CABOT — It says a lot about the quality of the Bryant cross country program that, in a year in which[more] the varsity team is basically retooling, the Hornets placed third at the 7A-Central Conference championship meet.
This year’s powers, Little Rock Catholic and Cabot, finished a close 1-2 with 30 and 34 points respectively. The Hornets finished with 100 points holding off North Little Rock (111) for third. Conway finished with 147 followed by Little Rock Central (148).
Six of Bryant’s top seven runners were underclassmen including sophomore Tyler Purtle who paced the effort. He finished the 5k (3.1 mile) course in 17:40 to take 13th place overall. Freshman Connor Wilson ran his way to a top 20 finish, second best for the Hornets, turning in an 18:04 clocking to place 19th. Another sophomore Clifton Hampton was close behind. His 18:07 was good for 22nd.
Sophomore Nick Ballew finished 33rd in 18:47 followed by senior Peter Alverio (34th in 18:57), junior Damian Kropp (37th in 19:09), and sophomore Alex Hunt (41st in 19:21).
"We ran a pretty good race,” said Hornets coach Steve Oury. “I knew we were looking at a third place finish if we ran decently, because Catholic and Cabot are both loaded with talent. North Little Rock ran very well and really pushed us for the third spot.
“It was nice to see Connor Wilson step up as a freshman and run well,” he added. “Purtle did a good job for us up front, and Hampton also ran a personal best.
“We will now focus on preparing for the State meet in Harrison, which is supposed to be a very hilly, rugged course."
The Class 7A State meet will be held on Saturday, Nov. 5.