Raney’s finishing kick garners top finish but Lady Hornets edged out for team honors

RUSSELLVILLE — Led by senior Hannah Raney’s dramatic come-from-behind individual victory, the[more] Bryant Lady Hornets finished a close runner-up at the Russellville Cyclone Invitational Saturday.

Little Rock Christian won the championship with 50 points with Bryant finishing just one point behind. Lake Hamilton took third with 58 points followed by North Little Rock (151), Bentonville (185), and Hall (196). There were 17 teams and 162 total finishers in the race.

Raney, running a distant third most of the race put in a strong surge over the last quarter mile and sprinted by the two leaders as they approached the finish line. Her winning time was 19:39.

“Hannah’s victory was really exciting and I thought all our top five had outstanding performances,” stated Bryant coach Danny Westbrook.

Melinda Murdock also had a strong finish taking fourth place with a time 19:46. Caitlyn Bell (10th, 20:38) and Talyn Billins (12th,20:47) also received top 20 medals. Lauren Ackley closed out Bryant’s scorers at 32nd place with a time of 22:07.

Finishing out the top eight was Kat Bolton (69th, 23:26), Alyssa Cordova (71st , 23:28), and Alanna Cordova (72nd, 23:28).

“I was extremely proud of how our girls ran today,” Westbrook asserted. “As a team, I thought we raced hard. I thought Caitlyn Bell and Talyn Billins really did well and had breakout performances.

“It’s tough to lose a big team competition like this by just one point, but that happens in cross country sometimes,” the coach concluded. “If just one of our top five girls were to have passed anybody from another team at the finish, then we would have won. That kind of what-if sure makes it hard on the coach.”

The Lady Hornets will travel to Fayetteville this Saturday for the annual Chile Pepper Invitational.

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