Lady Hornets finish second despite injury to Royal

LITTLE ROCK — When you lose a member of your team to injury that has been the high-point performer in[more] every meet she’s competed in this season, it’s a difficult situation. And, though the Bryant Lady Hornets were unable to capture their third straight 7A-Central Conference track and field championship on Thursday at Scott Field, they still, phenomenally enough, finished as the runner-up.

The Cabot Lady Panthers won the title with 158 points to Bryant’s 131.5. North Little Rock was third at 101 followed by LR Central (86), Conway (78), Mount St. Mary (43), West Memphis (32) and Hall (28).

Junior Alexis Royal, who has been scoring 40 points or more at the regular-season meets for the Lady Hornets, still accounted for 18 despite suffering a hamstring injury that prematurely ended her day during her second attempt at the triple jump. She had already won the long jump with a leap covering 16’10”. And, even with just one healthy attempt at the triple jump, she took second at 34’8”.

Sophomore Leah Ward wound up leading the Lady Hornets with 30 points. She won the triple jump title with a leap of 35’1” and finished second in the long jump (15’8”). She also took fourth in the 200-meter dash (27.8) and fifth in the 100-meter dash (13.1).

Sophomore Melinda Murdock scored 26 points. She tied for first in the 100-meter hurdles (16.6) and took second in the 800-meter run (2:25.4). She also added a third place finish in the long jump (15’6”).

Distance runner Hannah Raney added 18 points with her second place finishes in the 1600-meter run (5:30.7) and the 3200-meter run (12:01).

“When Alexis got hurt in the triple jump it really made things difficult for us,” acknowledged Lady Hornets coach Danny Westbrook. “In the prelims, she had already qualified with the best time in the 100-meter dash, 100-meter hurdles, and the 300-meter hurdles. With her out of the competition in those events, I knew we were in trouble.

“I’m really proud of the team for not just throwing in the towel,” he added. “They kept battling and we had a lot of people really step-up. Leah Ward and Melinda Murdock had some great performances. Hannah Raney ran her best time in the mile and I thought Gabby Allen had an awesome day.”

Allen was fourth in the 100 at 13.1 and fifth in the 200 at 27.8.

In other scoring for the Lady Hornets:

400-meter dash – Randie Owens – 7th – 67.6; Lauren Stiles – 8th – 67.6

800-meter run – Sam Macchi – 7th – 2:36

1600-meter run – Stacy Emmerling – 8th – 6:01

3200-meter run – Marley Adams – 6th – 13:47

Long Jump – Makayla Muhammad – 6th – 15’1”

Discus – Myra Thompson – 7th – 80’1”

High Jump – Lauren Magneson – 8th – 4’8”

Pole Vault – Randie Owens – 5th – 7’0”; Sky Young – 7th – 6’6”; Anna Smedly – 8th – 6’0”

400-meter relay – Sarah Evans, Ward, Allen, Murdock – 3rd – 51.1

1600-meter relay – Owens, Ward, Emmerling, Murdock – 4th – 4:24.7

200-meter relay – Emmerling, Macchi, Raney, Smedley – 3rd – 10:23

The top six places in each event qualify for the state meet next Thursday at Rogers.

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