September 22 in Bryant athletic history: 2001

No. 1 Cyclones pace field at Bryant 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).

On a day when former Bryant Hornets’ standout Brian Bariola was winning the annual Fall Fest 5K, the Russellville Cyclones drew comparisons to the teams from Bryant’s glory days. The 1992 Hornets not only won a State championship but were ranked 19th in the nation. Russellville, after winning the talent-packed Southern Missouri Stampede in Joplin the week before, came to the Bryant Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 22, and narrowly missed posting a perfect score in the 13-team competition at Mills Park.

The Cyclones swept the top four positions and would’ve had their perfect score with the top five spots if not for the Hornets’ Graham Linder, who broke up the sweep by finishing fifth. If not for Linder and Bryant’s David Stafford, who finished seventh, Russellville runners would’ve claimed the top seven spots in the race. The only runner in the top 10 that wasn’t from Russellville or Bryant was Cabot’s James Melnick who placed 10th.

“Graham Linder ran with a lot of heart,” said Hornets coach Bodie Nance. “He was right with (Russellville’s) leaders for about 2 1/2 miles. Dave Stafford almost beat Russellville’s fifth man too. He was closing on the leaders late in the race.”

Brothers Chase and Travis Feltner were first and second, respectively, for Russellville which finished with 16 points. Cabot finished second with 89, edging Bryant by just five points. Little Rock Catholic was a distant fourth with 141 points.

The Feltners and Bryan Garner of Russellville each clocked in at 16:33. Eric Brock was fourth in 17:04 with Linder close behind at 17:16. Eric Hensley (17:21) nosed out Stafford by 0:01 for sixth.

Russellville also won the junior boys race finishing with 46 points to Bryant’s 51. Lakeside was third in the seven-team meet with 70.

The Hornets’ top five included Cody Walker who was 26th in 18:57, Ethan Thomason who was 47th in 19:48 and Thomas Spencer who was 52nd in 19:57.

There were 32 teams, over 500 runners in four divisions at the meet. With a good turnout of spectators, Mills Park was packed.

“Cody Walker ran well be we need for him to close the gap between him and Dave,” Nance said. “It was nice to see Ethan Thomason back in our top five and it looks like Thomas Spencer may be nailing down our fifth spot.”

It was clear early in the junior boys race that if was a two-team battle between arch-rivals Bryant and Russellville. The Whirlwinds placed three runners in the top 10, contributing to their edge. Bryant’s Austin Johnson was seventh with a time of 12:00. Teammate J.P. Snyder was eighth in 12:03.

Warren’s Montrail Brooks was individual medalist with a time of 11:23 with Benton’s Jacob Geurin (11:41) and Michael Gass (11:50) second and third, respectively.

“It was great to see J.P. Snyder back running strong after coming off an injury,” Nance commented. “He may be one of the ninth graders who will contribute to the high school when we move some of them up in a couple of weeks.”

The Mustangs’ scoring quintet also included Leon Spencer who was 13th in 12:24, Josh Wright (14th in 12:26) and Clayton Risner (17th in 12:37).

The Hornets will take next week off while the Mustangs travel to the Russellville Invitational.

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