September 28 in Bryant athletic history: 2002

Hornets keep improvement going

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).

MOUNTAIN HOME — Senior Cody Walker turned in what head coach Bodie Nance called his best performance of the season as the Bryant Hornets finished fourth overall and second among Arkansas schools at the Mountain Home Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 28.

The field included a West Plains, Mo., team that is ranked No. 4 in the nation by Harrier magazine.

The Bryant Mustangs captured the junior boys team title, placing six runners in the top 10.

“We knew we were lining up with some of the best runners in the country,” said Nance.

West Plains’ top four runners ran in a pack at the front of the race wire-to-wire and the team finished with 16 points. Mountain Home was second with 60 points followed by Carthage, Mo., with 62 and the Hornets with 123.

Walker finished 21st overall for the Hornets, turning in a time of 18:12. Zach Roberson was close behind in 27th place in 18:41. Josh Wright ran a strong last mile and finished 30th (18:53). Mark Pagan (34th, 19:17) and Bryan Ballew (36th, 19:35) finished out Bryant’s scorers.

“I was really proud of Cody this week,” said Nance. “He looked strong in the middle of the race and at the finish. It was definitely his best race of the season so far. Zach and Josh both had another consistent race. We have about a month until the conference meet and so far we are right on track to be at our best by those big meets at the end of the season.” 

The Mustangs were again led by eighth-grader Ethan Blakley who ran close to the lead with two West Plains runners most of the race and was able to pass one of them to take second overall. He was clocked at 8:25.

“Allen Trotter, Chris Robinson and Robert Graham did a great job of pack running to take successive places,” Nance mentioned.

Trotter finished fifth in 8:45, Robinson sixth in 8:45 and Graham seventh in 8:59. Andrew Linder completed Bryant’s scoring five, finishing ninth in 9:04. Justin Hefner also finished in the top 10 with a time of 9:22.

“The junior boys really raced well today,” Nance added, “beating one of the premier cross country schools in the south. I was particularly pleased with Allen and Chris who raced each other to the wire. Robert, Andrew, and Justin all had personal records today.

“Next week will be a big junior boys showdown with Lake Hamilton, Russellville, and Bryant all in the same field at the Russellville Invitational. I am really looking forward to it. I believe our guys are ready.”

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