January 15 in Bryant athletic history: 2006

McCorkel sets new National mark in first outing

EDITOR’S NOTE: Because the look back at each day in Bryant athletic history has been so favorably received during the time when there was no sports during the COVID-19 shutdown, BryantDaily.com will continueposting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on BryantDaily.com (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).

FAYETTEVILLE — Spencer McCorkel opened up the 2006 indoor track season with a bang Saturday in Fayetteville. The Bryant Hornet junior set a new national junior class record in the indoor pole vault with a height of 17′ 3.5″ to take first place by almost two feet. McCorkel cleared the record height on his last attempt and then had three near misses at 17′ 7″, which would have established a new national high school indoor record. McCorkel is now ranked fifth all time nationally for the indoor pole vault and owns the best two jumps in Arkansas high school history. 

Three other Hornets got an early start on their seasons Saturday with good results. Ethan Blakley finished 13th out of 80 competitors in the mile run with a time of 4:41.63. Blakley also ran the 3000 meter run and placed 10th out of 47 in a time of 9:29.47. The vast majority of athletes were from out of state. Only one Arkansas runner finished ahead of Blakley in the mile and none did in the 3000. 

Sophomore Ben Higgs place 33rd in the mile with a new personal record time of 5:03.74. Also, Zack Orrick finished in a seven-way tie for 5th place in the high jump with a clearance of 5′ 8″. 

“I’m obviously very proud of all the guys who competed,” said Bryant coach Steve Oury. “Spencer’s performance was incredible but not unexpected. He has been looking great in practice so there was a lot of anticipation for this first meet. We felt like both the junior class record and the overall record were possible. He is a hard worker and a fierce competitor. A lot of credit needs to go to Coach Morry Sanders of the Arkansas Vault Club. He has been a great help for Spencer.

“Ethan, Ben and Zack all did a great job,” he added. “Ethan and Ben both looked great for their first meet. We are not doing any real speed work so it was very encouraging to see them run the times that they did. Zack was hoping to clear six feet, but after clearing 5′ 8″, the officials decided to move the bar up six inches to 6′ 2″, which was ridiculous. Zack had a great chance to clear 5’10” and possibly 6′ 0″, so it was frustrating that they would move the bar up that much. I’ve never seen that happen before.” 

The Hornets and Lady Hornets will next be in action at the Arkansas Track Coaches Association Indoor Meet in Fayetteville on Saturday, Feb. 4.

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