Bryant’s Raney leads Arkansas contingent at Classic against Oklahoma

ROGERS — Senior Hannah Raney has been a standout for the Bryant Lady Hornets cross country[more] team for four years, setting the pace time and again. But on Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Class 7A State meet at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, she was not well. Despite her sickness, however, she ran that day, trying to do what she could.

Though Raney was 21st overall, she was still her team’s second finisher. It wasn’t what she might’ve hoped but it was remarkable nonetheless.

On Saturday, Nov. 17, however, she got one last chance to finish her high school career on a high note at the 19th annual Arkansas/Oklahoma All-Star Classic at Rogers, which features 25 of the best runners from both states.

Raney was the best of the best from Arkansas.

Though Oklahoma won the team title with the top three finishers overall, Raney did her part, finishing fourth individually with a time of 19:22.58.

“I was really proud of Hannah today,” said Lady Hornets head coach Danny Westbrook. “She had a sub-par performance at the State meet last week and I think she wanted a little redemption today.

"She went out and ran very aggressively at the front of the race among some of the best runners in this part of the country," he noted. "With the caliber of competition in the race, to be the top Arkansas individual finisher is a huge accomplishment for her.”

Bryant junior Melinda Murdock, who earned all-State honors when she paced the Lady Hornets at the State meet with a sixth-place finish overall, wound up fourth among Arkansas runners at the Classic, turning in a time of 19:44.79. Her 19:26 at State was second only to Raney’s school record of 19:17.

Sophomore Caitlyn Bell got a taste of the Classic competition for the first time, turning in a 22:15 to place 44th.

And while the girls came up short on the team side with 99 points to Oklahoma’s 72, the Arkansas boys, including Bryant sophomore Connor Wilson, captured team honors with 79 points to Oklahoma’s 109. All nine scoring runners for Arkansas placed in the top 15.

Wilson earned a top 25 individual medal for finishing 22th with a time of 17:06.

Coach Westbrook and Steve Oury of Bryant are both vice-presidents of the Arkansas Track Coaches Association in charge of putting on the all star event. Oury coaches the boys’ all-star team and Westbrook heads up the girls.

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