FAYETTEVILLE — The Bryant Hornets ran in the prestigious Chile Pepper Invitational Saturday against some[more] of the best cross country teams in the nation, placing 43rd out of 59 teams.
Bryant was the 14th Arkansas team to finish. Tyler Purtle was the top Hornet finisher, placing 178th in a new personal record time of 17:35. Clifton Hampton (251st in 18:11), Alex Hunt (298th in 18:37), Peter Alverio (311th in 18:44), Damian Kropp (332nd in 19:01), Nick Ballew (333rd in 19:02), Spencer Adami (337th in 19:06), and Austin Middleton (379th in 19:41) completed the Hornets lineup.
Southlake Carroll of Texas, the third-ranked team in the nation, won the meet with a score of 22 points. There were a total of 475 runners in the race.
"We ran a decent race all things considered,” said Hornets coach Steve Oury. “It was so unbelievably crowded for runners in the 17 to 19 minute range that I really think we would have been better served running in the open division instead of the invitational division. Some of our guys could have run faster but they just didn't have room to run. We knew we were going to take our lumps this year with our youth, but I think this race will help us as we prepare for the conference meet."
The Hornets will run next in the 7A-Central Conference championship meet in Cabot on Oct. 24.
The Bryant Junior Hornets’ undefeated season came to an end Saturday at the Chile Pepper Invitational as they earned a fourth place finish out of 41 teams.
A total of 528 runners completed the race. Springdale Central won the race with a total of 128 points, followed by Tupelo, Miss. (131), Rogers (157), Bryant (168), and Hoover, Ala. (192).
The Junior Hornets were paced by Charlie Terry, who placed 19th in a time of 18:11. Connor Wilson (20th in 18:17), Nicholas Schmidt (41st in 18:53), Ben Majors (47th in 18:59), Dru Wen (59th in 19:09), Mark Winn (79th in 19:24), Antonyo Sanchez (106th in 20:07), Stephen Cockmon (114th in 20:17), and Jim Dellorto (170th in 21:06) rounded out the Junior Hornets who competed.
"We did a great job moving up in distance to the 5k,” noted Oury. “Charlie and Connor did a good job working together and Nicholas Schmidt really stepped up.
“While we would have loved to have won the meet, finishing in the top five at Chile Pepper is always a great result, so we're happy,” he added. “Now we have to prepare for our last meet of the year in Cabot. We will assess the situation in the next few days and decide whether or not to move any ninth graders up to the senior high team for the conference meet, but otherwise our focus will be on winning the year-end junior high meet in Cabot."