Parkwood High Runner Bristle Looking To Take Next Step

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At A Glance

Parkwood High

Coach: Kris Koziarz

Between The Lines: Parkwood makes the jump to Class 3A this season … Senior Anna Bristle finished third at the Class 2A State Championships last fall. … The Parkwood boys return five runners that ran at the Class 2A meet in 2016.

Parkwood High School senior cross country runner Anna Bristle is looking to take one more big step this fall.

Since qualifying for the Class 2A State Cross Country Championships as a freshman in 2014, Bristle has steadily worked her way into becoming one of the best cross country runners in the state.

Bristle finished 45th at the state cross country meet as a freshman (22:00.66) and she then jumped into the top 20 as a sophomore in 2015 with a 19th-place finish (21:16.15) at state.

Last year, Bristle took another big jump as she finished third at the Class 2A State Cross Country Championships with a time of 18:59.31.

That finish capped a junior season that saw Bristle record seven first-place finishes, including winning the Rocky River Conference meet. Bristle also finished second at the Class 2A Midwest Regional a year ago.

Last spring, Bristle finished second in the 1600 and 3200-meter runs at the Class 2A State Outdoor Track Championships. She won the 1600 at the Class 2A Midwest Regional and finished second in the 3200 at the regional outdoor meet.

Bristle will now look to cap her high school cross country career with an individual state championship but the road will not be an easy one as Parkwood High is now competing as a member of Class 3A.

“Anna is top three or four in the state with her time coming back,” said Parkwood cross country coach Kris Koziarz. “The top girls are all in our conference and they are all running within five seconds of each other. She has several schools looking at her and she has a future beyond high school.”

Andrea Jauch also brings experience and talent to the Rebels girls team as she posted a 22:45.39 at the Class 2A meet a year ago. Both Bristle and Jauch qualified for the state meet as individuals.

“Last year, (Jauch) made huge strides,” Koziarz said. “She dropped 30, 40 seconds off of her 5K time. I look forward for her to break into that 20-minute range which would put her in the top five to 10 range in our weekly meets. Hopefully, she can make state again as an individual.”

The Parkwood boys cross country team will be a seasoned group as five runners return from the Rebels’ 14th-place finish at the Class 2A meet a year ago. Senior Clark Jones is the top returnee after posting a top 50 finish. Senior Jacob Brand, junior Jacob Bose and sophomores Mason Piddock and Noah Estrada also ran at the state meet in 2016.

“(Jones) has a huge range in his running ability,” Koziarz said. “He went from running in the 19-minute range to low 18 range. This year, I’m hoping he continues that progress and goes sub-18.”

Freshman Ethan Bradley is expected to add depth to for the Rebels and he is currently running in the second and third spot among Parkwood runners.

“We are adding a very strong freshman to our mix,” Koziarz said.

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Paul Nielsen
Nielsen was a sports writer for what is now the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for nearly 32 years before moving to North Carolina in February 2016. At the Democrat-Gazette, Nielsen's primary responsibility was beat coverage for Rogers High School. Rogers is a Class 7A school located in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen, a University of Arkansas graduate, covered the Northwest Arkansas Naturals Minor League Baseball team from 2008-2015. The Naturals are the Double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.
Nielsen has experience covering University of Arkansas athletics, including NCAA Tournament basketball games and several football bowl games. He also covered amateur and professional golf tournaments in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen lives in Matthews with his wife, Susan. He can be reached at