Performance of 4×100 relay team highlights Hornets’ day at State meet
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By Rob Patrick
Photos courtesy of Carla Thomas
CONWAY — The star-crossed season of the Bryant Hornets track team came to a[more] conclusion on Thursday at the Class 7A State championship meet at John McConnell Stadium. And, like the season, the day wasn’t all it was hoped to be.
The Hornets finished with 16 points, led by their sprint relay team of Dillon Winfrey, Tanner Tolbert, Stephen Clark and Kris Brazzelle who turned in a 43.05 to finish third. That was good enough to put them in position to perhaps compete in the annual Meet of Champs.
“We will be watching the results of the other State meets to see if we get in or not,” noted Hornets coach Steve Oury. “Also, Troy Smith and Tanner Tolbert will compete in the Decathlon at Cabot High School on May 18th and 19th.”
The Hornets finished 12th in the 16-team field. Fort Smith Southside won the team title with 120 points with Fayetteville second with 99. Hosting Conway was third with 90.
“Obviously we didn’t have the kind of day we were hoping for,” Oury acknowledged. “The tone for this track season was set back in football season when both Tyler Freshour and Dylan Blasi were lost for the season because of injuries. They were valuable members of last year’s team and their senior leadership was missed. Then we lost Caleb Thomas, one of our top sprinters, because of a hamstring injury. Along the way, we had a few other key athletes who were nursing various ailments. We were walking on eggshells all year trying to keep kids healthy who were either injured or recovering from injury, so as a result I don’t think we weren’t as fit as we could have been. There are no cheap points at the State meet. The guys did their best, but it just wasn’t clicking for us.”
Tolbert added fifth-place points in the long jump with a leap of 21’2”. Smith scored in two events. He was sixth in the high jump, clearing 5’10” and eighth in the 300 meter hurdles.
Luke Lindsley finished seventh in the 1600 with a time of 4:41 while Winfrey added an eighth-place finish in the 200 meter dash.
“I’m really proud of this group of guys, especially the seniors,” Oury said. “Tanner Tolbert is one of the most decorated athletes in Bryant history. Coach (Brad) Stroud and I will not only miss his ability, but also his personality. That kid makes friends everywhere he goes. Also, guys like Luke Lindsley, Troy Smith, Michael Smith, Kevin Nalley and James Glasper have been in the program since junior high. It’s been an honor to coach these boys and watch them grow up into young men.”