CABOT — Placing six runners in the top 14 at a cross country meet will more often than not earn a[more] team a blue ribbon. But, at the 7A-Central Conference championship meet at Rolling Hills Country Club on Monday, the Bryant Lady Hornets did just that and were denied a third straight league title. That’s because the host Cabot Lady Panthers swept the top three places and had all five scoring runners among the top 10.
Cabot thus won the championship with a miniscule score of 21 points. Bryant was a strong second with 44 followed by Mount St. Mary (61), North Little Rock (120) and Conway (128).
“Going into the meet we knew Cabot would be extremely hard to beat,” acknowledged Lady Hornets coach Danny Westbrook. “We tried to go out and break up their leaders and it just didn’t happen.
“We came into the meet as the two-time defending champion and our goal was to make Cabot earn the championship, and I think we accomplished that,” he added. “I would say that Cabot will be a strong contender at the State meet in two weeks. “
Bryant will be there too. The State meet will be held Saturday, Nov. 5, at Harrison.
As has been the case all season, junior Hannah Raney paced Bryant. Her time of 19:55 put her on the heels of the Cabot trio out front. She was fourth and senior teammate Stacy Emmerling was eighth with a time of 20:30. Melinda Murdock finished right behind Emmerling, taking ninth in a time of 20:40.
All three earned all-Conference honors for finishing in the top 10.
“I am really proud of Hannah Raney, Stacy Emmerling, and Melinda Murdock,” Westbrook stated. “They ran up front and gave valiant efforts to hang with Cabot’s frontrunners.”
Marley Adams narrowly missed earning that status as she finished 11th with a time of 21:29. Kat Bolton was right behind in 12th (21:35) to finish out Bryant’s scoring quintet. Caitlyn Bell (14th, 21:40) and Ashlyn Lessenberry (19th, 21:55) finished out the Lady Hornets’ top seven.