Lady Hornets take team honors at talent-rich Cyclone Relays

Alexis Royal and Melinda Murdock in the 100 meter hurdles.Photos courtesy of Darlene Bell

RUSSELLVILLE — At the Russellville Cyclone Relays Friday night, the Bryant Lady Hornet[more] track team won the team championship in a hard-fought effort over most of the state’s top 7A competition.
Bryant took the title with 86 points followed closely by runner-up Fort Smith Southside with 81 points. Bentonville finished third with 78 points followed by Fayetteville (65), Cabot (59), North Little Rock (43), Van Buren (40), Har-Ber (33), and LR Central (32). There were 20 teams in the meet.

On the night, Bryant broke three Cyclone Relay records, set one Bryant school record, and automatically qualified for the State meet in eight different events.

“This was a very strong field and the team battle went back and forth until the last event,” noted Lady Hornets coach Danny Westbrook. “I’m really proud of our girls for hanging tough and pulling through at the end. I think we served notice that we can be a strong contender at the conference and state meet coming up at the end of April.”

Senior Alexis Royal collected her 12th career invitational meet high-point award scoring 35 points. Individually, Royal won the 110-meter hurdles in a time of 15.6, the long jump (17’9”), and the triple jump (36’11”). She was also a part of the winning 4 x 100-meter relay team and the second place 4 x 400-meter relay team. Royal qualified for the state meet in all her individual events.

Sophomore Feniece Boone scored 19 points. Her winning time in the 400-meter dash of 57.2 set a new Cyclone Relays meet record and automatically qualified her for the State meet. She finished fifth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.79. She also was a member of the first place 4 x 100-meter relay and the second place 4 x 400-meter relay.

Junior Melinda Murdock also had an outstanding meet scoring 18 points. She finished second in the 800-meter run (2:23) and fourth in the 110-meter hurdles (16.1). She also ran a leg of the winning 4 x 100-meter relay and the 4 x 400-meter relay that finished second. Her 800-meter time was under the State qualifying standard.

Bryant’s 4 x 100-meter relay team of Murdock, Boone, Gabby Allen, and Royal set a new Cylcone Relays meet record and reset their own Bryant school record with a winning time of 49.06. It was also a State qualifying mark.

The 4 x 800-meter relay team of Hannah Raney, Talyn Billins, Sam Macchi, and Caitlyn Bell also set a new meet record and qualified for State with their winning time of 10:04.

In the 4 x 400-meter relay, Bryant battled Bentonville in a showdown of the event’s top two teams in the state. Bryant’s team of Royal, Boone, Leah Ward, and Murdock had beaten Bentonville at the state indoor meet in a very close finish, but the results were reversed Friday as the Lady Tigers took the event title in a time of 4:03.9 to the Lady Hornets’ 4:04. Both relays eclipsed the State qualifying mark.

Leah Ward added a seventh-place finish in the long jump with a leap of 16’7”. Jenna Freeman was eighth in the discus with a throw of 92’0”.

Caitlyn Bell runs in the 4x800 meter relay.

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