Royal, Murdock lead Bryant quartet in State Heptathlon with top 10 finishes

FAYETTEVILLE — Bryant junior Melinda Murdock set a new State Heptathlon record in the 800-meter[more] run on the second day of the annual event Thursday. Murdock finished seventh out of 64 competitors while teammate Alexis Royal, a senior, garnered a fourth-place finish overall.

In addition, junior Leah Ward and sophomore Jayla Anderson competed representing Bryant. Ward finished 25th with 3,352 points and Anderson was 40th with 2,984 points.

Awards were given to the top 10 finishers.

The Heptathlon champion was Kelsey Herman of Crossett with 4,844 points. Defending champion Payton Slumbaugh of Springdale Har-Ber was second with 4,538. Bentonville’s Logan Morton was third with 4,100 points followed by Royal with 4,071.

Murdock completed the seven events with 3,899 points including her record 2:15.35 time in the 800, which eclipsed the previous best of 2:18.77 set in 2004 by Paige Ferrell of Springdale.

“I thought our girls did a great job representing Bryant High School at this event,” stated Lady Hornets coach Danny Westbrook. “Alexis’ fourth-place is the highest finish anyone from our school has ever gotten. Melinda’s record-setting 800-meter run was really amazing. She ran the entire race out front completely by herself. There was nobody in her heat even close.”

On the first day, Royal accumulated 802 points with a time of 15.30 in the 100 hurdles; 637 for her long jump of 17’3.75”; 287 for a discus throw of 20.53; and 713 with a time of 67’4.25” in the 200-meter run.

Murdock, meanwhile, picked up 782 points in the 100 hurdles with a time of 15.46; 514 for her long jump of 15’10.25”; 300 for her discus throw of 69’7”; and 756 for her 200 run of 26.48.

On the second day, Murdock’s record 800 run added 888 points. In the high jump, she cleared 4’2” for 379 points and her shot put toss of 20’1.25 garnered 280 points.

Royal cleared 4’6” in the high jump for 481 points; threw the shot 27’8” for 427 points; and ran a 2:27.55 in the 800 to pick up another 724 points.

“Both Alexis and Melinda were really wanting to take home one of the coveted top-10 plaques,” Westbrook said, “and when they final results were announced that they did finish in the top 10, they were very excited.”

Ward was 22nd after the first day accumulating 316 points with a 19.84 clocking in the 100 hurdles; 617 for her long jump of 17’1”; 298 for her discus throw of 69’4”; and 696 for her 200 run of 27.18. On day two, she added 481 points for her high jump of 4’6”; 410 for her shot put of 26’9.75”; and 534 in the 800 which she finished in 2:43.41.

Anderson ran a 17.59 in the hurdles for 532 points; leapt 14’2” for 384 points in the long jump; threw the discus 53’3.25 for 211 points; and ran a 28.78 in the 200 for 571 points. On Thursday, she cleared 4’6” in the high jump for 481 points; heaved the shot 24’1.25” for 357 points; and ran a 2:51.48 in the 800 for an additional 448 points.

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