Edwards earns individual title
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HOT SPRINGS — Eighth grader Mary Edwards used a strong finishing kick to break the lead pack and cruise to her first individual title for the Bryant Lady Mustangs at the Lake Hamilton Invitational cross country meet at Oaklawn Park Saturday, Oct. 13.
The Lady Mustangs finished as the runner-up team to Russellville in the junior girls competition. The Lady Hornets, meanwhile, finished second only to host Lake Hamilton despite competing without senior standout Mandy Medlin.
Edwards ran with the leaders the entire race and with about 300 meters left, surged ahead of the field and won in a time of 9:52.
“Mary ran a perfect race today,” commented Bryant coach Danny Westbrook. “She went to the front and stayed there and then used her awesome finish kick to take the win. She has great talent and also works hard in practice. That combination can take her a long way in this sport.”
Kim Bergen and Nicole Snyder also finished in the top 10 for the Lady Mustangs. Bergen finished sixth overall in 10:15. Snyder was ninth in 10:24.
Cari Odle also garnered a top 20 medal, finishing 11th in 10:27. Nicole Sample completed Bryant’s scoring group, placing 24th with a time of 10:49.
“I was glad to see Cari Odle back up close to the leaders this week,” Westbrook said.
The Lady Mustangs compiled 48 points. Russellville won with 27.
It was the fourth time this season that the Lady Hornets have finished runner-up in team competition. Lake Hamilton paced the field with 33 points. Bryant had 54.
“We have set winning the AAAAA-South Conference meet as one of our team goals for the year,” Westbrook said. “That race will basically be a dual meet between Lake Hamilton and us. Today, we saw their best team and we still hung in there with them even without Mandy. It will take a total team effort, but we have a chance to be conference champs.”
Medlin, who is nursing a foot injury, has been one of Bryant’s top two runners, along with junior Candace James, all season. James took the lead role Saturday and finished fifth overall with a time of 16:38.
The Lady Hornets put all five scorers in the top 25 but could not overcome the front-running Lady Wolves.
Bryant’s Jessica Graham also cracked the top 10, finishing eighth in 17:07. Jamie Waldron was Bryant’s third runner. Her 18:14 was good for 18th with Melanie Butler (18:27, 21st) and Amy Whitworth (18:43, 25th) completing the Lady Hornets scoring quintet.
“I thought Jessica and Jamie ran strong today,” Westbrook said. “And Amy got up and was one of our scorers for the first time.”
Lake Hamilton will host the conference meet at Oaklawn Park on Thursday, Oct. 25. The Lady Hornets’ final regular-season meet will be this Saturday at Conway. The junior high teams will not run again until the Cabot Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 27.