Photo courtesy of Cynthia Austin
NORTH LITTLE ROCK — With an influx of help from the freshman team, the Bryant Lady Hornets piled up 161.5 points to finish second only to Conway (181.5) at the 7A-Central Conference track and field championship meet on Thursday.
“Throughout the week, I go through and try to project how we’re going to finish,” noted Lady Hornets coach Keith Dale. “I had us projected at about 110 points, but we came through with a 161.5. At many places, we did far better than what we expected.
“For example, we had Yonni Allen in the triple jump,” he said. “She jumped three feet farther than her P.R. I calculated only getting about two places in the triple and ended up getting all four.
“We had a few of those events where the girls just stepped up and did exceptionally well and that helped all over,” the coach asserted.
Kayla Scott, who had already qualified for State in both hurdles races, won the 100 hurdles with a time of 15.19 with teammate Deborah Shaw right behind her in 15.73 to beat out rival Taylor Conway of Conway (15.75). Bryant’s Allison Morse was sixth in 17.99.
Still nursing a slight leg injury, Scott didn’t run the 300 and Conway won it. But Malori Pendergrass was third in 52.28 and Morse was eighth in 55.15.
The top six finishers qualified for the Class 7A State meet, which will be held at Bryant Stadium on Thursday, May 3.
The Lady Hornets’ 4×400-meter relay team turned in the only other first-place finish with freshman Ella Reynolds joining Zhania Hall, Megan Lee and Amanda Burt on a 4:06.19. North Little Rock was second in 4:08.17.
Reynolds also stepped in to finish second in the 200 with a time of 26.37, just behind North Little Rock’s Kamaria Russell (25.34).
Shaw continued to contribute points in several events. Along with her second in the 100 hurdles, she was second in the high jump at 4’8”; fourth in the long jump at 16’3.25”; and fourth in the triple jump at 35’3”.
“We’ll put Deborah just about anywhere,” said Dale. “Especially in the field events. She can do real well.”
Freshman Amya Smith scored along with Shaw in the long jump, finishing fifth at 16’1”. In the high jump, Skylar Risk was eighth, clearing 4’8” and, in the triple jump, Allen was fifth at 34’5.75” with Lee sixth at 33’11.75” and Kaylin Watts seventh at 33’1”.
In the throwing events, Taylor McKinney and Kaycee White qualified for State. McKinney was second in both the shot (33’6.25”) and the discus (103’10”) finishing only behind Conway’s Z. Smith (36’1” and 106’2”). White was fourth in the shot at 34’10.5” and sixth in the discus with a fling of 88’0”. Imanii Jones added seventh-place points in the disc at 85’9.5”.
The team of Lee, Libby Majors, freshman Sydney Dettmer and Zhania Hall turned in a 10:20.63 clocking to finish second in the 4×800. Conway won in 10:09.20.
Lee was third and Reynolds fourth in the 400. Lee ran a 1:01.52 and Reynolds finished in 1:01.93. Hall was third in the 800 in 2:29.82 with Dettmer fifth in 2:33.32. Libby Majors was eighth in 2:38.15.
In the 100, Smith ran a 12.73 to finish fourth and Reynolds took sixth in 12.85.
“Those are two of our good sprinters that were in the ninth-grade group,” Dale noted. “I couldn’t be any more pleased with them. Ella ended up qualifying for State in all four of the events that she was in. The same thing with Amya. Sydney Dettmer and Caroline Pelton helped us too.”
Pelton was seventh in the 1600 in a time of 6:02.65 with Bailey Brazil eighth in 6:03.21 for the Lady Hornets. In the 3200, Brazil finished seventh in 13:36.93 with Pelton eighth in 13:52.84.
In the 4×100, a trio of freshmen joined Allen. Jaiyah Jackson, Madelyn Thomas and Smith helped on a 52.16, which was good for sixth.
Kristin Garner was third in the pole vault, clearing 9’0”. Thomas, who had never competed in the event before, was fourth, clearing 7’6”
“Maddie was one of my hurdlers,” explained Dale. “She found out last Friday that she was going to pole vault. Never pole vaulted a day before in her life. We worked on her a little bit on Monday and Tuesday then came back on jumped on Thursday and placed fourth overall. I said, ‘You’re just an instant pole-vaulter. There you go.’”