Blakley, Fuoco lead Hornets to league title
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RUSSELLVILLE — The Bryant Hornets won their fourth consecutive conference cross country championship Tuesday in Russellville, edging out Conway by a 45-55 margin in the inaugural 7A Central championship meet. Bryant’s three previous championships were collected in the 5A Central. Third-place Catholic scored 61 points and fourth place Cabot tallied 65 points. Russellville, North Little Rock, Little Rock Central, and Pine Bluff all scored at least 170 points to round out the final four spots.
Senior Ethan Blakley successfully defended his individual championship, running the difficult 5 kilometer (3.1 mile) course in a time of 16:49, 25 seconds ahead of runner-up Nathan Johnson of Cabot. Along with Blakley, Joey Fuoco and Todd McAdoo earned all conference honors by placing in the top 10. Fuoco placed third in a time of 17:48, while McAdoo placed seventh in a time of 17:54.
Other Hornet finishers were Josh Harrison (15th in 18:23), Ben Higgs (19th in 18:55), Cody Fiser (25th in 19:06), Preston Adami (28th in 19:15), Alvin Rapien (29th in 19:25), Brandon Mueller (34th in 19:45), Nick Pultro (47th in 20:40), Daniel Hall (54th in 21:07), Homer Coleman (61st in 21:31), Kiere Marshall (62nd in 21:31), Drew Persinger (67th in 21:37), Remell Allen (68th in 21:39), Jeremy Cox (78th in 22:32), Trenton Palmer (79th in 22:45), Brandon Barnes (89th in 23:54), Aaron Cathcart (90th in 23:55), Ben Griffin (91st in 23:59), and Jacob Pultro (93rd in 24:19).
“We knew we were in for a battle today, so we were very fortunate to come out on top against such good competition,” stated Hornets head coach Steve Oury. “It was our fourth conference championship in a row, but it was the toughest of the four. Conway did a great job of packing their top five runners. We were able to gain an advantage on them up front with Ethan winning and Joey placing third. That was a real breakthrough race for Fuoco. I knew he was capable of it, but it was awesome to see him come through like that. McAdoo lost a couple of spots at the end, but still ran a gutsy race.
“We have to work hard and carry some momentum in to the state meet on Nov. 11 at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs,” Oury added. “Rogers is the heavy favorite, but there are a group of about four schools who are battling for the runner-up spot. We feel like if we run to our potential and have some breaks go our way, we could finish in the top two. It certainly helps to have Ethan Blakley leading the way for us.”