Hornets edge North Little Rock to win first home meet

Photos courtesy of Julie Combs

In a 10-team meet at Bryant’s Bishop Park Aquatic Center, the hosting Hornets edged[more] the North Little Rock team by just half a point, 256.5 to 256. And Bryant did it despite a disqualification early in the medley relay, usually a strong event for the team.

Justin Combs qualified for State with his diving performance Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of Julie Combs)

Sophomore Minki Kang paced the Hornets’ effort again with a pair of first place finishes individually. He also anchored the 400 yard freestyle relay team, which took first place.

In addition, sophomore Justin Combs qualified for State with his second-place score of 111.40 in the 1-meter dive competition.

Pulaski Academy was a distant third in the competition with 151 points followed by Benton (130.5), El Dorado (126), Magnolia (118.5), Arkadelphia (103), Arkansas Baptist (81.5), Hot Springs Lakeside (21), Little Rock Christian (13) and Lonoke (8).

Kang teamed up with Casey Ball, Trace Rhode and Ray Weldon to win the 400 free relay in a time of 3:51.70. His individual wins came in the 100 butterfly, which he finished in 53.32, and the 100 breast stroke with a time of 1:02.57.

The Hornets picked up points from Jim Dellorto (5th, 1:11.54) and Rhode (9th, 1:14.71) in the 100 fly; and from Andrew Ball (9th, 1:20.78) and Weldon (10th, 1:23.39) in the 100 breast.

Nick Hoffpauir (Photo courtesy of Julie Combs)

Along with Combs, the Bryant contingent of Scott Mead, Matt Mead and Justin Savage finished in third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the diving competition. As a quartet, the group amassed 46 points for the Hornets.

Casey Ball turned in a second-place finish in the 200 free, clocking in at 2:12.76. Along with Dellorto (4th, 2::26.52), Spencer Qualls (6th, 2:30.60) and Ryan West (8th, 2:36.61), the Hornets accumulated 38 points in the event.

Justin Savage was one of four Hornets to score in the diving competition. (Photo courtesy of Julie Combs)

Nick Hoffpauir and Qualls finished 2-3 in the 500 free with West sixth. Hoffpauir turned in a 6:32.90. Qualls finished at 7:08.61 with West turning in a 7:19.72 as the trio added 34 points to the Bryant total.

Rhode and Casey Ball added fourth-place points. Ball’s came in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:06.86. Rhode’s came in the 200 individual medley as he joined Weldon and Hoffpauir in collecting 30 points for the cause. Rhode’s time was 2:31.02. Weldon turned in a 2:43.17 to place fifth and Hoffpauir was sixth in 2:49.15.

The Hornets picked up eighth place points in the 200 free relay. The team of Combs, Hoffpauir, West and Andrew Ball finished in 1:53.43, well of their seed time of 1:42.83.

Andrew Ball also turned in a 10th in the 50 free, tying Magnolia’s Logan Thompson with a time of 26.50. That’s where the Hornets picked up their half-a-point as the finish garnered 2.5 points, just enough to put them over the top.

The Hornets are set to compete in the sprint meet at UALR in their next outing on Tuesday, Dec. 4. They’ll host a full meet on Thursday, Dec. 6.

Trace Rhode (Photo courtesy of Julie Combs)

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