Hornets harriers respond to challenge of Chile Pepper
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).
FAYETTEVILLE — With college, high school and junior high competitions, the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival is annually the highlight of the fall running season, attracting teams from all over and the 2006 version was no different. On Saturday, Oct. 14, four of the top 25 teams in the nation and all of the ranked teams in Arkansas were a part of the massive 46-team field in just the high school boys invitational division which was limited to the top eight runners for each school.
And the third-ranked Bryant Hornets held their own against that daunting challenge. Led by senior Ethan Blakley who finished 16th overall with a time of 15:56 despite still recovering from food poisoning, the Hornets placed 17th overall as a team with 536 points. They were third among Arkansas teams. Rogers (sixth) and Van Buren (16th) were the only teams from the state to finish ahead of Bryant.
“We ran a pretty solid race,” stated Hornets head coach Steve Oury. “The conditions were perfect, so with so many great runners out there we knew everyone would be running fast times. I think almost everyone on the team ran a seasonal best time. Ethan ran a great race considering he hasn’t completely recovered from being sick.”
Todd McAdoo was the Hornets’ second runner finishing 90th in a time of 17:09. The scoring quintet was completed by Josh Harrison (123rd, 17:27), Joey Fuoco (151st, 17:47) and Ben Higgs (186th, 18:07).
In addition, Cody Fiser was 200th in 18:17 with Alvin Rapien 204th in 18:21 and Preston Adami 210th in 18:24.
“Todd McAdoo is doing a great job,” Oury stated. “We need to keep working on reducing the gap between our first and fifth runners. If we can do that I have no doubt we will have success at conference and state.”
The 7A-Central Conference meet is scheduled for Nov. 2 at Russellville.
In the senior boys open division of the race, Bryant finished 17th in a field of 36 teams. Again, Oury said, all of the Bryant runners ran either seasonal or personal best times.
Finishers for the Hornets were Brandon Mueller (74th in 18:58), Daniel Hall (91st in 19:24), Nick Pultro (96th in 19:32), Kiere Marshall (136th in 20:07), Homer Coleman (151st in 20:24), Remell Allen (184th in 21:14), Trenton Palmer (189th in 21:24), Ben Griffin (21:53), Brandon Barnes (22:42), Jacob Pultro (23:33), and Aaron Cathcart (24:44).
In the junior boys competition, the Hornets brought home a trophy from the Chile Pepper for the second year in a row. Bryant placed third overall behind only Tupelo, Miss., and their rivals from Lake Hamilton in the 30-team field.
Dillon Rhodes paced the Bryant effort, earning an individual medal for his 10th place finish, covering the 5K (3.1 mile) course in 18:13.
Other Junior Hornet finishers were Jacob Clark (14th in 18:28), Devon Norris (19th in 18:30), Chris Dubose (25th in 18:44), Austin Benning (60th in 19:48), Colton Klaus (74th in 20:12), Johnathon Chapman (81st in 20:21), Jacob Goff (20:51), and Ken Vega (22:06).
“Our junior boys really stepped up,” Oury praised. “To finish third in such a quality field is amazing. We knew Lake Hamilton was good, but I wanted to see how we would do against the teams from northwest Arkansas, and none of them beat us. Dillon Rhodes ran a remarkable race. To have four guys run under 19 minutes in a junior high race is awesome. These guys have unlimited potential if they just stick with it and keep working hard.”