Photos courtesy of Julie Shelby
FAYETTEVILLE — Bryant Lady Hornet sprint coach Keith Dale has coached his share of quality sprinters and has observed some outstanding performances. The performance of junior Jadyn Lewis at the ATCA indoor track state championship Saturday night might just be the best he has seen. Lewis scored 32 ½ points, won two individual event State titles, and was named the meet’s female MVP.
Lewis led the Lady Hornets to a fourth-place team finish. Fayetteville won the title with 113 points, followed by Bentonville (103), Rogers (73), Bryant (55), Conway (23), Little Rock Christian (18), and Mount St. Mary (18). There were 28 teams from class 5A, 6A, and 7A in the competition.
Lewis won both her State titles, the 60-meter dash and the 200-meter dash, by pulling away from the field late in the races. Her 60-meter dash time was 8.08 and her 200-meter time was 26.39.
She added a third-place performance in the long jump (16′ 3½”) and a fourth-place in the 400-meter dash (1:01.7). She was also part of the 4 x 400-meter relay team that finished third.
“Jadyn has been very instrumental in getting our team to its current condition,” commented Dale. “Not only does she put in so much work and effort, but she encourages everyone to be closer and more like a family. Last year when the team numbers were down, she hit the halls in school to recruit more teammates that would buy into the Lady Hornet track program.
“She doesn’t hold back and tells it like it is, while guiding everyone not only to be a better teammate, but a better person,” he added. “Although her MVP award speaks volumes for her athletic ability, nothing has made me more proud than her character.”
Senior Haley Hood added 16 ½ points and narrowly missed out on her own State title in the 400-meter dash. Olivia Groeber from Rogers had run 1:00.2 in an earlier heat of the race. Hood handily won the final heat of the race with a time of 1:00.6, narrowly missing the State title by four-tenths of a second.
She added a fifth-place finish in the high jump with a leap of 5’0″ and a sixth-place finish in the 60-meter hurdles (10.1). She also ran on the 4 x 400-meter relay that finished third.
In the last event of the meet, the 4 x 400-meter relay team of Deborah Shaw, Lewis, Zhania Hall, and Hood ran 4:16.2 to finish third.
Top three finishes at State competition are named Arkansas All-State. Lewis, Hood, Shaw, and Hall were all given that honor.
Other scorers for the Lady Hornets:
3200m Run – Hannah Shelby – 8th – 12:16.5
“I was very pleased with our team performance,” said head coach Danny Westbrook. “We are extremely young with most of this team made up of sophomores and freshman.
“Jadyn and Haley had huge performances tonight,” he added. “When you combine their talent and work ethic with a great sprint coach like Keith Dale, good things are bound to happen.”
Bryant opens the outdoor season on March 11 at the Panther Relays in Benton.