Photos courtesy of Lloyd Wilson
HOT SPRINGS — Led by a sixth-place individual finish by junior Melinda Murdock, the Bryant Lady[more] Hornets finished fifth in the team competition at the Class 7A State cross country meet held Saturday at Oaklawn Park.
Rogers Heritage won the title with 56 points followed by Bentonville (78), Rogers (82), Van Buren (96), Bryant (128), Har-Ber (158), and Fayetteville (161). There were 13 teams and 115 total runners in the 7A division.
Murdock ran most of the race in the lead pack and went on to out-kick several runners going into the finish line. Her time of 19:26 is the second fastest 5K time in school history.
Her teammate, senior Hannah Raney, holds the school record with a time of 19:17. Murdock’s sixth-place finish earned her a top 10 medal and she was named Arkansas All-State.
Raney, who normally runs stride-for-stride with Murdock, struggled throughout the race to keep pace. She was Bryant’s second runner in 21st with a time of 20:10. Sophomore Caitlyn Bell took third for the Lady Hornets in 28th place with a time of 20:26.
The rest of the scorers for Bryant were freshman Hannah Shelby (35th, 20:55) and freshman Sarah Cowell (38th, 21:03).
Also finishing for the Lady Hornets were Lauren Ackley (63rd, 22:24), Marley Adams (90th, 24:15) and Stephanie Cyz (99th, 25:03).
“Our team goal was a top-five finish and I am very pleased that we accomplished that,” said Lady Hornets coach Danny Westbrook. “I am so proud of Melinda. She ran lights out today and her finishing kick was awesome. I thought Caityln Bell had a great race today as well.
“I know Hannah Raney would have liked a better performance in her last State meet,” the coach added. “But she was just not feeling
well. She could have given up at any point in the race but I thought she dug deep and gave a valiant effort to help her team.”