September 1 in Bryant athletic history: 2001

Lady Hornets finish first

EDITOR’S NOTE: Because the look back at each day in Bryant athletic history has been so favorably received during the time when there was no sports during the COVID-19 shutdown, will continueposting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).

LITTLE ROCK — The anticipated showdown involving the girls cross country teams from Bryant, Lake Hamilton and Mountain Home never really developed at the season-opening UALR Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 1.

Only the Lady Hornets of Bryant were at full strength and, as a result, they eased to victory with 33 points. Russellville was second with 42 followed by Vilonia with 53.

In junior girls competition, Mountain Home swept the first four places to cruise to victory with 17 points. Bryant was second with 52, nosing out Russellville (53) in the five team event.

Lake Hamilton’s Beth Madson was the individual medalist among the senior girls, running a 16:05.8. Due to injuries, Lake Hamilton and Mountain Home only ran four runners. (It takes five to establish a team score.)

The Lady Hornets were paced by junior Candice James who finished fourth in a time of 16:56.6. Senior Mandy Medlin also placed in the top 10. Her 17:23.7 was good for sixth.

In all, seven Lady Hornets finished in the top 25. Gina Messina was 15th with a time of 18:14.5 with Jessica Graham 18th in 18:34.9. Melanie Butler’s 19:38.8 was good for 22nd, with Jamie Waldron 23rd in 19:47.3. Melanie Steele ran a 20:04.4 to place 25th.

Also, Amy Whitworth ran a 21:04.7 (32nd) followed by Jessica Finley (21:48.4), Tonya Fowler (22:00.9), Stacy Hunt (22:03.5), Amy Griffin (24:27.1) and Amanda Young (24:59.5).

“I’m really happy to get this first win but I think we learned a lot,” said Lady Hornets coach Dan Westbrook. “First, I think we learned that you have to have five runners finish the race to gain a team victory and even though we were not having a great race team-wise the girls gutted it out and secured the win. Second, we learned that we need to improve our endurance. I think our speed is there but we really looked drained in the middle of the race. This week, we’ll throw in more mileage in practice to increase our aerobic fitness.

“I feel sure next week Lake Hamilton will be full strength and we’ll have to close our gaps between runners to have a chance to beat them.”

The Lady Mustangs were led by Cari Odle and Mary Edwards who both finished in the top 10. Odle’s 9:40.4 was good for sixth. Edwards was 10th in 9:51.8. She was followed in succession by Nicole Snyder, Kim Bergen and Nicole Sample finishing 11th through 13th, respectively. Snyder ran a 10:08.1, Bergen a 10:08.9 and Sample a 10:16.4 to finish out the top five.

Laura Mackey was right with that group as well finishing 15th in 10:38.4.

In addition, Jessie Sutton ran 26th in 11:34.8 followed by Jennifer Long (11:36.6), Teresa Alverio (12:03.0), Mikki Eichenberg (12:12.7), Tori Dunn (12:22.4), Diana Brewer (13:07.1) and Kayli Watkins (14:59.9).

“I was really proud of the way our junior girls went out front early and packed together,” Westbrook commented. “They showed some real grit and actually led the team race at the half-way point. Now, we need to concentrate on holding a strong pace all the way to the finish.”

This Saturday, the teams run at the OBU Invitational.

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