Linder, Stafford continue to pace 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).
LITTLE ROCK — The stout Russellville cross country program continued to wreak havoc on all comers last Saturday, as the top-ranked senior boys as well as the junior high team (both boys and girls) earned first-place finishes at the UALR Invitational at Murray Park.
Once again, Bryant Hornets seniors Graham Linder and David Stafford ran with the front-runners.
“They both went straight to the front and ran most of the 5K race as the leaders,” noted Hornets coach Bodie Nance. “With one mile to go, Linder surged to the lead and gave a valiant effort to break the field but his early fast pace caught up with him and he eventually finished sixth.”
Linder ran a 17:03 with Stafford also cracking the top 10. His 17:25 was good for eighth.
“David and Graham went out hard today and ran with a lot of courage,” Nance said. “We’ve worked really hard the last two weeks and to see them up there running strong is exciting.
“Cody Walker made up ground today as did Zach Roberson,” Nance mentioned. “Zach and Mark Pagan ran personal best times and continue to improve each week. Ethan Thomason keeps hanging in each week with top performances.”
Walker was the Hornets’ third runner, finishing 29th with a time of 18:22. Roberson’s 19:25 captured 50th with Thomason 52nd in 19:32 to complete the scoring for Bryant which finished fifth in the team competition with 119 points.
Russellville finished first with just 24 points, followed by Mountain Home (71), Lake Hamilton (79) and Conway (104). Little Rock Catholic was a distant sixth with 178 points. Fifteen teams competed at the meet.
Pagan ran a 20:18 for the Hornets with Michael Parker turning in a time of 22:19 and Bryan Ballew finishing in 22:55.
In the junior boys competition, the Mustangs’ Austin Johnson and the Lake Hamilton’s Ryan Gardarsson continued to battle each other for top individual honors. A week ago at Russellville, Johnson ran away from Gardarsson to win. This time, Gardarsson returned the favor by surging late in the race to take the title with a time of 7:36. Johnson had to settle for runner-up with a time of 7:42.
“Austin has established himself as a contender every week and that is a credit to his courage and willingness to run at the front,” Nance said. “Clayton Risner came through with a great performance as did eighth grader Allen Trotter. J.P. Snyder and Josh Wright continue to solidify themselves in our top five week after week.”
Risner was the Mustangs’ second finisher. His 8:11 took 13th place. Snyder was 16th in 8:14 with Wright 23rd in 8:24 and Trotter 24th in 8:25.
The Mustangs were fourth in the team competition with 78 points. Russellville’s 53 topped the field with Lake Hamilton (66) and Hot Springs Lakeside (72) edging Bryant. Hot Springs was a distant fifth with 93 points followed by Atkins (149), Hamburg (156) and Benton (159).
Matthew Wilder and Michael Wilder was Bryant’s next runners running 8:27 and 8:29, respectively. Leon Spencer, Kevin Bunch and Cole McAllister finished in bunch for Bryant. Spencer ran an 8:32 with Bunch at 8:34 and McAllister at 8:25.
The next Bryant group was led by Andrew Linder with a time of 8:42. Chris Robinson ran 8:44, Josh Woodell 8:46, Paul DeGarmo 8:50, Brandon Jackson 8:52 with Riley Sears and Ryan Hill finishing together in 8:53.
In addition, Chase Whaley ran a 9:01 with Kyle Henderson and Kris Rainbolt at 9:03 for the Mustangs. Kelly Lidzy ran a 9:21 followed by Shane Skinner (9:38), Graham Griffiths (9:42), Wezley Griffin (9:53), Jeff Ward (10:13) and Garrett Brown (11:19).