Photos courtesy of Julie Shelby
The Bryant Lady Hornets out-dueled the rival Cabot Lady Panthers including a head-to-head battle in the final event, the 4×400 relay, to capture the team title at the annual Hornet Relays at Bryant Stadium Thursday. Bryant finished with 131 points to Cabot’s 103. Lake Hamilton was a distant third with 86 followed by Conway (72) and Sheridan (41) in the 19-team field.
The team of Rachael Owens, Jadyn Lewis, Talyn Billins and Haley Hood combined on a 4:15.36 clocking to edge Cabot (4:19.81), putting the finishing touches on the victory, which was already in hand.
Lewis and Hood accounted for the only individual first-place finishes for Bryant. For Lewis, it came in the 200-meter dash, with a time of 27.06. Hood won the high jump at 5’2″
The Lady Hornets also won the 4×100 relay with Hood, Lewis, Owens and Feniece Boone running a 50.76 to edge Conway’s quartet (51.57). The Bryant foursome was just 0.05 off State qualifying time.
Bryant performers were second in five events.
“In central Arkansas, Cabot has become somewhat of our nemesis in track and field,” acknowledged Lady Hornets coach Danny Westbrook. “We usually battle each other every meet for team titles and for the conference crown at the conference meet. They have a very good team this year. They were State runners-up at this year’s indoor meet.
“I was extremely proud of our girls,” he related. “We talked all week about defending our home turf and they did that with a total team effort.
“There were so many heroes tonight,” the coach stated. “People who just went above and beyond for the sake of the team. We had several people that did multiple events and might have sacrificed individual victories for the sake of team. It’s great that those sacrifices paid off.”
Hood not only gave a State qualifying effort in the high jump (4’8”) but also the 300-meter hurdles (47.31, second). It was the first time she had competed in the 300 hurdles.
In addition, Boone qualified in the 400. She was second in 59.10, edged out by Cabot’s Lexi Weeks (58.27).
“Coach Keith Dale, our sprint coach, is doing an outstanding job,” Westbrook mentioned. “He is molding our sprinters and hurdlers into state contenders in every event.”
Along with Boone’s second in the 400 and Hood’s second in the hurdlers, the Lady Hornets picked up second-place efforts from Lewis in the 100 with a time of 12.90; Jayla Anderson in the 100 hurdles (17.00); and the 4×800 relay team. Caitlyn Bell, Hannah Shelby, Sydney Wilson and Talyn Billins combined on a 10:34.91, which was less that four seconds off the pace of Lake Hamilton (10:31.88).
Shelby turned in a third in the 3200 with a time of 12:12.51. Bell was fourth in 12:30.66. Bell was also fourth in the 1600 with a time of 5:49.54. Rachel Curtis was seventh in 5:53.24.
Billins took fifth in the 800, running a 2:35.40. Anderson added fourth-place points in the 300 hurdles, running a 50.91.
Owens was fourth in the 400 with a 1:04.25, sixth in the 100 at 13.59 and tied for fifth in the high jump at 4’8”.
In other field events, Jenna Freeman was third in the discus with a throw of 90’10”. Jordan Tarvin was fifth at 82’11 and Serenity Bridges sixth at 78’5”. Lewis add a fourth-place finish in the long jump with a leap of 16’0.25”.
In the pole vault, Sydney Wilson cleared 8’0 to tie Lake Hamilton’s Katie Welch for seventh. Cabot sisters Tori and Lexi Weeks each cleared 13’0” to tie for top honors in that event.
The Lady Hornets and Lady Panthers will square off again at the Panther Relays in Cabot on Tuesday, March 31.