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Locals Teens Qualify for National Junior Olympic Championships

BY MELANIE BUCK –

Mena long-distance runners, Clint Buck and Abbie Smith, look to make a trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico in December to attend the National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships. After the pair made a trip to Nashville, Arkansas over the weekend to attend the Arkansas Junior Olympic Championships, Buck became the second top qualifier in the state to advance in the boys’ 17-18 age division. Smith is the third top qualifier in the state in the girls’ 17-18 age division.

Buck and Smith are currently Mena High School’s top male and female runners in Cross Country and long distance track. Buck placed in the top 20 at the Arkansas State Cross Country Championships held recently in Hot Springs and placed fourth at the River Valley All-Star Meet as well. Buck’s personal best time on a 5K run is 16 minutes 33 seconds.

Smith also competed in the State Championships where she was unable to capture a medal and placed in the top 15 at the River Valley All-Star Meet. Her personal best time is 20 minutes 40 seconds.

Both Buck and Smith are juniors at Mena High School and plan to take their running careers through college and beyond. A GoFundMe page is being set up to help with expenses for their trip to the National Junior Olympics, which will be held at Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque on December 12, 2015.

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