Tough Contest: Bryant top 10 at state

LITTLE ROCK – The Bryant Lady Hornets finished sixth and the Hornets eighth, while both Benton boys and girls took 16th in the 2014 7A/6A Arkansas State High School Swim Championships this past Friday with Catholic High School hosting. Bentonville ran away with the state meet with the girls scoring 471 points to top second-place Conway (253), and the boys topping Little Rock Central by 149 points, 409 - 260.
The Bryant girls were eight points away from taking the fifth spot from Cabot, finishing with 160 points. The Bryant boys were even closer to the seventh spot, scoring 126 points to Conway’s 127. The Lady Panthers netted 56 points, while the Panthers scored 52.
Bryant’s Minki Kang would get the opening first place for Saline County teams, taking first in the 200-yard freestyle, winning with a time of 1:44.35, besting second place (1:46.37) by two full seconds. It wouldn’t be the only top spot Kang would achieve as he took first in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:38.89, bettering second place (4:46.37) by seven seconds.
Kang wouldn’t be the only Saline County swimmer to take two first-place spots. Benton’s Hope Ernhart would take the top spot in both the 50 and 100 freestyles, edging the second-place finisher by less than a second in the 50, 24.46 to 24.81 (five other swimmers were within a second of Ernhart), and by an even closer time in the 100, 53.92 to 54.03. Bryant’s Lindsey Butler took the third spot in the 100 with a time of 54.43.
Butler, who holds the state record in the 100 backstroke at 58.23, would take first in the event on Friday in a time of 59.14, edging second place’s time of 1:00.08. Benton’s Jenna Jamison took 10th in 1:06.55 and Bryant’s Katie Higgs 11th in 1:06.91.
Benton’s Garrett Sullivan would take second in the 100 backstroke to state-record holder Joseph Giles’ time of 50.76, finishing runner-up with a time of 54.02.
Bryant’s Justin Combs finished fourth in the 1-meter dive with a score of 336.81, with Bentonville’s Terrell Palmer setting a state record with a score of 448.83. Bryant’s Scott Mead (279.27) took sixth and Lucas Reitenger was eighth, scoring 248.31.
The Lady Hornets team of Butler, Libby Thompson, Higgs and Ploy Freebairn finished fourth in the 200 medley relay in a time of 1:59.95. Bryant’s Chandler Reep finished fifth in the 100 breaststroke in 1:03.46, and Benton’s Sullivan took sixth in the 100 butterfly in 56.09.
Higgs, Kalee Jackson, Freebairn and Butler finished sixth in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:48.59, and Bryant’s Andrew Ball, Trace Rhode, Ray Weldon and Kang also took sixth in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:37.20.
Bryant’s Rachel Vos, Reagan Smith, Jacey Bittle and Jackson took seventh in the 400 freestyle relay in 4:16.35, Freebairn finished ninth in the 200 freestyle in a time of 2:12.67, and Higgs took 10th in the 200 IM in 2:32.13.