Girls verify their ranking
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FAYETTEVILLE — The Bryant Lady Hornets No. 3 ranking in the state held true at the annual Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival at the University of Arkansas on Saturday, Oct. 14. The Lady Hornets finished third among the Arkansas teams, eighth overall at the event which annual features college, high school and junior high teams from around the region.
Tupelo, Miss., took top team honors with 75 points. The Lady Hornets, with 300 points, finished only behind Bentonville (2nd overall with 89 points) and Rogers (4th, 103) among the Arkansas squads. In all 24 area teams and 193 runners participated in the senior girls invitational portion of the Festival.
“The Chile Pepper is one of the largest cross country meets in this part of the country,” acknowledged Lady Hornets coach Danny Westbrook. “There were several out-of state teams there as well as most of the best in-state teams. One of our goals for this meet was to be at least the third best Arkansas team in the race, because that is where we are ranked, and we accomplished that.”
Sara Coker led the Lady Hornets with a personal best of 21:10, garnering 49th place overall. Brittany Hairston (53rd, 21:16), Chelsea Mansfield (68th, 21:41), Melanie Bergen (75th in 21:10 and Lennon Bates (82nd, 22:02) completed the Bryant scoring group. Nicole Darland finished 96th in 22:28, M’Kenna Moore 98th in 22:35 and Amber Westbrook 120th in 23:10 also competed in the senior girls invitational.
“Sara Coker has had two awesome performances in a row,” Westbrook noted. “I truly believe she has finally developed the mental focus she has been missing to compliment her great running talent. She is learning what racing is all about. I thought Chelsea Mansfield had a great performance as well.”
Three other Lady Hornets competed in the JV open race. Samantha Wirzfeld led the way with at time of 22:38. Lola Fleming finished at 22:42 and Paula Barrientos finished at 24:58.
In the junior girls competition, Sammy Cyz led Bryant with a 54th place finish in a time of 22:48. The Lady Hornets finished eighth overall with 280 points in a field of 23 teams and 243 runners.
Other finishers were Kaytlyn Stracener (59th, 22:52), Andrea Savage (64th, 23:12), Karlee Porter (69th, 23:16), Kayla Randolph (83rd, 23:43), Maria Christman (99th, 24:13), Callie Smith (101st,24:15), Jessica Shepard (169th, 26:50), and Mary Nance (216th, 29:37).