Bryant thinclads shine at first indoor meet
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FAYETTEVILLE — The Bryant Lady Hornets’ defending state champion two-mile relay team of Melanie Steele, Gina Messina, Mandy Medlin and Candice James dominated in winning the event at the season-opening Arkansas Track Coaches Indoor Invitational meet at the University of Arkansas Tyson Track Complex Saturday, Feb. 3.
The Lady Hornets, in the first event of the meet, paced the field by a whopping 27 seconds, finishing in 10:18.4.
The Lady Hornets’ foursome of Courtney Stone, Austyn Wingard, Medlin and Messina also won the final event of the meet, running a 4:23.9 to win the mile relay, stunning the runner-up Russellville team by eight seconds.
“It was an exciting finish to a very successful first meet for us,” said Lady Hornets coach Dan Westbrook. “This was a good early season test for us and it seems, as a team, we are right on track with our training. I really was anticipating our two-mile relay team to do well, but our mile relay performance was a real surprise. The mile relay is really a sprinter’s event and that team was made up of two sprinters and two distance runners. Our sprinters, Courtney and Austyn, got us a good lead and Mandy and Gina did a great job hanging on for the win.”
In individual events, Wingard finished a close second in the 55 meter hurdles with a time of 8.93, and James managed a second-place finish in the 800 meter run with a time of 2:34.6.
In addition, Stone ran fourth in the 400 with a time of 1:06.6; Steele was fourth in the 800 meter run, finishing in 2:38.2; and Sarah Butler ran fourth in the 3200 at 13:59.4.
Aleshia Joyce recorded a 6:25.1 for the Lady Hornets in the 1600 meter run and Denise Whitworth ran a 14:52.3 in the 3200.
“I think Austyn probably would have won the hurdles if she hadn’t stumbled coming out of the blocks,” Westbrook mentioned. “It really cost her at the finish.”
A trio of Hornets also made the trip. Graham Linder finished fifth in the 1600, David Stafford was fifth and Nick Taylor sixth in the 3200.
“Graham ran a very respectable early season time of 4:36.9,” Westbrook noted.
Stafford was clocked at 10:33.1 and Taylor at 10:43.2 in the 3200.
Both the Hornets and Lady Hornets will compete at the ATCA Classic on Saturday, Feb. 17. The Class AAAAA Indoor State Meet will be held on March 2.