POINT LOOKOUT — Spokane’s Sydney Bryan earned berths to State in four events during Class 2 Sectional 3 action at School of the Ozarks on Saturday.
Bryan finished runner-up in both the 100 hurdles (16.85) and 300 hurdles (49.11) to Jasper’s Crystal Smith, who is ranked first in Class 2 in both events.
“I knew that she was pretty fast going into it,” Bryan said. "I was hoping to get first, but I was thinking realistically she was going to push me to have a better time. I was hoping to get a PR with her helping push me.”
Bryan has made tremendous strides over the past year.
“I was pretty bad in the 100 hurdles. My best time last year was 17.9 and I just got a 16.85. I was at :52 in the 300 hurdles, now I’m at :49,” she said.
Coach Jeff Mitchem expects more improvement from Bryan.
“She’s still learning,” he said. “She’s only started learning three-stepping in the 100 hurdles. We’ve told her she’s going to have to three-step if she wants to hit (new) PRs. We think she has a chance to make all-state in the hurdles if things come around like they should. She will do big things next year.”
Bryan is approaching the same kind of success 2022 grad Maggie Czachowski enjoyed last year.
“I don’t think I would be where I am without her,” Bryan said. “We’re still good friends. I keep her updated. She’s taught me everything I know. She taught me to sprint fast in between the hurdles and stay low to the hurdles. It does’t matter how high you go over the hurdle, as long as you are fast in between them.”
Likewise, Bryan is serving as a mentor to freshman hurdler McKenzie Melton, who was sixth in the 100 hurdles (18.76) and seventh in the 300 hurdles (55.40).
“Running with her is great,” Bryan said. “She’s better than I was as a freshman. I have a lot of faith in her.”
Bryan would love to bring home new PRs and medals from State.
“I want to get top eight, but my time is my biggest goal,” she said. “I don’t care what place I get as long as I’m pushing myself to be better.”
Bryan was part of the Lady Owls’ 4 x 400 relay that was third (4:24) and was fourth in the 200 (27.70).
Duarte two-time qualifier
Spokane’s Gabriel Duarte was third in the shot put (45-1 1/2) and fourth in the discus (121-1).
He entered the meet seeded first in both events.
“The important thing is surviving and advancing,” Duarte said. “Last year at Sectionals, I did a double PR. But it doesn’t always happen. On my third throw in shot put, I had a 13-1. I can usually throw over 14-0 pretty easily. I realized then, ‘Maybe today isn’t the best day, that we’re going to pull it back, survive and move and come back next with some hard hitters.’”
Duarte felt his speed and explosiveness weren’t up to par.
“I was too slow,” he said. “If I could have sped things up a little more, I could have put one out there.”
Duarte’s PRs are 143-0 in the discus and 49-5 1/2 in the shot put.
“I know that if I can match my PRs, I can medal at State in both events, which is something I haven’t done before,” he said.
Hansen, Brown advance
Sparta’s Penelope Hansen was second in the shot put (34-4) and the Lady Trojans’ 4 x 800 relay was also second (11:17).
Megan Brown finished fourth in the javelin (100-5).