Hornets a strong second at OBU
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, BryantDaily.com will continueposting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on BryantDaily.com (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).
ARKADELPHIA — Junior Ethan Blakley and sophomores Joey Fuoco and Josh Harrison each finished in the top 10 as the Bryant Hornets finished second only to the Lake Hamilton Wolves at the Ouachita Baptist University Invitational cross country meet on Saturday, Sept. 10.
Lake Hamilton won the 18-team, 176-runner event with 57 points. The Hornets finished just eight points off the pace. Christian Brothers Academy of Memphis was third with 78 points followed by Cabot with 141.
In junior high competition, Bryant was just six points off Lake Hamilton’s pace in an eight-team competition featuring 119 runners. Lake Hamilton had 49 points, Bryant 55 with Lakeside a distant third with 93.
Blakley paced the Hornets’ effort with a third-place finish, clocking in at 16:41. Fuoco then led a group of sophomores in the next six Bryant finishers. He was eighth overall with a time of 17:50. Harrison was 10th in 17:54.
The Hornets were still without sidelined juniors Chris Robinson and Zech Krick. Head coach Steve Oury indicated that both would be back for the Bryant Invitational at Mills Park on Saturday, Sept. 17.
Bryant’s scoring quintet at OBU also included Cody Fiser (23rd in 18:30) and Todd McAdoo (25th in 18:34). Ben Higgs wasn’t far behind, finishing 29th in 18:39 followed by junior Alvin Rapien (32nd in 18:51).
Also competing were Zack Orick (20:21), Preston Adami (20:56), Tyler O’Neal (20:57), Jeremy Cox (22:37) and Ben Griffin (23:49).
“I had some worries before the race because we have been training pretty hard and the guys have been complaining of various aches and pains,” Oury related. “But when the gun went off we really stepped up and ran some great races.
“Ethan has been running a lot of miles in training and for him to run as fast as he did off of no speedwork shows that he is gaining the strength he will need to see him through the long cross country season,” Oury added.
“I was especially proud of our sophomores,” he said. “Fuoco and Harrison really stepped up in the third mile and are starting to show some of the potential that I knew they had. Fiser, McAdoo, Higgs, and Rapien did a great job of pack running and should gain confidence from this meet.
In the junior boys run, Bryant was paced by eighth grader Austin Benning. He was ninth overall with a time of 12:02 over the two-mile course. Freshman Brandon Mueller was 13th in 12:11 while Jacob Clark, another eighth grader, turned in a time of 12:19 good for 16th. On his heels was freshmen Danny Powell (17th in 12:20) and Cameron Whaley (20th in 12:22) to complete the scoring five.
Also in a pack with Clark, Powell and Whaley were Drew Persinger (22nd in 12:32) and eighth grader Dillon Rhodes (23rd in 12:33).
“That was an awesome display of cross country running by our junior boys,” Oury declared. “We had a 22-second gap from our first to fifth man, which is almost unheard of, and only 31 seconds from first to seventh.
“Lake Hamilton placed three runners in the top 7, which is tough to overcome,” allowed the coach. “They are very strong up top, but we placed seven runners before their fourth. It was a very close race and hopefully we’ll get another chance to race them.
“Austin Benning is a heck of a competitor,” Oury noted. “He only knows one speed and he’s fearless. I’m looking forward to watching all of these guys develop over the next few years.”
The Bryant junior contingent also included Colton Klaas (12:50), Matt Norton (12:53), Chris DuBose (13:04), Chad Swanner (13:30), Ian Russell (13:31), Cash Lambert (13:36), Matt Gray (13:49), Jonathan Kooiman (13:58), Trenton Palmer (14:06), Brett Carter (14:10), Matt Hill (14:21), Zach Graham (14:21), Daniel Tucker (14:21), Josh Spurlock (14:23), Tyler Webb (14:28), Jared Helms (15:26), Whit Pruitt (15:39), Levi Lindsley (15:42), Ken Vega (17:22), and Nick Love (17:44).