October 26 in Bryant athletic history: 2009

The 2009 7A-Central Conference champion Bryant Lady Hornets. (Photo by Noel Clark)

Lady Hornets capture first conference championship since 2006

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).

CABOT — The Bryant Lady Hornets turned in a dominating performance to take home the 7A-Central Conference title at the league’s cross country championships held at the Rolling Hills Golf Course Monday.

The Lady Hornets placed all five of their scoring runners in the top 11 places to claim the crown with 42 points. Van Buren was runner-up with 71 points followed by Conway (74), Mount St. Mary (111), Russellville (126), Cabot (142), and North Little Rock (158).

As they have all season, the Lady Hornets used their “pack attack” strategy to perfection, establishing a lead pack right from the start and pretty well staying in control of the team race the entire way.[more]

Bryant's Jessica Shepard, right, passes a Van Buren running during Monday's meet. (Photo courtesy of Noel Clark)

Freshman Hannah Raney led the way for Bryant by finishing in sixth place with a time of 20:17. Following her were Stacy Emmerling in seventh place (21:04) and Lauren Rogers in eighth (21:05). Sammy Cyz also took one of the top 10 medals with 10th place in 21:18.

Rounding out the scoring five was Kaitlyn Nickels who finished 11th in 21:20. Ashlyn Lessenberry (14th, 22:01), Skylar Oswalt (15th, 22:09), and Jessica Shepard (18th, 22:36) gave the Lady Hornets eight runners in the top 20 places. Along with their top 10 finishes, Raney, Emmerling, Rogers, and Cyz were named 2009 All-Conference performers.

“That was just a total team effort out there today,” declared Lady Hornets head coach Danny Westbrook. “Everybody did their part and it paid off with a conference championship.

“Our strategy was to go to the front and try to gain control of the race early and then just hang on,” he related. “Fortunately, once we established our presence up front, none of the other teams showed any threat.

“We have not won the conference championship in cross country since 2006 and I think the girls sensed I really wanted this one,” Westbrook said. “I am so proud of them. They ran with a lot of heart and purpose today and just refused to lose.”

Other finishers for Bryant were: Stacie Waite (24th, 22:49), Kaytlyn Stracener (29th, 23:16), Jordan Chadwick (37th, 23:42), Sarah Brooks (38th, 23:43), Courtney Hodge (39th, 23:45), Katrina Ragsdale (43rd, 24:09), Grace Finley (50th, 24:37), Sydney Hall (54th, 24:51), Morgan Humbard (58th, 25:05), Kari Henderson (61st, 25:16), Morgan Seelinger (64th, 25:28), Jahaira Juarez (66th, 25:42), Maria Christman (75th, 26:57), Natalie Graham (76th, 27:04), Bailee Seelinger (78th, 27:29), Bailey Freyaldenhoven (81st, 28:22), Charlie Hunnicutt (82nd, 28:22), Stephanie Friemel (83rd, 28:25), Manuela Debacker (85th, 28:32) Summer Nichols (86th, 28:37), and Bethney Smith (89th, 29:08).

The Hornets and Lady Hornets will travel to Mountain Home on Nov. 7 for the Class 7A State championship.

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