Hampered by ailments, Hornets still finish fourth at Lake Hamilton meet

HOT SPRINGS — On a cool, soggy Oaklawn Park infield course, the Bryant Hornets placed fourth out of 20 teams in the Lake Hamilton Cross Country Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 10. The Hornets scored 147 points to finish behind team champion Conway (56 point), LR Catholic (78), and Russellville (81).

Lake Hamilton placed fifth with the identical 147-point total as Bryant, but Bryant's sixth runner, Kevin Nalley, finished just ahead of Lake Hamilton's sixth runner to break the tie.

Luke Lindsley led the Hornets with an eighth-place finish in a time of 17:14, followed by Jacob Clark (20th in 18:08), Jesse Wolf (35th in 18:42), Logan Howard (45th in 19:02), and Michael Smith (46th in 19:05). Nalley earned a 51st place finish in a time of 19:15, with Nick Hughes (56th in 19:23) rounding out the Hornets' top seven.[more]

"We have to be happy to pull off fourth place in this meet,” said Hornets coach Steve Oury. “Our usual third runner, Dillon Rhodes, is recovering from a respiratory infection and is not at full strength, and Logan Howard is also not feeling great. We just have to hope everyone can recover in time for next week's race at the Chile Pepper Invitational in Fayetteville.

“Luke Lindsley did a nice job for us and Jacob Clark had a better race this week,” he continued. “Jesse Wolf did a very nice job stepping up in the third spot for us. I think he is just going to keep improving."

In the junior boys division, Bryant had it's top five runners all earn medals for placing in the top 30, but it wasn't enough to hold off the Cabot Junior Panthers. Cabot earned the team title with a total of 64 points, followed by Bryant (84), Russellville (104), Lake Hamilton (109), and LR Catholic (142). Nineteen total teams and 226 runners completed the 2.09-mile race.

Rodrigo Rodarte was again the top Junior Hornet, earning a fifth place finish in a time of 12:11. Bryan Riley (11th in 12:37), Damian Kropp (13th in 12:41), Josh Keyes (25th in 13:02), Nick Ballew (30th in 13:10), Tyler Purtle (34th in 13:14), and Michael Nash (44th in 13:35) completed the Junior Hornet top seven.

"We may have run a better race today up front than last week, but Cabot just beat us,” Oury commented. “They have had their top two runners finish in the top three in each meet this year, so we knew if their fourth and fifth runners improved they would be hard to beat.

“Rodrigo Rodarte had his best race of the season today, as did Damian Kropp,” he noted. “Bryan Riley is starting to be very dependable for us in the second spot, and I thought Josh Keyes and Nick Ballew also ran well. I was very impressed with Tyler Purtle. He's an eighth grader who is just getting better each week."

The top Hornet and Junior Hornet runners will be in action next week at the Chile Pepper Invitational at the Agri Park Course at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

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