May 2 in Bryant athletic history: 2003

School, conference marks fall

EDITOR’S NOTE: In this time of COVID-19, with no sports action, will be posting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).

CONWAY — For awhile at the AAAAA-Central Conference track championship meet held at John McConnel Stadium on Friday, May 2, Bryant Hornets senior pole vaulter Greg Prewett held the conference record. That was moments after he and sophomore teammate Blake Zuber had tied the league standard at 12-6 then matched record-breaking vaults of 13-feet. Prewett then went over the bar at 13-6 to claim the record himself and it looked like the mark and the first place ribbon for the meet would be his until, on his last attempt, Zuber matched him.

Both asked for the bar to be moved to 13-10 for an attempt at the Bryant High School record that they had been aiming for all season.

Again in dramatic fashion, Zuber cleared the height on his last attempt, eclipsing the 10-year-old mark set by Chris Reynolds, claiming first-place honors over his teammate and friends Prewett, who was second.

Both earned all-conference honors with their performances and they qualified for Class AAAAA State competition with prelims set for Friday, May 9, in Fort Smith.

That was just one of several highlights for the Bryant teams. The Hornets finished third among the league’s teams, with distance runners Mark Pagan, Bryan Ballew and Cody Walker qualifying for State.

The Lady Hornets, likewise, finished third in the team standings, just two points behind second place Little Rock McClellan.

Conway won both boys and girls titles. The boys amassed 187 points with McClellan second with 157 1/2. Bryant finished with 48 to edge Little Rock Parkview (41 1/2) and the rest of the field.

The Conway girls piled up 179 points to far out-distance the field. McClellan was a distant second with 76 points. Parkview was fourth with 70 points.

The Lady Hornets, likewise, accounted for a new conference record. The vaunted 3200 meter relay squad of Nicole Sample, Brooke Higgs, Lauren Harris and Candice James turned in a 10:20.8 to finish first.

Bryant girls qualified for State in nine events led by Higgs who not only contributed to the 3200 meter relay team but finished first in the 800 meters (2:29.0) and second in the 400 (60.1). James qualified in the 1600 meters with a second place finish in 5:46.7.

“What a great battle in the pole vault,” declared Hornets head coach Steve Griffith, adding of his team’s finish, “I am very proud of these young men. A third place finish in the conference is a great accomplishment for the nine dedicated athletes we had out this spring.”

Griffith also cited the contributions of coach Brad Stroud. “I’d like to thank Brad for the great job he has done with the vaulters and jumpers this spring,” said Griffith.

Pagan posted a personal record of 2:04.56 to win the 800 meter run for the Hornets. And Ballew topped his best time with a 4:45.09 in the 1600, finishing second.

Ballew also qualified for State in the 3200, finishing third with a time of 11:02.51. Walker’s 11:03.39 was good for fourth and a trip to State.

Bryant also picked up points in the 3200 meter relay with Pagan, Walker, Zack Roberson and Ballew combining on an 8:42.61 to take fifth.

“I knew going into Friday’s final that Conway would score a lot of points but the final total was pretty staggering,” said Lady Hornets coach Danny Westbrook. “I was pleased with our effort. We had some girls step up and perform season bests. That 400/800 double that Brooke ran was really impressive when you think about how little rest time there is between those races.”

The Lady Hornets qualified two runners for State in the 3200 meter run as Jessica Finley (13:58.7) and Teresa Alverio (14:20.6) finished third and fourth, respectively.

Also qualifying were Brenda Reed in the shot with a toss of 30-3, good for second; Rachel Burnette in the pole vault, clearing 7-6 to finish third; and Jessica Norris in the high jump in which she cleared 4-10 to finish fourth.

In addition, Jennifer Long, Britain Owens, Sample and Harris teamed up in the 1600 meter run to finish fourth in 4:27.4 to earn a State bid.

The top three in each event was named all-conference as well.

And the Lady Hornets picked up points from Liz Griffis and Tonya Fowler who tied for fifth in the high jump at 4-8; the 400 meter relay team of Reagan James, Owens, Norris and Whitney Wingard which was fifth in 55.9; Long, who was sixth in the 300 meter hurdles in 59.9; and Sample who finished sixth in the 800 in 2:50.6.

State Prelims were to being at 11 a.m. in Fort Smith on Friday, May 9, with the finals set for Hot Springs on Saturday, May 17, at 11 a.m.

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