Lady Hornets edge in 3-team battle
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).
If Bryant Lady Hornets coach Danny Westbrook needed an illustration of why gaps between runners, even if they’re trimmed by passing just one more runner, can make such a difference, he surely got it Saturday at the Bryant Invitational at a packed Mills Park.
The Lady Hornets, embroiled in a three-team battle, wound up two points shy of winning the meet as the Mount St. Mary’s Belles finished with 49 points to Bryant’s 51. Russellville was third with 53 as four points separated the top three squads. Magnet Cove was a distant fourth with 121 points.
In the junior girls competition, Russellville prevailed with 42 points claiming the top three places individually. Bryant was second with 52, Cabot third with 68. Nine teams competed in the junior girls division, 10 in the high school division. The meet brought together over 500 runners and 32 teams in four divisions.
“It’s tough to lose a meet championship by only two points but sometimes it can be that close in this sport,” Westbrook said. “One place or two at the end of the race can make a big difference.”
Ashley Williams of Mount St. Mary’s was the individual medalist with a time of 15:58. Laura Insell of Batesville was second in 16:05 barely edging Bryant’s Candice James (16:08). Mandy Medlin was fourth for the Lady Hornets with a time of 16:16 and Bryant got a third top-10 finisher when Jessica Graham claimed 10th with a time of 17:12.
“I was happy with our times because I can see we’re getting faster and our gaps between runners are improving,” Westbrook mentioned. “I thought Jessica Graham and Melanie Butler really stepped up and ran well today.”
Butler was 20th overall with a time of 18:12. Jamie Waldron completed the Lady Hornets’ scoring five, placing 27th in 18:36.
The Lady Mustangs, meanwhile, packed their scoring five in the top 16. The top two claimed top 10 spots. Mary Edwards finished sixth in 8:04 with Kim Bergen 10th in 8:09. Cari Odle just missed the top 10. Her 8:13 was good for 11th with Nicole Snyder 14th in 8:16 and Nicole Sample 16th in 8:21.
“Our junior girls are still pack running great with only 16 seconds separating our top five,” Westbrook stated. “Today, we let the three Russellville girls get out ahead of us and we couldn’t catch them. Next week, when we see them again at the Russellville Invitational, we are going to try to go out faster and not have to play catch-up like we did today.”
The Bryant Junior High teams will race at Russellville while the high school teams take a weekend off.