Junior Hornets finish a strong second at Chile Pepper

FAYETTEVILLE — With a 41-team field and 637 runners competing and competing in a 5k race for the first time this season, the chance that the Bryant Junior Hornets cross country team would keep their unbeaten season intact Saturday at the Chile Pepper Festival, seemed unlikely.

But the Junior Hornets nearly pulled it off.

Bryant finished second overall, 12 points behind Springdale Central, which finished with 85 points.

“It would’ve been the their biggest win in several years,” stated Bryant coach Steve Oury. “We ran an outstanding race. I thought we handled the longer distance very well.

“Hats off to Springdale Central,” he added. “They are very good. They were just a little better than us today. But anytime you bring home some hardware from Chile Pepper, it is a reason to celebrate. We are going to build on this and try to win the rest of our meets this season.”

Jhorman Cruz led the Junior Hornets with a ninth-place finish in a time of 17:56, with Dawson Oakley just behind, placing 10th in 17:57. Decatur Austin (16th in 18:20), Colby Harvey (23rd in 18:27), Ricky Barrientos (39th in 18:49), Michael Higgs (68th in 19:21), Edgar Tejada (70th in 19:23), Henry Terry (81st in 19:31), and Erik Gonzalez (95th in 19:45) rounded out the Junior Hornet squad.

The team will be competing in the annual Bryant Invitational next Saturday morning.

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