Led by a school-record tying high jump by Josh Robinson and the consistent excellence of Chris Barrientos, the Bryant Hornets finished a strong second to the surprising Benton Panthers at the annual Hornet Relays at Bryant Stadium on Tuesday.
It was the first meet for the Hornets, who have been weathered out in their others, since the State Indoor in early February.
“It was nice to get a meet under our belt,” stated Hornets head coach Steve Oury. “It’s been a long time since the State indoor meet.”
Robinson cleared 6’6” to tie a record set in 1990 by Robert Amos.
“Josh’s performance — I’m not surprised he did well and won it, but to tie the school record — he jumped 6’6” which was a four-inch personal record,” Oury said. “He also had a really good attempt at 6’7”. So, I think he’s pretty determined now to get that school record all to himself.
“He’s been an excellent leader so far, being a senior” the coach mentioned. “Also, some of the other seniors have really stepped up, Braylon Butler, Chris Barrientos; guys have really led by example.”
Barrientos won the 3200-meter run with a time of 9:54.79.
“Chris was having a little bit of leg pain before the two-mile, so we decided to just kind of take it easy the first mile, run with the pack, just to kind of feel things out,” Oury said. “He was feeling pretty good, so he went ahead and accelerated and ran a strong second mile.”
Bryant also won two of the three relays accumulating 83.5 points to Benton’s 92. Conway was third with 73 in the 24-team meet which included five of the eight teams in the 6A-Central Conference, Cabot, Little Rock Central and North Little Rock along with Conway.
“We had all the conference teams in it except for the two Fort Smith schools and Catholic High,” Oury acknowledged. “Looking at it, I think Conway is probably going to be the favorite in our conference and I don’t think they were at full strength at our meet. At the same time, we also had some kids that could’ve run more events than they did.
“Overall, I was pleased,” he continued. “I think it was encouraging. It should give us some motivation that we have a chance to compete in our conference.”
Along with Robinson in the high jump, Braylon Butler scored by clearing 5’8”.
The Hornets won the 4×800 and the 4×400 relays. In the former, Jake Dreher, Hagan Austin, Bresner Austin and Ammon Henderson turned in an 8:26.29 to beat out Conway (8:38.39).
In the latter, J’Lun Herron, Darrick Rose, Logan Kretsch and Robinson turned in a 3:32.49. Benton was second at 3:34.51.
“I thought our middle distance and distance runners did a good job,” Our said. “Our 4×800 relay ran well.
“We’ve kind of built some tradition in the 4×400,” he added, “so those guys don’t want to let that drop so they did a good job.”
Individually, Bresner Austin finished second in the 1600 with a time of 4:39.45. Greenbrier’s Dominic Ward won the event with a 4:37.46.
Michael Chatmon’s discus throw of 130’ was second only to Conway’s Korlin McKinney (139’02”).
Robinson and Henderson added third-place finishes. Robinson’s came in the 400 with a time of 52.36. River Gregory was seventh for the Hornets in 53.22. Henderson’s came in the 800. He clocked in at 2:05.61 with Kretsch sixth (2:08.75).
Though only two placements contributed to the score of each team, Austin Hagan’s 2:09.29 was good for seventh and Dreher’s 2:09.57 was good for eighth in the 800.
Braden Williams led the 4×100 relay team, which finished fourth in 45.00. He was joined by Robinson, Butler and Joseph Young. Individually, Williams was also seventh in the 200 at 23.29.
In the shot put, Luke Blacklaw’s heave of 42’9” resulted in a sixth-place finish.
Oury lauded his coaching staff and thanked all those on the Bryant athletic staff who helped with the meet.
“We’ve got some new coaches on the staff,” he said. “They’re doing a good job. B.J. Shuller is my assistant and he’s a hard worker and is doing a great job. Cindy Jones was on the staff last year but, this year, she’s coaching both the boys and the girls jumpers. She’s doing a nice job.
“We also have a couple of coaches who are volunteering,” Oury mentioned. “We have DeAngelo Arnett. He’s working with our sprinters. And Brooke Meister, formerly Brooke Higgs, has been helping us out with our middle-distance runners. So, it’s been nice having their input. They bring a lot of energy.”
Bryant is scheduled to return to competition on Thursday, March 28, at the Ram Relays at Hot Springs Lakeside.