Seniors pace Hornets
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RUSSELLVILLE — For the second year in a row, Bryant senior Ethan Blakley won all three distance races in the same evening at the 7A-Central Conference championship track meet held Tuesday, May 8, and Thursday, May 10, at Russellville High School.
In the process, Blakley set conference records in the 1600 (4:31), the 800 (2:01) and the 3200 (9:52). He also anchored the Hornets’ first-place 3200 meter relay team which won in conference-record time of 8:15, joining Josh Harrison, Todd McAdoo and Ben Higgs. The clocking was a 23-second improvement over the quartet’s best time.
“Ethan was simply spectacular,” stated Hornets coach Steve Oury. “He is so reliable that you can take him for granted sometimes. He had to work hard to win those three races. I know he’s looking forward to state meet, where he won’t have to run the 800 meter run, and he can concentrate on the 1600 and 3200 meter runs.”
The Hornets, who also benefited from a strong contingent in the pole vault led by senior Spencer McCorkel, finished with 87 points to finish fourth. Conway won the team title with 190 points followed by Pine Bluff (116) and North Little Rock (100).
“I thought this was a great meet for us,” Oury added. “We did well in the areas where we are expected to, and also had some people step up and score in places where they weren’t necessarily expected to. The 3200 meter relay team ran a tremendous race, with each runner setting an 800 meter personal record in the process. We had talked about stepping up at the big meets, and that is exactly what they did.
“Since this is the first year of existence for the 7A Central conference, all event winners’ performances will be listed as conference records,” he noted.
So, along with the records set by Blakley and the 3200 team, McCorkel set the standard in the pole vault, clearing 16-8. Jason Pelletier was second (14-6), Ben Griffin sixth (13-0) and Zach Graham eighth (12-0).
“Our vaulters did a great job,” Oury said. “Spencer and Jason both took care of business, and Ben Griffin claimed a new personal record to earn a trip to state meet. I think he’s ready to go even higher.
McCorkel also contributed a fifth-place finish in the 200 with a time of 22.58. He joined Pelletier, Homer Coleman and Matt Schrader in the 4×100 relay which placed third in a time of 44.44. McCorkel, Alvin Rapien, Coleman and Schrader picked up a sixth in the 4×400 relay with a time of 3:40.
Schrader added a third place finish in the long jump (21-2 1/2).
“Matt really stepped up in the long jump and did a great job in the relays,” Oury commented. “I think we’ll be ready for a great state meet.”
The Hornets also picked up points from Cody Agee in the discus (sixth at 119 feet), as well as Higgs (seventh in 4:43) and Harrison (eighth in 4:44) in the 1600.
“All top six finishers in the conference meet automatically qualified for the state meet in Russellville in May 16th,” Oury noted. “All top three finishers earned All-Conference honors.”