CONWAY — Behind another spectacular performance by junior Alexis Royal (with sophomore Leah Ward[more] right behind), the Bryant Lady Hornets captured their fourth straight team title at the Wampus Cat Relays on Thursday.
Royal was the high point performer for the fourth time as well, accounting for 45 of Bryant’s 142 points. The Lady Hornets’ closest competition was the host Conway team with 100 points. Cabot was third with 96. In all, 14 teams competed at the meet.
Bryant head coach Danny Westbrook was unequivocal when he said recently, “I have been coaching track and field for 32 years and I have never had an athlete that is so versatile and that has had such outstanding performances as Alexis has had at this point in the season.”
Royal won the long jump (17’ 0”), the triple jump (37’ 0”), the 100 meter hurdles (15.80) and the 300 meter hurdles (46.51). She also contributed a leg to Bryant’s two first-place relay teams. In the 4×100, she was joined by Sarah Evans, Ward, and Gabrelle Allen to forge a winning time of 50.19. In the 4×400, she teamed up with Randie Owens, Ward and Melinda Murdock on a 4:12.64.
Ward was second to Royal in the long jump (16’0.5”) and third in the triple jump (33’8”). She also placed fourth in the 100 meter dash (13.25) and eighth in the 200 (27.69).
The Lady Hornets also picked up first-place points from Lauren Magneson in the high jump (5’0”).
Murdock finished third in both hurdles races. In the 100, she finished in 16.56. In the 300, she ran a 47.58. She was also sixth in the 200 (27.50).
Stacy Emmerling and Hannah Raney both scored in the 1600 and 3200. In the former, Emmerling finished second in 5:43.38 with Raney fifth in 5:55.99. In the latter, Raney was third in 12:29.67 with Emmerling sixth in 13:06.03.
They also teamed with Sam Macchi and Anna Smedley to run a 10:36.23 in the 4×800 relay, good for third.
Owens was fourth in the pole vault (6’6”) and seventh in the 400 (1:07.66).
Allen and Macchi each had eighth-place finishes to add to the team total. Allen ran a 13.73 in the 100 meter dash and Macchi clocked in at 2:39.30 in the 800.
“This was an outstanding team effort tonight," Westbrook said. "Alexis Royal continues to lead with her high-point performances, but being the outstanding leader that she is, she would be the first to tell you she cannot win meets by herself. We have so many girls in various events with outstanding performances. Leah Ward, Melinda Murdock, Hannah Raney, Stacy Emmerling, and Lauren Magneson are just a few of our athletes making a huge difference.”
The Lady Hornets’ next challenge will be the 7A-Central Conference meet at Scott Field in Little Rock on April 26. Their depth will be tested because in the conference meet each team can enter up to four athletes in each event.
“Even though we have been winning the invitational meets by big margins, the conference meet will be close," Westbrook added. "You can enter four athletes in each event and Cabot, Conway, and North Little Rock have a lot of quality depth.”