By Rob Patrick
The Bryant Hornets cross country team returns all five runners who scored at the 2008 7A-Central Conference meet and four of the five that scored at the Class 7A State meet.
Luke Lindsley, a junior, paced the team in both of those outings. Jacob Clark, Colton Klaus, Logan Howard and Dillon Rhodes also return for their senior seasons.
“They give us a pretty solid nucleus,” acknowledged Hornets coach Steve Oury as the team prepared for the annual intrasquad meet on Thursday, Aug. 27, at Mills Park. “After those five, we’re looking for some younger kids to step up. We have a pretty solid group of 10th graders including Peter Alverio, Jesse Wolf, Brendan Guffey and Forrest Fowler. All those guys showed some talent in junior high. They’re all also involved in playing club soccer right now. So, as a coach, I’m always hopeful they can stay healthy doing both.”
The seniors also include Cody Hughes, Levi Lindsley and William Waddell. Along with Luke Lindsley, the juniors are Ben Ackley, Dylan Ball, Kevin Nalley, Hunter Overstreet, Zack Pultro, Timothy Randall, Fabian Ruthardt, Michael Smith and Troy Smith.
Nick Hughes, Jesse Marcrum, Christopher Oldfield, Tyler Potts, Brandon Powell and Josh Pultro are sophomores on the team.[more]
“We have a chance to be pretty good by the time the year’s over,” Oury said. “Last year, I think what hurt us was a lack of what you call a throroughbred. We didn’t have that presence up at the front. This year, we’re hoping to get some of our top runners up closer to the front.
“Luke Lindsley really had a good season in track and lowered his personal record time in the two-mile,” he noted. “So, I think that’s going to give him a lot of confidence. Jacob Clark didn’t run track. He played baseball but as soon as baseball season ended, he really worked hard. He’s right up there leading the way in workouts.
“As long as we have some people step up behind our first five, to help us out depthwise, I think we’ll have a shot at the end of the season to be right there at conference.”
Oury mentioned too that Ruthardt, an exchange student from Germany, has potential to help.
“As to whether or not he can make a push toward the top five or not, I don’t know yet,” Oury commented. “I just haven’t seen enough of him. But, from what I’ve seen so far, especially in an up-tempo workout. He hung in there very well.
“We also have some potential among some of our younger guys,” he continued. “There’s a ninth grader that’s on the freshman football team, Rodrigo Rodarte, who I think has a chance to really help us. This summer, in an up-tempo workout, he was right there hanging with some of our top senior high guys.”
Along with Rodarte, the freshman class includes Harley Burks, Josh Keyes, Damian Kropp, Dalton Lane, Michael Nash, Spencer Sullivan and James Tyhurst.
“We’ll just have to see how everybody progresses throughout the season,” Oury said. “Coaches always like to have those pleasant suprises who go above and beyond what you expect of them. So, I’m always looking for those and also hoping the guys that we’re counting on step up and do what they’re capable of.”
The middle school runners will also be in the mix at the intrasquad meet.
For Bethel, the eighth grade runners are Spencer Adami, James Allen, Dalton Davis, Nathan Holdman, Alex Hunt, Chance Levinson, Austin Middleton, Bryan Oldham, Garrett Rich, Zac Ward and Brit Warner.
The Bryant eighth grade squad includes Nick Ballew, Tommy Evans, Shawn Maynard, R.J. Murphy, Spencer Qualls, Marc Reed, Seth Sanders, Isaiah Stefan, Cody Stone, Roy Smith, Bryce Jolanson Webb and William Wyatt.
Bethel’s seventh grade group includes Josh Costley, Daniel Covey, Christian Eason, Christopher Eason, Quinton Graves, Micah Holdman, Nic Townsend and Harley Westfall.
For Bryant, the seventh graders are Dillon Browder, Justin Combs, Jim Dellorto, Bryan Flores, Chris Godwin, Tyler Green, Tyler Latiolais, Josh Perez, Hunter Rusher, Antonyo Sanchez, Josh Sanders, Nicholas Schmidt, Derek Smith, Michael Vasquez, Druid Wen, Kaleb Wheeler, Thor Wilson, and Zachary Yarberry.
“Thursday, I’d like to see them go out and be aggressive and compete,” Oury said. “I want to get a real indication what fitness level we’re at right now. I want them to go out and treat it like any other race. On Thursday, I’d rather them make the mistake of going out too fast as opposed to being conservative and going too slow because it’s a two-mile race which is a shorter race distance (for the high school runners). I want them to go ahead and push themselves. If they flame out, at least I know where they’re at.
“You also want them to have fun. It’s kind of a fun thing for them to compete against each other. Hopefully, we’ll go in ready to run hard and we’ll come out of it feeling good about ourselves.”
The team will be split into three groups, a blue team, a white team and black team. The winning team will get Sonic gift coupons.
The Hornets’ first official competition will be at the Bryant Invitational on Tuesday, Sept. 15, at Mills Park.