RUSSELLVILLE — Sophomore Bailey Brazil and seniors Sydney Wilson and Bree Hood turned in top 20 finishes for the Bryant Lady Hornets on Saturday at the Russellville Invitational cross country meet.
As a team, the Lady Hornets finished with 134 points, fourth in a 13-team meet. Springdale Har-Ber took top honors with 85 points, edging Conway (87). Lake Hamilton was third at 126. Bryant edged Little Rock Christian and Cabot (each at 136).
Brazil was 14th with a season-best time of 22:47.31. Wilson was 16th with a season-best 22:50.28. Hood also had a season-best time in placing 19th in 23:17.28.
Junior Lauren Hart was Bryant’s fourth finisher, taking 41st in a time of 25:08.4, her best of the season so far. Natasha Hobby was 61st in 26:29.26, completing the team’s scoring quintet.
“Any time we can get the majority of our five runners in the top 20, we should place high in the team rankings,” said Bryant coach Keith Dale. “These girls have been training very hard to accomplish a goal that will take them where their hearts desire. The more they push themselves, the closer they get to reaching that goal.
“I was more pleased with their effort not only in this meet, but also in the way our mindset is changing during practice,” he added. “Cross Country is a very unique sport. There is a mindset that these athletes have to get to in order to become successful. During the summer and our first meet, we just were not there but now I’m beginning to see the mindset shift towards a truly competitive cross country way of thinking.
“Many of our runners have taken this new way of thinking to heart and all ran a season best on this hilly, hot course,” the coach continued. “Under these conditions, I couldn’t have asked for more out of these girls. We began the week trying to focus on our hydration as well as our speed play on course running and it played out pretty well.”
Junior Lady Hornets
Bryant’s Olivia Orr placed fourth in the Junior High Division with a season’s best time of 13:54.09 on the hilly, 2-mile hilly course. Maddie Gallagher (season best time of 14:43.62 placing 22nd), Ellie O’Gary (season best time of 14:50.38 placing 26th), Caleigh Martin (season best time of 15:17.53 placing 41st), and Madison Moore (15:33.73 placing 50th).
“Our middle school coaches [Coach Denise Smith at Bethel Middle and Coach Deanna Porter at Bryant Middle and our freshman cross country coach (Lisa Dreher) are doing an excellent job of pushing our kids to be the best they can, while giving them the tools they need to become life-long runners,” Dale mentioned. “If it wasn’t for these coaches, our programs wouldn’t be what they are. The possibilities are limitless for what this team can accomplish with hard work and determination.”
The team’s top runners at both levels will travel to Fayetteville on Saturday, Oct. 1, for the annual Chile Pepper Invitational at Agri Park.