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story.lead_photo.caption NWA Democrat-Gazette/J.T. WAMPLER Bentonville High School’s Lainey Quandt competes Oct. 23 at the 6A-West Conference cross country meet at Rogers High School.

BENTONVILLE -- Lainey Quandt fully understands the physical challenge that awaits when she makes the switch from running track in the spring to the much longer cross country races in the fall.

The mental transition between the two sports is much tougher, according to the Bentonville High senior who will compete Friday during the Arkansas High School Cross Country Championships in Hot Springs.

At A Glance

LAINEY QUANDT

SCHOOL Bentonville High

CLASS Senior

HEIGHT 5-8

NOTABLE Has the state’s second-lowest time over 5,000 meters this fall when she ran finished the Chile Pepper Invitational with a time of 18 minutes, 36.60 seconds. … Finished third last week during the 6A-West Conference meet at Rogers. … Won the Class 7A state titles in both the 800 and 1,600 meters. … Has narrowed her college choices to Arkansas and Samford. … Also a member of Bentonville’s girls swim team. … Has a twin brother, Carter, who runs on Bentonville’s boys team.

At A Glance

ARKANSAS HIGH SCHOOL CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS

When Friday

Where Oaklawn Park, Hot Springs

Today’s Schedule

5A — Boys 9 a.m.; Girls 9:30 p.m.

6A — Boys 10:15 a.m.; Girls 10:45 a.m.

1A/2A — Boys 11:30 a.m.; Girls noon

3A — Boys 12:45 p.m.; Girls 1:15 p.m.

4A — Boys 2 p.m.; Girls 2:30 p.m.

NOTE: This is the final year he state cross country championships will utilize this scheduling format. A new format was approved earlier this month by the Arkansas Activities Association’s board of directors and will be used in next year’s meets.

"For me, it's a lot harder to focus on the races," Quandt said. "In cross country, we're always changing scenery and people are constantly going in and out. That makes it harder for me to focus than what I face on the track."

Quandt, the Class 7A state champion in the girls 800- and 1,600 meter run in the spring, would have received a 2-week reprieve between track and cross country. However, she is also on the school's swim team and uses some of that time off to concentrate on that sport.

She said her normal workouts during track season never go farther than a mile. Quandt said it normally takes her a couple of months of good training before her legs are ready for cross country, then she's ready to go.

"Lainey has a running range of 400 (meters) on up," Bentonville coach Randy Ramaker said. "That is rare in high school. Her 400 time is good enough for her to be on our 4x400 (relay) team, and obviously, she's a great 5K runner. When you go to one of our practices, where we sometimes run more than 5,000 meters, she's able to do that well.

"It's never been about the physical thing. She's been a great runner and always will be. It's a matter of getting her in the right focus and working through some barriers that some kids get. It's not rare for a person that runs to have a certain area where she struggles."

When Quandt is mentally sharp, she has proven she can run with the state's best this fall.

She ran her personal-best time of 18 minutes, 36.6 seconds during the Chile Pepper Festival and finished fourth in the girls "El Caliente" division, and her time ranks as the state's second-best performance this season. She was also the only runner to break the 19-minute mark and won the girls division during the Lake Hamilton Invitational, which was held earlier this month on the same Oaklawn Park course that she'll run Friday.

However, she admitted she wasn't at the top of her game mentally last week during the 6A-West Conference meet at Rogers, when she finished third.

"It's really been weird," Quandt said. "I had a really good race at the Chile Pepper, and since then I've been focusing more on my races. I'm trying to stay more relaxed, and I think that has helped a lot.

"At the conference meet, I really didn't have a specific game plan, so it was hard to run during the race. I don't think I ran a super-smart race, and it wasn't my best day. I'm excited about this week, and I think we're ready to go."

Preps Sports on 11/01/2018

Print Headline: PREP CROSS COUNTRY: Mental challenge awaits Bentonville's Quandt

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