September 19 in Bryant athletic history: 1998

Lady Hornets impressive at Pottsville CC 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, 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).

POTTSVILLE — On a sultry, late morning run that included so many teams they had to be organized by classification, Bryant’s Lady Hornets took top honors at the annual George Jones Invitational Cross Country meet Saturday on the course that will host the Class AAAAA State Championship later this fall.

Once again, Bryant freshman Gina Messina paced the field, though this time it had to be a come-from-behind effort that just edged out Harrison’s Heide Vondermadt. Messina ran a 16:10 and Vondermadt, a move-in that’s been added to a squad full of returnees from the AAA State championship team of 1997, finished in 16:19.

On the boys side, Conway continued its surge into state prominence by winning the team title, though Russellville’s Matt Hill was the individual medalist. Bryant was a disappointing fifth with no one finishing in the top 15.

The Lady Hornets placed three in the top 10. Frosh Mandy Medlin was sixth in 17:01 and senior Ashley Leonard ninth in 17:04.

“The Harrison girl got a 30-meter lead on Gina early and (Messina) really had to work,” commented Bryant head coach Dan Westbrook. “It was the first time she’s really been challenged and I was glad to see it. It was good for her.”

The Lady Hornets edged Harrison for the team title 67-70. Lake Hamilton was third with 95 followed by Shiloh Christian (130), Russellville (136), Conway (154), Hot Springs Lakeside (169), Siloam Springs (178), Fort Smith Northside (246) and Crossett (261).

Westbrook still expressed concern about the gap between the Lady Hornets’ top three runners and the fourth and fifth girls. “Denise Whitworth had a rough day,” he mentioned. “But Angela Garner was in the top five for us. She got our outstanding performance award. We’ve still got to work on closing down that big gap.”

Garner was 26th with a time of 18:43 followed by Whitworth in 28th with a time of 18:47.

Also for the Lady Hornets, Johnna Harrison finished 30th in 19:10, Melanie Steele finished 31st in 19:11 and Jill Glenn took 32nd in 19:14. Andrea Anders’ 20:05 was good for 39th with Carrie Jackson 48th in 20:45 and Jennifer Smith 51st in 20:49. Carly Harris ran a 23:29 (74th), Courtney Brown a 24:09 (79th), Candace Fletcher a 25:45 (86th) and Suzanne Gibson a 26:06 (89th).

The Hornets, on the other hand, ran as a group, Westbrook noted, but not as well as expected.

“They’re not getting it done,” he said. “They know they can do better and they say they can. Hopefully, we’re going to get some cooler weather and we’ll put in some speed work this week to try to improve those times.”

The Hornets’ top runner was Chris Brewer who finished 18th in a time of 18:18. The next six Bryant runners grouped between 27th (Travis Bull’s 19:03) and 36th (Nick Taylor’s 19:34). Tim McCall was 28th in 19:06 with Josh Williams 30th in 19:15, Jason Mazurek 34th in 19:29 and Tim Dennis 35th in 19:30. Cory Everett wasn’t far off that pace, running a 19:46 to finish 40th.

Mazurek, in the top five for the first time, received Westbrook’s outstanding performance award.

Casey Jacuzzi ran a 20:27 for Bryant, finishing 51st. Graham Linder ran a 20:48 (58th), Matt Standfill a 21:02 (62nd), Andrew Jones a 21:59 (72nd), Wade Tollett a 22:25 (78th), Zach Martin a 22:28 (79th), Nate Johnson a 23:37 (89th) and David Glenn a 29:20.

Conway’s team total was 48. Siloam Springs was second with 65 followed by Van Buren (90), Russellville (108) and Bryant (121). Lake Hamilton was sixth with 182 points followed by Crossett (225), North Little Rock (287), Little Rock Central (288), Sheridan (304) and Vilonia (318).

Berryville swept the AAA-AA competitions at the meet. The boys, behind individual medalist Carlos Arrison, dominated the 13-team field with 55 points to second-placed De Queen’s 106. The girls, led by medalist Whitney Barr, topped an 11-team field with 45 points, three fewer than second-place De Queen.

This Saturday, the Bryant teams (including the junior high squads) will run at the UALR Invitational.

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