At the 54th annual Meet of Champions held Saturday at Lake Hamilton High School, Bryant sophomore Alexis Royal won the triple-jump title.
With wind speeds up to 25 mph buffeting the competitors, Royal jumped 36 feet, 11 inches on her second attempt to secure her victory.
Royalâ€™s margin of victory was a full 10 inches farther than the other competitors. Jasmine Marks of Camden Fairview was second with a jump of 36â€™1.
SHERWOOD â€” The game of softball is all about momentum, and in Mondayâ€™s semifinal game between Benton and Mountain Home momentum was being tossed between the two teams like a hot potato.
â€śWe got the most out of our momentum,â€ť coach Eric Ryan said. â€śWe would get it and they would get it. We would go back and forth.â€ť
The Benton Lady Panthers scored five runs in the seventh inning to defeat Mountain Home 7-5 to advance to their third straight 6A State Final in Fayetteville.
By beating Little Rock Catholic 7-6 Monday in the 7A State Tournament semifinals in Fort Smith, Bryant advances to the championship game, which it is looking to win for the second straight year.
The Hornets will take on championship-round host Conway at 5:30 p.m Saturday.
Head coach Kirk Bock, whose team is 23-6 on the year (10-4 7A Central), said Saturdayâ€™s game against the Wampus Cats â€śis going to be a chore.â€ť
â€śWeâ€™re kind of tired of playing people in our conference,â€ť Bock said, laughing.
After the Lady Beaversâ€™ season came to an end Friday, Glen Rose head coach Kyle Lem said it will be difficult to replace the teamâ€™s five senior starters.
Particularly his two starting pitchers, seniors Madison Jacobs and Tiffany Houpt.
Seniors Stephanie Farber (center field), Hollie Boles (shortstop) and Katie Peterson (left field) also will be graduating â€” and leaving big shoes to fill.
Still, Lem said his squad has a strong foundation to build on for the programâ€™s future.Â
Both defending state champions advanced to the 7A State Tournament semifinals Saturday, with the Hornets beating Cabot 7-5 and the Lady Hornets beating Springdale Har-Ber 10-0.
Hornets head coach Kirk Bock said the wind at the tournament in Fort Smith was a major factor in the game.
"They did a great job of scattering some hits around," he said. "It was unbelievable how hard that wind was blowing. Defensively, any popup was an adventure."
SHERWOOD â€” Before Saturday's game against Russellville, Benton head coach Eric Ryan was unsure who he would start in the circle. With three quality pitchers to choose from, anyone could have started, but Ryan decided to go with the proven-senior leader Jessica Smith.
"She has had a little bit more pop on her fast ball and good movement," Ryan said.
It paid off as Smith pitched a complete game, allowing just one run (earned) on three hits with four strikeouts and one walk as the Lady Panthers defeated Russellville 7-1 at Sherwood in the second round of the 6A State Tournament.
The Harmony Grove Lady Cardinals scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning to defeat Perryville 4-2 in the first round of the 3A State Tournament at Prescott High School Friday afternoon.
In the seventh, Morgan Ramsey reached on a one-out walk and with two outs senior Kaylee Allen hit a line drive up the middle to move Ramsey to third. Macy Coffee walked to load the bases and two runs would score on a hit by Stephanie Parins.
Molly White gave Harmony Grove a two-run lead when she single home Coffee.
When the Hornets and Lady Hornets step onto the diamond today, both teams will be battling for a second straight state championship â€” a feat scarcely seen.
And if you ask either coach about the otherâ€™s team, youâ€™re bound to hear similar words of respect and admiration.
Baseball head coach Kirk Bock said, â€śWeâ€™re pretty good, but theyâ€™re really good,â€ť adding that softball head coach Debbie Clark â€śdoes a tremendous job with those girls.â€ť
For Bryant head coach Kirk Bock, the Hornets have lived up to the title of defending state champions.
â€śTheyâ€™ve done everything were asked them to and more,â€ť he said. â€śTheyâ€™ve battled hard all year.â€ť
And after winning the 7A Central again, this weekend Bryant (21-6, 10-4) heads into the 7A State Tournament in Fort Smith as a No. 1 seed, looking to repeat last yearâ€™s championship run.
With a first-round bye, at noon Saturday the Hornets will face the winner of Fridayâ€™s game between Springdale Har-Ber and Cabot.
It has been a dream for Brad Matthews to coach at one of the highest levels in high school basketball. Wednesday night, that dream came true as Matthews was hired as the new head coach for the Bryant Lady Hornets.
â€śIâ€™m excited,â€ť Matthews said. â€śIt is a tough conference, and it is going to be a great challenge. It is something Iâ€™m looking forward to doing.
â€śBryant has a great girls basketball program.â€ť