Claire Allen Defends Border Dash Title!


While last year's Border Dash wasn't  Claire Allen's first high school race, it was her first win. And despite missing the outdoor track season, the Benton sophomore returned to South Bossier Park Saturday morning to defend her title. Allen's winning time was 19:51.

Benton head coach Bryson Matthews was excited to have Allen back racing. 

"She had a great race today," Matthews said. "It was a little bit rough. We're trying to get back into racing. She hasn't raced since state last year because of an injury. We're coming back. 2-0 at the Border Dash. She is looking good. She just has to keep improving week by week." 

Much of the talk for the runners was the changes the Bossier Parks and Recreation has made to the South Bossier Park, which has slightly changed the makeup of the course. These changes, which has caused areas of the course to be more rocky, did not impact Allen.

"It was good," Allen said. "I never thought they would change South Bossier Park. I liked it (the changes). It was something new. It was just really fun. I don't think I will wear spikes next time. It was a little rocky, but it was fine."

Allen's freshmen year at Benton was a roller coaster ride from the highs of being the talk of the cross country community as a freshman to the lows of missing an entire outdoor track season due to four bilateral  stress fractures in her tibia. 

"It really sucked to sit out," Allen said. "But I got to see track from a whole new perspective. It was really eye-opening."

There was no hint of lingering problems from the injury as Allen led from start to finish at The Border Dash. She now looks forward to chasing her goals during the cross country season and use the lessons she learned as a freshman.

One of the lessons was handling pressure.

"The first time I ran everyone was like 'Claire, who is this person?' So I am relearning how to handle pressure and keep moving forward." Allen said.

Allen leads a Benton team which includes other talented sophomores Dominique Coore and Danielle Smart. Coore finished No. 7 on Saturday with a time of 20:49. Smart finished No. 11 with a 21:30. 

Collectively, those performances helped Benton finish as the runner-up with 76 points. C.E. Byrd won the girls' division with a score of 57.