Oaklawn good for Lady Hornets
EDITOR’S NOTE: Because the look back at each day in Bryant athletic history has been so favorably received during the time when there was no sports during the COVID-19 shutdown, BryantDaily.com will continueposting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on BryantDaily.com (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).
HOT SPRINGS — Though they figure to be fresher, the Bryant Lady Hornets would like nothing better than to enjoy the same outcome the next time they visit the infield course at Oaklawn Park as they did at the Lake Hamilton Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 14.
Despite a hard week of practice, the Lady Hornets placed three runners in the top 10 and edged the rival Lady Wolves of Lake Hamilton to win the meet title on Saturday. And, it just so happens, the next time the Lady Hornets will run at Oaklawn, it will be in the Class AAAAA State meet on Saturday, Nov. 4.
The strenuous work during the week took its toll on both Bryant High teams at the meet. Though the Lady Hornets were able to overcome their weary legs for the win, the Hornets struggled to a fifth-place finish in a 17-team field.
Bryant’s junior high teams, in what was originally their final meet of the season (another has been added at Cabot on Oct. 28), finished second (boys) and third (girls), respectively.
“Our senior girls showed a lot of heart,” commented Lady Hornets coach Dan Westbrook. “We worked really hard this week so they were racing on dead legs and still came through with the team victory.
“I was especially pleased with Candice James who somehow, even with sore legs, found a finishing kick and passed some runners at the end.”
James managed a 7th place finish in a time of 16:23. Gina Messina and Mandy Medlin, once again, paced Bryant, as well. Messina’s 16:18 was good for fifth overall while Medlin’s 16:26 garnered ninth.
Bryant, ranked fourth in the state, accumulated 59 points to sixth-ranked Lake Hamilton’s 64. Siloam Springs was third with 94 points. Tenth-rated Conway was fourth and eighth-ranked Mount St. Mary’s fifth.
“Lake Hamilton had beaten us at our home meet so this was sweet revenge to get them at their home meet,” said the coach.
Melanie and Sarah Butler completed the Lady Hornets’ scoring quintet. Melanie was 22nd with a time of 17:20. Sarah ran a 17:39 to finish 33rd.
In addition, Bryant’s Melanie Steele ran an 18:15 to finish 41st; Denise Whitworth was 43rd in 18:25, with Melissa Robinson running a 19:56, Amy Griffin a 20:55 and Amanda Young a 22:03.
“For the next three weeks, we will start tapering for a peak performance at the state meet,” Westbrook said.
David Stafford led the fifth-ranked Hornets with a ninth-place finish in 17:24. Joe Holland was the only other member to finish in the top 20. He ran a 17:54 to place 18th.
“It was disheartening after such a good run at UALR (the previous week),” commented Hornets coach Bodie Nance. “We had the best practice of the season on Monday (prior to Lake Hamilton) and yet we did not perform very well at all. We may just be too tired after three really hard weeks of training and racing. We will rest this week and get ready for the Conway Invitational this Saturday.”
Nick Taylor, Cody Walker and Chris Brewer scored for the Hornets. Taylor was 28th in 18:08, Walker 54th in 19:03, and Brewer 57th in 19:08.
Russellville, ranked No. 2 in the state, was outstanding while taking the team title with just 34 points. Norman, Okla. was second with 73 followed by eighth-ranked Conway (89), fourth-rated Lake Hamilton (111) and Bryant (140).
Ethan Thompson ran a 19:19 for Bryant, finishing 66th. Graham Linder, usually among the Hornets’ leaders, had a rough day finishing 69th in a time of 19:27. Josh Brooks ran a 19:48, Stephen Heasley a 21:00, and Michael Parker a 22:13.
Meanwhile, the Bryant Junior High Mustangs continued to be frustrated in their efforts to win a meet by the rival Russellville Whirlwinds. At Lake Hamilton, Russellville finished with 37 points to Bryant’s 49.
“Russellville’s junior boys team just seems to have our number this season,” Westbrook said. “We keep closing ground on them.
“Matt Arnold and William Scott went out hard and ran gutsy races,” Westbrook added. “Matt really closed on the leader late in the race with a solid surge. I though Zach Roberson gave an outstanding effort.”
Arnold was second overall with a time of 11:24. Scott ran an 11:32 to finish fifth. Roberson (12th, 12:00), Thomas Howell (14th, 12:07), J.P. Snyder (16th, 12:12) and Steven Saenz (20th, 12:28) all finished in the top 20 for the Mustangs.
Leon Howell led the next group of Bryant runners. He was 26th in 12:47. Eric Bain finished 28th in 12:50 and Jared Dehan was 29th in 13:00. Matthew Wilder was right behind with a 13:05 to place 30th. Derek Carver ran a 13:13 to finish 32nd with Adam Moore 34th in a time of 13:14, Josh Wright 40th in 13:25.
Kevin Bunch ran a 13:42 followed by Paul DeGarmo (13:52), Taylor Sorrows (14:11), Clayton Risner (14:45), Cole McAllister (14:55), Zach Melton (15:05) and Jeremy Neugent (15:37).
For the Lady Mustangs, Megan Bradshaw and Tonya Fowler led the way. Bradshaw was seventh with a time of 10:12. Fowler was eighth in 10:15.
“Our junior girls were really too spread out to score well except for our two lead girls,” Westbrook noted.
The Lady Mustangs finished with 59 points.
The team’s top five also included Tiffany Smith, Jessica Graham and Jamie Waldron. Smith was 17th in 10:42, Graham was 22nd in 10:56 and Waldron 23rd in 11:01.
They were followed by Jessica Finley (26th, 11:05), Laura Mackey (28th, 11:10), Danielle Bush (36th, 11:20), Rachel Pack (37th, 11:26), Felicia Russell (45th, 11:49), and Jennifer Long (49th, 12:00).