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story.lead_photo.caption Shelley Williams Special to the Enterprise-Leader/Prairie Grove senior Bekah Bostian (center) poses with her parents, Elise and Keith Bostian, while signing a national letter of intent to compete in cross country plus track and field for the University of Central Arkansas in January.

PRAIRIE GROVE -- Prairie Grove senior track star Bekah Bostian planned her college visit to UCA with one very distinct strategic suggestion from her father -- talk to Gracie Hyde.

While a high school junior at Lonoke, Hyde beat Bekah Bostian on Nov. 12, 2016 for the 2016 State 4A cross country individual championship. Although Bostian's time of 19:51.10 as a sophomore was faster than when she won the Nov. 7, 2015 4A cross country state championship as a freshman posting a mark of 20:05.50; she came in second to Hyde's 19:47.50. Kendall Hays, of West Fork, was third in 20:25.40.

PRAIRIE GROVE GIRLS TRACK AND FIELD

March 10, 2019 - Prairie Grove senior Megan Thompson signed to run track and field as well as cross country with University of Arkansas at Fort Smith.

Jan. 25, 2019 - Prairie Grove senior Bekah Bostian signs national letter of intent to run cross country/track and field and to continue her education at the University of Central Arkansas.

Nov. 2, 2018 - 4A State Cross Country meet. Bekah Bostian came in second place (21:05.80) to Harrison junior Ruthy Ryan (20:57.00).

Oct. 23, 2018 - Prairie Grove girls finished as Runner-Up at the 4A Conference championship meet. Bekah Bostian came in first place with a time of 19:54.98 in front of Harrison’s Ruthy Ryan, second in 20:10.87.

May 1, 2018 - Bekah Bostian won gold in the 3200 meter run for the third straight year at the 4A State track and field meet at Pocahontas posting a time of 12:04.55. Kendall Hays, of West Fork, was second in 12:16.87.

Nov. 3, 2017 - Bekah Bostian wins her second 4A State cross country individual title with a time of 20:03.90 at Hot Springs. Bobbie Johnson, of Huntsville, is second in 20:22.40 while Kendall Hays, of West Fork, places third in 20:43.10. Megan Thompson, of Prairie Grove, is 33rd in 23:59.20.

Oct. 24, 2017 - Bekah Bostian wins the 4A -1 District cross country race in 19:43.47. Megan Thompson places eighth in 22:50.37. Team title won by Prairie Grove with score of 39 ahead of second place Berryville, 61; third place Gravette, 62; and fourth place Huntsville, 65.

May 2, 2017 - Bekah Bostian (11:54.26) wins the 3200 meter at the State track and field meet at Pocahontas beating Gracie Hyde, of Lonoke, second in 12:26.18. Kendall Hays, of West Fork, is third in 12:52.14. Hyde wins the 1600 meter with a time of 5:28.07 while Prairie Grove’s Megan Thompson gets seventh place in the 1600 meter with a time of 6:01.80.

Nov. 12, 2016 - Bekah Bostian places second at 4A state cross country race with a time of 19:51.10 as a sophomore. Gracie Hyde, of Lonoke, wins the race in 19:47.50. Kendall Hays, of West Fork, is third in 20:25.40.

May 3, 2016 - As a freshman Bekah Bostian wins 3200 meter race at State 4A track and field meet at Nashville with a time of 12:06.56. Jessica Weiss, a Gosnell senior, is second in 12:34.77.

Nov. 7, 2015 - Bekah Bostian wins 4A cross country state championship with a time of 20:05.50 as a freshman over second place Jessica Weiss, of Gosnell, a senior (20:10.40).

During what Bekah's father, Keith Bostian, a volunteer assistant track and field coach specializing in training Prairie Grove distance runners, calls "their phenonemal competition" in high school, Bekah Bostian was never able to beat Hyde in a cross country race

"For whatever reason they were either one or two, they were always in the front. Both of them were either first or second in just about whatever race they were in. It was nice rivalry," Keith Bostian said. "Gracie will make Bekah a whole lot better runner."

Bekah Bostian thrived on the competition because up to that juncture she had been able to outrun just about everybody else at the 4A level as well as a host of athletes from higher classifications.

The following spring on May 2, 2017, Bekah Bostian won the 3200 meter at the State track and field meet at Pocahontas with a time of 11:54.26 beating Hyde, who placed second in 12:26.18. Hays ran third in 12:52.14. Hyde won the 1600 meter with a time of 5:28.07 while Prairie Grove's Megan Thompson finished in seventh place with a time of 6:01.80.

The rivalry became a deciding factor in Bekah's decision to attend UCA.

"When we were planning our college visit to UCA and I knew Gracie Hyde was there ..." Keith Bostian said. "Gracie is a year older than Bekah and they had raced against each other and been really fun to watch, I really wanted to make it a point to visit and to see Gracie and I told Gracie "It was really attractive, UCA was more attractive because she's there. Because Gracie is there it makes UCA more attractive for Bekah to go there. I'm real excited about her getting to train and run with Gracie. That will make her a lot better."

Bekah Bostian plans to major in physical therapy and looks forward to competing at UCA.

"I'll do track and cross country there. It's kind of a joint thing. You kind of get to do both," Bekah Bostian said.

She figures to compete in some of the same events she has ran in high school, the 3,200 meter and 1,600 meter.

This season Hays has emerged as a strong rival especially in the 1600 -- although she won't compete head-to-head against Bostian at state because West Fork is now in 3A.

Bekah Bostian started running as an eighth-grader.

"The beginning of high school I started thinking (about college running), it started coming into my mind. I played basketball for a little while, then turning the focus strictly on running made me focus a little bit more and made me aspire to try to do that."

Keith Bostian notes Bekah and classmate, Thompson, are the first two girls from Prairie Grove to receive athletic scholarships for track and field.

"I've asked around and I don't know that Prairie Grove has ever produced a college track and field athlete (in girls competiton). There's been some males, Syd Walker went a couple of years ago, but I don't know that there's ever been a female that's running in college. Two in one year, that's been great," Keith Bostian said.

Bekah Bostian thinks coach Dana Froud coming in to take over the girls track and field program was pretty helpful and said boys coach John Elder has done a great job. Each coach concentrates on a different aspect of the program.

"Having someone you can rely on, who gets to focus on us, like smaller groups, particularly girls is a little more helpful," Bekah Bostian said. "And then also my dad has done strictly mostly distance running so having those different categories where they use what they know to pour into those people (competing in specific events) has been really helfpul as you progress."

Bekah Bostian expressed appreciation to her supporting cast.

"I'm obviously really grateful for my dad and for my mom, too. My family has been really supportive and encouraging to try and help me make my decision," Bekah Bostian said. "Then obviously, Coach (Dana) Froud and (cross country) Coach (Darren) Chandler helped to support me in my decision, as well. Then also Coach Elder and even Coach Froud's husband, (Prairie Grove head girls basketball coach Kevin Froud), he's been really kind to me and supportive of my decisions and obviously the team."

Keith Bostian threw in a few more names: "(former Prairie Grove athletic director) Tommy Roy, (current athletic director) Joey Sorters, and (former superintendent/currently assistant superintendent of finance) Dr. Allen Williams, all those guys have come to a lot of races."

Sports on 04/10/2019

Print Headline: Rivalry Influences Bostian To Sign With UCA

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