May 24 in Bryant athletic history: 2006

Bryant trio tops at Meet of Champs

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).

HOT SPRINGS — Bryant’s Kelsey Mitchell, Brittany Johnson and Spencer McCorkel staked their claims as best in the state in their respective events as each won at the annual Meet of Champs at Hot Springs High School on Wednesday, May 24.

The annual event brings together the best competitors from every classification in the state.

Mitchell completed an undefeated season in the 100 meter hurdles while Johnson, out with an injury much of the season, won the discus. McCorkel, one of the top high school pole vaulters in the nation, didn’t reach quite the same heights he has in the past (including his vault that won the Class AAAAA championship) but in clearing 16 feet, he was able to edge Fayetteville’s Chad Faulkner with fewer misses.

Bryant was also represented by Mary Edwards who finished second in the 800 meter run; the 3200 meter relay team of Jessica Sowell, Kim Bergen, Lennon Bates and Samantha Wirzfeld, which finished fifth; and Ethan Blakley who, despite still battling the effects of a recent bout of strep throat, finished sixth in the 1600 meter run with a time of 4:35.

“I am extremely proud of all our competitors,” stated Lady Hornets coach Danny Westbrook. “Just being here in this competition is something to be proud of. We are going to really miss the group of seniors that are graduating. We have five girls moving on to compete in college. They have all had great high school careers and we wish them well in the future.”

“I am very proud of both of our guys,” added Hornets coach Steve Oury. “They have had outstanding seasons and have done a great job of representing Bryant High School. I feel bad for Ethan that he had to deal with being sick, but everyone knows what he is capable of when he is healthy. Fortunately both Ethan and Spencer have another year with us, so we’re looking forward to what they will accomplish next year.”

Mitchell won the hurdles with a near record time of 14.9 after taking the lead right out of the starting blocks. With the win, she captured the elusive triple crown of track by winning the indoor State title, the outdoor State title, and the Meet of Champs title.

Johnson, meanwhile, came out of the prelims with the leading discus toss but lost the lead early in the finals. On her second of three throws in the finals, she re-gained the lead with a fling of 116-1. 

“After that, it was a nervous waiting game as, one by one, the other competitors could not surpass her mark,” Westbrook said.

In the 800, Edwards was edged out by rival Erin Gatling of Van Buren. At the Class AAAAA meet, it was Edwards who got the best of it with a dramatic lean at the finish. This time, Gatling turned in a 2:17.9 to take top honors with Edwards second in 2:22.3.

The Lady Hornets’ relay team ran a 10:13.

McCorkel will continue to compete with the Arkansas Vault Club this summer. His next outing will be in the Nike Outdoor National Championships in Greensboro, N.C., and the United States Junior National Championships in Indianapolis, Ind.

And this year, Bryant will have a representative in the annual State Decathlon with sophomore Zack Orick competing at the two-day event, May 31 and June 1, at Cabot High School.

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