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story.lead_photo.caption MARK HUMPHREY ENTERPRISE-LEADER Farmington cross country coach Breanna Jones inspires young athletes she coaches from grades 7-12 to strive for success. Jones admits she's competitive and her Cardinals don't just come to run, they endeavor to show out.

FARMINGTON -- Breanna Jones can't help herself, a desire to win at every opportunity burns brightly, inspiring the boys and girls grades 7-12 she coaches in cross country at Farmington.

Jones showcased a competitive nature while leading the 2011-2012 Lady Cardinal girls basketball team into the District 4A-1, 4A North Regional and State 4A finals during her high school senior season. That drive to excel gets passed along to the cross country athletes, whom Jones admits feed off her personality.

"Yes, I am competitive and they are, too," Jones said. "They just go out there and run until they want to puke almost."

The privilege and thrill of coaching at her hometown high school where she experienced success isn't lost on Jones.

"It is like a full circle. It's honestly a joy to be able to come back here and hopefully instill some of the things that my own coaches and my own teachers instilled in myself," Jones said. "It's really awesome to be able to do that."

During the winter Jones assists Brad Johnson, who took over Farmington's girls basketball program when she was a sophomore in 2009-2010. Johnson coached the Farmington girls track and field team for several seasons.

"He's taught me so much, so much perspective. He's just so wise about the game. His basketball IQ is off the charts," Jones said. "I don't think there's ever a conversation that I don't learn something from him."

Jones doesn't consider herself the most fierce competitor among Johnson's staff which also includes head tennis coach Denver Holt.

That distinction, according to Jones, belongs to long-time assistant and fellow Farmington alumni, Jessica McCullough, who served as head volleyball coach when Jones and 2012 classmate Lexi Lewis pounded the net with every opportunity. McCullough once held the school record for most points in a basketball game by a Farmington Cardinal with 47 until Matthew Wilson broke that with 49 and 50-point outings in 2017.

"She's the most competitive woman I may know. She pushes her teams in ways that I am learning from right now," Jones said. "Just how to push my team to the best of their ability."

Based on Cardinal cross country results from this past fall, Jones is learning well.

Nineteen girls ran in the conference junior high meet won by Farmington led by eighth grader, Jordyn Paine, first with a time of 12:58.91; seventh grader Gabby McBurnett, sixth in 13:40.71; and ninth grader Addie Kaiser, eighth in 13:47.52; all cracking the top 10; while eighth grader Justine Davidson ran 20th in 14:46.06; and seventh grader, Marylauren Bradley placed 28th with a time of 15:11.68.

Envisioning the future of Cardinal cross country excites Jones as more and more kids come out. The seventh grade boys class is strong. At the district meet running against eighth and ninth graders, Cooper Spurlock placed 10th in 12:13.31; Avery Lynch, 13th in 12:27.81; Cannon Spurlock, 15th in 12:29.76; Blain Browning 18th in 12:41.27; and Isaac Dixon, 34th in 13:20.11.

"I had a lot of seniors this year, who have definitely blazed the trail of what cross country is going to be at Farmington," Jones said. "My junior boys ended the conference in runner-up. The junior girls finished first and senior boys were runner-up."

Seniors Kolby Gardner and Joelle Tidwell became the school record-holders in their respective boys and girls categories. Gardner placed second at the District 4A-1 meet hosted by Prairie Grove Oct. 29 with a personal best of 17:25.21. Tidwell placed 19th and was bumped up to 16th with a time of 23:10.87 at district then achieved a personal best of 22:08.70 while placing 28th which became 26th at the State 4A meet held at Oaklawn Park at Hot Springs on Nov. 9.

"They have the fastest times for a 5K at Farmington right now," Jones said. "So, that's big time."

Six ninth-graders are poised to step up from the junior high to high school competition next season. The class included eight runners cracking the top 75 at district in 2019: Gavin Spurlock, Cody Klotzbuecher, Landyn Faught, Blaine Chambers, Wyatt Fournior, Will Hellard, Josh Blakely and Luke Flanagan.

"They are going to come up and be very strong runners for us next year," Jones said.

Two were promoted to varsity and ran in the 2019 State 4A cross country meet. Gavin Spurlock finished 33rd, second among Farmington runners, and was awarded 30th place with a time of 18:46.30 while Cody Klotzbuecher saw his 88th place bumped up to 78th with a time of 19:54.10.

"Both of them were still kind of recovering off injury and they still had some really good times," Jones said.

Four eighth graders: Jayden Phillips, Joey Richards, Jaren Seward, and Riley Brashears, did well also.

Sports on 03/25/2020

Print Headline: Competitive Fire Burns Bright

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