Over hill, over dale, Lady Hornets take sixth at State

HARRISON — At the 7A State Cross Country Championship Saturday, the Bryant Lady Hornets battled[more] not only the stiff competition but also a brutally hilly course to come away with a sixth-place team finish scoring 155 points.

Rogers won the meet with 46 points followed by Heritage (62), Bentonville (72), Fayetteville (115), Cabot (138) and then Bryant. There were 16 total teams represented.

The Lady Hornets were led by junior Hannah Raney and sophomore Melinda Murdock who went out with the leaders and maintained their position up front to both come away with top 15 places. Raney became the first Bryant Lady Hornet to receive a state medal in several years with her 10th-place finish in 21:29. Her place also earned her All State status. Murdock ran to a 14th place finish with a time of 21:38.

Both ladies qualified as Arkansas All Stars and will compete alongside other top Arkansas runners at the Arkansas/Oklahoma All Star meet next week in Rogers.

“I was so proud of Hannah and Melinda,” stated Bryant coach Danny Westbrook. “This course is the toughest state meet course I have ever witnessed. You are either going up-hill or down-hill all the time. I thought they really dug deep and overcame a lot of adversity.”

Bryant’s other finishers were Stacy Emmerling (39th, 22:53), Caitlyn Bell (47th, 23:17), Kat Bolton (48th, 23:24), Marley Adams (49th, 23:29), Lauren Ackley (50th, 23:31), Ashlyn Lessenberry (60th, 24:19), and Stephanie Cyz (81st, 26:48).

“I was pleased with our team performance as a whole,” Westbrook said. “We are extremely young and I thought all our ladies fought hard under very extreme circumstances.”

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