FAYETTEVILLE — At the Chile Pepper Cross Country Invitational held at the University of Arkansas Saturday, the Bryant Lady Hornets[more] finished 22nd overall and sixth among Arkansas schools.
Bryant scored 608 points in a field of 49 teams and 380 runners. Southlake (Texas), which is ranked third in the nation according to ESPN, won the team competition with 28 points. Bentonville was the top Arkansas school finishing fifth overall followed by Rogers (seventh), Heritage (eighth), Lake Hamilton (ninth), Mountain Home (13th), and then Bryant (22nd).
The Lady Hornets were led by junior Hannah Raney, who narrowly missed breaking her own school record for 5K. Raney ran 19:52.3 to finish 50th and was less than a second away from the record she set last season.
Stacy Emmerling was Bryant’s second finisher at 109th in 20:59. Other Lady Hornet finishers were Melinda Murdock (167th, 21:39), Marley Adams (168th, 21:40), Kat Bolton (188th, 21:51), Ashlyn Lessenberry (217th, 22:17), Stephanie Cyz (272nd, 23:20), and Skylar Combs (282nd, 23:37).
“I was really proud of Hannah today,” said Lady Hornets coach Danny Westbrook. “She raced hard and came through with a really good time. I thought Melinda, Marley, and Kat did a good job of pack running but we need to move all of our runners closer to Hannah in order to improve as a team.”
The contingent of Bryant Junior Lady Hornets that ran at the Chile Pepper Invitational moved up in distance this week going from their normal 2 mile race distance to 5K (3.1 miles). Bryant took second place in the team competition bringing home one of the coveted top three team awards given out.
The Junior Lady Hornets scored 151 points. There were 33 teams and 410 total finishers in the race. Siloam Springs won team title with 99 points. Tupelo, Miss., was third with 170 points.
Bryant was led by Caitlyn Bell who finished in 19th place with a time of 22:00. Close behind was eighth-grader Hannah Shelby in 20th place in a time of 22:02. The remaining scorers were Sarah Cowell (32nd, 22:25), Lauren Ackley (33rd, 22:28), and Hadley Dickenson (66th, 23:10). The rest of Bryant’s finishers included Abby Ostem (80th, 23:31), Jenna Freeman (87th, 23:40), 93rd, 23:48), and Hailey Levinson (157th, 24:57).
“Our junior girls handled the extra race distance really well,” Westbrook commented. “It was great to have a team on the podium receiving one of those top three trophies. Especially in a race as big as Chile Pepper.
“I thought Caitlyn and Hannah did an excellent job working together up front today,” he added. “Sarah Cowell and Lauren Ackley had good races today as well.”
The Bryant cross country teams will next be in action at the 7A-Central Conference championship meet to be held in Cabot on Oct. 24.