Hornets take top honors at Harding cross country meet

Photos courtesy of Cynthia Austin

SEARCY — With Bresner Austin, Chris Herrera and Brady Bingaman all finishing in the top 20, the Bryant Hornets won the 19-team Gold Division of the Harding Bison Cross Country Invitational on Saturday.

The Bryant Junior High boys places second among 21 teams in their division with Brandon Avila and Payton Brack finishing second and third behind only Conway’s Max Henry.

The Hornets finished with 75 points. Conway was second in the Gold Division with 91 points followed by Jonesboro (106), Little Rock Catholic (130) and Little Rock Episcopal (151).

Austin was eighth overall with a time of 16:46.3. Riley Simpson of West Plains, Mo., took individual honors with a 15:23.8.

Herrera finished 15th in 17:20.1 with Bingaman placing 19th in 17:31.7. Jaxon Holt was Bryant’s fourth runner, finishing 29th in 17:57.7. The scoring quintet was rounded out by Ammon Henderson, who was 32nd in a time of 17:59.3. Mason Lewis was right behind him at 18:00, taking 33rd. Drew MacIntire’s 18:30.2 was 46thto complete the Hornets’ top seven.

“We had a very solid day,” said Hornets coach Steve Oury. “Several runners had personal records.The weather was great, and it was an excellent course that we had never run before. 

“I’m proud of how we competed,” he asserted. “Getting the victory is just gravy. I know some of the other teams were not at full strength, but in cross country a victory can never be taken for granted and should always be appreciated. I was hoping to see some athletes take advantage of the conditions and make some breakthroughs, and that’s what we had happen.” 

“Bresner Austin led the way for us and looked like his normal self after last week’s struggles,” he noted. “Chris Herrera ran with confidence and looked strong. Brady Bingaman ran a huge personal record, with Jaxon Holt and Mason Lewis also getting new personal records.” 

The Bryant Junior High team had 88 points. Vilonia won the team title with 42. Greenbrier was third with 133 followed by Conway (147) and Heber Springs (219).

Avila ran a 10:58.0 and Brack finished in 11:00.2. The Junior Hornets’ top five also included Jack Landrum (30th, 12:29.0), Angel Vargas (32nd, 12:32.9) and Dylan Middleton (35th, 12:41.1). Quinn Johnson finished 61st in 13:14.4 and Grant Morehead was 62nd in 13:14.4.

“Our junior boys did a great job, with Brandon Avila and Payton Brack placing second and third,” Oury said. “Coach Sontreka Johnson and Coach Nicole Bradbury are doing a great job with that group of boys.” 

The teams are tentatively scheduled to run in Russellville next Saturday.

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