Photos courtesy of Julie Shelby and Jason Majors
CABOT — The Bryant Lady Hornets brought home a conference championship from the 7A-East/Central championship cross country meet held at Rolling Hills Country Club in Cabot on Monday. Bryant scored 47 points to take the title by only three points over runner-up Cabot, who scored 50 points. Mount St. Mary was third with 70 points, followed by Conway (74) and Van Buren (96). North Little Rock and LR Central competed with individual runners, but did not field full teams.
The Lady Hornets put three runners in the top 10 places, led by junior Hannah Shelby with her fourth-place finish in a time of 20:14. Seniors Caitlyn Bell (5th, 20:42) and Talyn Billins (8th, 21:23) also earned All-Conference honors with their top 10 finishes.
Senior Lauren Ackley (14th, 21:54) and sophomore Rachel Curtis (16th, 22:23) finished out the scoring five for Bryant.
Rounding out Bryant’s top nine that qualified for the State meet were senior twins Alyssa Cordova (26th, 23:17) and Alanna Cordova (27th, 23:17), freshman Lauren Hart (28th, 23:25), and sophomore Madelyn Elswick (34th, 24:16).
“I am so proud of these young ladies,” stated Bryant coach Danny Westbrook. “This was a very hard-fought victory. It took a total team effort to bring home this championship. We knew Cabot was going to be extremely tough and I told them before the meet that any places gained or lost in the last stretch of the race might make the difference. We brought our A-game today and took care of business when we had to.
“Hannah Shelby did a fantastic job closing on the leaders at the end and ran a great time on a very difficult course,” he continued. “I was proud of Caitlyn and Talyn for their outstanding efforts under the extremely hot conditions. Lauren Ackley and Rachel Curtis did an awesome job of working together during the race and sealed the victory for us.
“It was a fun afternoon for our cross country program as Coach (Steve) Oury’s boys also took the championship to make it a Bryant sweep,” the coach added. “I appreciate the help from assistant coach Debbie Clark and the support of all the parents.”
Next up for the Bryant teams will be the 7A State Championship to be held at Oaklawn Park on Nov. 8.