Improvement shows for Lady Hornets at home meet
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).
NORTH LITTLE ROCK — This second place finish was better than the other second place finish.
Bryant Lady Hornets head coach Dan Westbrook was not happy with his team’s effort after a second-place finish at the season-opening event at Ouachita Baptist University. On Saturday, Sept. 15, however, the Lady Hornets finished second again.
“I thought our girls competed better this week,” he stated. “Cabot put three runners in the top five and anytime you do that you are going to be tough to beat. We have not done any real speed work yet, so I feel like we can close the gap on them.”
Cabot won the Bryant Invitational, held this year at Burns Park due to construction at Bishop Park in Bryant. The Lady Panthers finished with 52 points to Bryant’s 69 in a field of 13 teams and 153 runners.
Bryant’s junior girls finished fourth out of 14 teams and 169 runners in their division. Both teams were scheduled to run at the UALR Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 22.
Sara Coker led the Lady Hornets, finishing 12th in a time of 21:57. Lennon Bates also earned a top 15 medal by finishing 14th in 22:02. Brittany Hairston, who led the team at OBU, was the third Lady Hornet to finish. Her time of 22:08 was good for 17th and came despite the fact that she sprained her ankle early in the race. Sam Wirzfeld (25th, 22:35) and M’Kenna Moore (29th, 22:48) completed the scoring group for Bryant.
“I thought Brittany Hairston ran a gutsy race to finish after spraining her ankle and Sam Wirzfeld really stepped-up this week,” said Westbrook.
Batesville won the junior girls division with just 22 points, followed by Russellville (101), Cabot North (105) and Bryant.
The Junior Lady Hornets were paced by Dylan Vail who finished sixth overall with a time of 13:31.
“I thought Dylan ran strong today,” Westbrook said. “She continues to improve and is learning how to race.
“As a team, I thought our junior girls were a little flat,” he added. “We packed pretty well but we didn’t get out and establish a presence up front like we needed to.”
Kaytlyn Stracener was Bryant’s second runner, finishing 20th overall with a time of 14:50. She was followed by Stacie Watie (33rd, 15:14), Lauren Reed (36th, 15:15) and Callie Smith (39th, 15:23) to complete the scoring five.
“I thought Stacie, Kari Henderson and Natalie Graham ran strong,” Westbrook commented.