going to win,” Smith said. “Literally one of the five teams could have had a chance to win yesterday. … It was just a wild ride to watch and great fun to see all these guys mixed together. That says a lot about how competitive the class is.” 5A Division has now become in the state of Arkansas.”

Sophomore Maya Hubbard finished in 18th place to lead the Lady Rams to an eighth-place team finish.

“On the girls’ side, we’ve had some issues over the last two weeks,” Haynes said. “So we shook some of them up and came out and I thought they ran really well. Maya Hubbard just had a great run today. … As far as the team goes, we don’t We didn’t finish as well as our goals for the first part of the year.”

While Bariola will return to Oaklawn next season to try for an individual title, Pielemeier competed in his final cross country meet on Thursday and added to his legendary status at Lake Hamilton.

“It’s bittersweet,” she said. “Oaklawn is a tough course. I love Lake Hamilton. I’ve had the jersey on since grade seven. I’m definitely holding back the tears. Like I said, it’s bittersweet. We’re happy with what we we did. We got on the podium.”