BHS pole vaulting duo makes state track history
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CONWAY — With the AAAAA-Central Conference and Class AAAAA State meets approaching, Bryant Hornets track coach Steve Oury had his team concentrating on single events instead of doubling up for points at the Conway Invitational track meet on Thursday, April 14.
The Hornets still collected 46 points to finish sixth in the meet which Conway won.
The highlight for Bryant was senior Steven Bright’s 800 meter run as he turned in the best time in the state so far. The 1:58.66 clocking was just short of the State qualifying time of 1:58.23. Junior Chris Robinson continued to close in the two minute mark in the event. His 2:06.33 was good for third at Conway.
The Hornets also continued their domination in the pole vault but, as head coach Steve Oury said, with a twist to the outcome. For the first time this season, sophomore Spencer McCorkel lost to an in-state competitor but, as it turned out, it was his teammate senior Blake Zuber who turned the trick. Both cleared 14-6 but Zuber took top honors due to few misses.
The next day, Zuber, who’s school record pole vault set last year, was topped by McCorkel earlier this season, cleared a personal-best 15 feet at the Lake Hamilton Wolves Invitational meet. This time, McCorkel won the event over his teammate, by going over 15-6. It was the first time in Arkansas high school track history that two vaulters from the same team had cleared the 15-foot barrier at the same meet.
“It was an effort to get them accustomed to the facilities at Lake Hamilton High School where the AAAAA State meet will be held next month,” noted Oury. “I’m very happy because we accomplished a couple of our goals for this week, to get Steven under the two-minute barrier in the 800 and getting Blake over the 15-foot barrier. Both of those guys should come away from this week with plenty of confidence. Next week, we will hopefully continue to break some barriers with some of our other athletes.”
The Hornets also picked up points in the 1600 meter run when Ethan Blakley ran a 4:41.27 to finish third; in the 400 with Zach Barnes finishing seventh in 53.95; and, in the 200, with Ryan King finishing eighth in 23.50. The 1600 meter relay team of Robinson, Blakley, Barnes and Bright combined on a 3:40 clocking and took sixth.
“I was very pleased with how Bright ran in the 800,” Oury noted. “Hopefully next week, he can get the state qualifying mark. I would also expect Chris Robinson to be nearing the 2:00 mark in the next couple of weeks. Ethan Blakley is close to breaking through for a sub 4:40 1600 and a sub 10:00 3200. I thought Zach Barnes ran his best race as a Hornet, winning his heat in the 400 and placing 7th overall. He and Ryan King can really help us if they continue to work hard and get points in the sprint races.
Oury added, “Although he didn’t score, I was proud of Alvin Rapien’s effort in the 3200 meter run. His time of 11:09 cut 16 seconds off his personal record.”