May 8 in Bryant athletic history: 2004

Zuber, Bright head up Hornets’ State troops

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).

Six individual Bryant Hornets and a relay team qualified for the Class AAAAA State Meet with their performances at the AAAAA-Central Conference meet held at Bryant Stadium on Saturday, May 8.

Pole vaulter Blake Zuber had already earned a spot at the State meet by clearing the qualifying height at a regular-season meet.

The State meet will be at Lake Hamilton High School on Saturday, May 15.

As a team, the Hornets finished fifth, compiling 83.5 points. Conway won the conference title with 170.5 points, followed by Little Rock McClellan (135), Little Rock Parkview (115) and North Little Rock (106).

“I’m proud of the effort displayed by our athletes,” commented Hornets coach Steve Oury. “To score 83 points in this conference with such a small team took some outstanding efforts.”

Those outstanding efforts were highlighted by a first-place performance from Steven Bright in the 800 meter run. Bright’s time of 1:59.95 narrowly missed the conference meet record.

He also qualified for State in the 1600 meter run, finishing third in 4:42.7 for a third-place ribbon.

Bright also anchored the 3200 meter relay team, which won in a time of 8:20.05, to qualify, joining Chris Robinson, Bryan Ballew and Adam Schneider.

“Steve Bright had a great day,” Oury emphasized. “He ran his leg of the 3200 meter relay in 2:00 then came back and got third in the 1600 before breaking the two-minute barrier in the 800. He will not run the 1600 at State, so he should be a contender for the State title in the 800.

“I also expect Blake Zuber and Bryan Ballew to have chances to finish in the top four next week,” Oury related. 

Those who finish in the top four at the State meet advance to the Meet of Champs.

Individually, Ballew qualified with a second-place finish in the 1600 meter run, finishing in 4:37.74; Schneider made it with a third-place performance in the 3200 meter run (10:46.57); and Robinson too, by finishing fourth in the 800 (2:07.36).

In addition, David Hollis qualified in the shot put. His toss of 45 feet, 3 1/4 inches was good for second place at the conference meet. Brandon Clem joined Zuber in the pole vault competition at State by clearing 10-6 to tie for fourth.

Zuber won the conference pole vault title, clearing 13-6.

The Hornets also received points for the conference meet from Allen Trotter in the discus (fifth place with a throw of 118-10), the 1600 and 400 meter relay teams. The 400, with Zuber, Nick Outlaw, Phillip Porchay and Zach Barnes finished sixth. So did the 1600 with Zuber, Barnes, Robinson and Bright combining on a 3:39.10 clocking.

“We had some other notable performances that may not get as much attention,” Oury noted, “such as Zach Barnes setting a new school record in the triple jump with a leap of 39 feet, 7 1/2 inches, and Allen Trotter’s fifth place finish in the discus. Allen ran cross country and had never tried the discus until a couple of months ago, so that was outstanding for him.

“Next year, we will lose an outstanding leader in Bryan Ballew, who is graduating,” Oury mentioned. “But we will be gaining a nice group of sophomores who will help immensely.”

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