Edwards sets school mark for 5K
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 — For the third week in a row, senior Mary Edwards improved her time in the 5K to lead the Bryant Lady Hornets cross country team. And this time, she set a new school record.
At the annual Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival at the University of Arkansas, Edwards turned in a time of 20:14 to break a Bryant High record set by Brooke Higgs in 2004. On the way, Edwards finished 22nd overall in the massive event which featured 48 teams and 252 runners in just the senior girls division.
The festival includes college and high school competitions. It’s one of the largest such events held in the central part of the country featuring teams from several states. There was also a junior varsity and junior high competition. In the former, Bryant scored 149 points to finish fifth overall and second among Arkansas schools. In the latter, Bryant’s squad was fourth overall and second among Arkansas teams.
Edwards was the seventh Arkansas runner to finish. The Lady Hornets, however, placed 8th overall, the fourth Arkansas team with 277 points. The Woodlands High School from Houston, Texas won the girls division team title with 52 points.
“I was really proud of Mary today,” said head coach Danny Westbrook. “She just seems to be getting better and better. This was her third personal best race in three meets.
“As a team, we struggled,” Westbrook added. “We had way too many big-time gaps between teammates. Our total time gap first to fifth was 2:15. You don’t do well as a team with that big of a gap. We have to find a way to close down those gaps if we want to be competitive at the State meet in three weeks.”
Kim Bergen was Bryant’s second runner. She finished 60th overall with a time of 21:18. Nicole Darland was 61st in 21:19. Jessica Sowell’s 21:56 was good for 82nd with Lennon Bates (22:29 in 101st) and Chelsea Mansfield (108th, 22:39) completing the scoring group for the Lady Hornets.
In the open division junior varsity race, Bryant was led by Amber Westbrook who finished 30th with a time of 22:44. Sara Coker finished 35th at 22:52 with M’Kenna Moore 41st at 22:57. Other scorers for Bryant were Sam Wirzfeld (59th, 23:37), Paula Barrientos (75th, 24:20), Cecily Davis (102nd, 25:11), Kim Womack (189th, 29:15) and Lori Williams (198th, 30:10)
Eighth grader Samantha Cyz was Bryant’s top finisher in the junior girls division. She was 17th overall with a time of 21:59. Brittany Hairston was close behind, finishing 19th overall with a time of 22:04.
Other Bryant finishers were Mikayla Speake (38th, 23:28), Lola Fleming (39th, 23:29), Jessica Shepard (40th, 23:30), Andrea Savage (56th, 24:04), Catherine Fletcher (91st, 25:10) and Meredith Scott (92nd, 25:11).
Among 35 teams, there were 242 runners in the junior girls race.
The Bryant High School team will be training and resting up for the next two weeks before defending its AAAAA-Central Conference championship at Mills Park on Thursday, Oct. 27. The junior high teams will finish the season on Oct. 29, at the annual WalMart Junior High championship at Cabot.