Bryant girls continue winning streak
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 — It has become evident that the Bryant Lady Hornets have the top cross country team in central Arkansas, high school and junior high. Both teams are undefeated this season including the Lake Hamilton Invitational held Saturday, Oct. 8, at Oaklawn Park, site of the Class AAAAA championship meet to be held in early November.
On Saturday, Oct. 15, they will see how they stack up against the perennial State powerhouses in northwest Arkansas as they run in the annual Chili Pepper Festival at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.
In the meantime, the Lady Hornets finished with 43 points at the Lake Hamilton event, 10 points ahead of second-place Russellville in a 14-team field that included 190 runners. The Junior Lady Hornets’ 69 points was seconded by Arkadelphia’s 86 among the 16 teams and 178 runners.
Senior Mary Edwards turned in a personal best for 5K to lead the Lady Hornets. The time of 20:31 was good for five place overall. Nicole Darland was Bryant’s second runner and 11th overall in 21:05. She was followed by the pack of Jessica Sowell (21st, 21:49), Lennon Bates (22nd, 21:50) and Chelsea Mansfield (23rd, 21:53) to complete the scoring group. Kim Bergen was just off the pace, finishing in 28th.
“Our senior girls were pretty leg-weary because we started speed work this week,” noted head coach Danny Westbrook. “But I thought they hung in there and really showed a lot of fortitude to hold off Russellville in the closing stages of the race. Mary ran really great and, besides our top six, I thought M’Kenna Moore had a great performance.”
Moore turned in a 22:27 to place 34th. She was followed by Sam Wirzfeld (23:24), Sara Coker (23:33), Paula Barrientos (24:30), Cecily Davis (24:50), Kimberly Womack (25:05), and Lori Williams (34:29).
The Junior Lady Hornets won despite the absence of one of their top runners. Freshman Brittany Hairston sat out with a leg injury but the team’s depth provided the victory. Eighth-grader Samantha Cyz continued her string of top 10 finishes, placing third overall with a time of 11:41 to pace Bryant.
“I didn’t think we had much chance of winning today without Brittany,” Westbrook admitted, “but these girls just refuse to lose. Sammy Cyz just had an awesome race and I also thought Lola Fleming, Mikayla Speake, Melanie Bergen and Andrea Savage had strong races.”
Fleming was Bryant’s second runner, finishing 11th overall in 12:54. Speake was on her heels, finishing 13th in 12:59. Mellanie Johnson’s 13:11 was good for 18th and Bergen completed the scoring quintet, finishing 28th in 13:29. Savage was just off the pace, finishing in 13:34, good for 32nd. And right with her was Jessica Shepherd (34th, 13:36), Meredith Scott (35th, 13:41) and Catherine Fletcher (36th, 13:43).
The next group was headed by Christen Kirchner (14:05) and Martha Swaty (14:07). They were followed by Jessica Salyers (14:31), Kayla Randolph (14:51), Shelby Wyatt (14:57), Michelle Goodson (15:26), Hailey Walker (15:36), Karlee Porter (15:37), Madison Smith (15:51), Kelsey Caddy (16:20), Tiffany Rogers (16:22), Alisha Gathright (17:55), Maria Pinkerton (18:04), and Emily Gathright (19:08).