Prep Cross Country: Logan, Valente sign with Golden Suns

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<p>photo by GEORGE “CLAY” MITCHELL</p><p>Van Buren cross country coach, Rod Ray, goes over the national letter of intent with Maria Valente (second from right) and Logan Edwards (second from left) before the ceremony on Thursday at Clair Bates Arena. Both Edwards and Valente signed with Arkansas Tech to join the Golden Suns cross country program. The pair is joined by their moms, Mara Edwards (left) and Rosa Valente (right).</p>

A pair of Van Buren runners signed NCAA Division II national letters of intent to join Arkansas Tech’s cross country program during a ceremony Thursday at Clair Bates Arena.

Maria Valente and Logan Edwards each ran a leg of the 3,200-meter relay team at the recent Meet of Champs and set a school record (10 minutes, 9.91 seconds) with Sage Macklin and Madi Chitwood.

Valente is a three-time all-star selection and was hindered by injuries this season. Edwards has been running with Van Buren’s program for five years.

As freshmen, Valente and Edwards placed in the Top 16 in the 6A cross country meet and the Lady Pointers won the state title. Valente was third as a sophomore and runner-up in 2011 and Edwards was fourth.

“Both are great kids,” said cross country coach Rod Ray. “It was kind of last minute for both of them. Logan called (Tech) and made a visit with them just this last week.

There were several looking at Maria, but she went with Tech at the last minute as well.”

Edwards said that the duo wanted to run together in college.

“We’re both excited about this,” said Valente. “I wanted to go to a college in Arkansas and be able to run.”