Photos courtesy of Julie Shelby
ARKADELPHIA — Despite brutal heat and humidity, the Bryant Hornets opened the 2015 season with a hard-earned victory Saturday at the Bob Gravette Invitational at Ouachita Baptist University. Senior Charlie Terry led the way with a third-place finish overall in a time of 17:49 with teammate John Carder on his heels, taking fourth in 17:58.
The Hornets scored a total of 58 points to take the title. Lake Hamilton was second with 80, followed by Catholic (83), Little Rock Christian (92), Magnolia (145), Vilonia (155), Sheridan (195), Russellville (216), Jessieville (239), Benton (248), Parkview (304), Bismark (346), Ouachita (391), and Pulaski Academy (410).
Derek Vos (13th in 18:41), Cole Watson (20th in 18:53), Peyton Reber (24th in 19:08), Eathan Devine (33rd in 19:40), and Decatur Austin (34th in 19:42) rounded out the Bryant top seven.
“With the heat being so severe, I’m very thankful that we made it through all of the races today with no major heat problems for any of our athletes,” said Hornets coach Steve Oury. “The boys did a great job of executing the race plan, which was to hang back and run an even pace. We thought that would give us the best chance not only to stay safe in the heat, but also to win.
“It’s a given that times are going to be slow in these conditions so, to me, the times are irrelevant,” he mentioned. “The most important thing was to stay safe and compete to the best of our abilities given the conditions, and we did that.”
The Bryant Junior Hornets braved the heat as well as they opened their season with a runner-up finish scoring 86 points. Chris Barrientos paced Bryant’s contingent, finishing second overall with a time of 11:27. Luis Lara also earned a top 10 finish with a time of 12:18.
Lake Hamilton won the team title with 78 points. Finishing behind the Junior Hornets were Catholic (91), Ouachita (95), Hot Springs Lakeside (125), Russellville (157), Magnet Cove (166), Vilonia (169), Little Rock Christian (188), and Gurdon (295).
Finishing out Bryant’s top seven were Chris Morgan (19th in 13:14), Ben Sellers (29th in 13:34), Lance Andrews (31st in 13:37), Kakada Av (34th in 13:52), and Christian Brack (39th in 14:01).
“Just as with the senior boys race, surviving the heat was the number one concern,” stated Oury. “We did a good job and just came up a little short in the team race, but I was certainly pleased with the effort.
“Coach Deanna Porter at Bryant Middle School and Coach Denise Smith at Bethel Middle School are doing great jobs with their athletes as is Coach Debbie Clark with our freshmen,” he noted.
“Chris Barrientos is a very good runner and had a chance to win at the end, but hats off to the runner from Vilonia,” the coach said. “Both boys ran great races. I’m looking forward to seeing how Chris develops as the season progresses. He has a good chance of moving up to the senior high team.”
Bryant runs next this Saturday in Little Rock as part of the Minuteman Invitational at Western Hills Park.