March 11, 2014

Dalton’s Bryant shows versatility

By Devin Golden

— Dalton High School’s Adrianna Bryant is only a sophomore.

She’s already making a name for herself in track and field with multiple appearances at the top of the results sheet.

Bryant was a winner in the high jump, 100-meter dash and 300 hurdles at Saturday’s Northwest Whitfield/Southeast Whitfield Invitational, and she was part of the victorious 400 relay squad. She was one of three named the most valuable runner for the girls, but that should be just the start of her medals.

When Bryant entered Dalton’s program as a freshman, Dalton coach Pam Brackett knew there would be a battle for the athlete amongst the rest of the coaching staff.

“I think you just think, ‘Gosh, what a lot of potential. What events should we put her in?’” Brackett said. “All the coaches want her. Every coach says, ‘I need her for the pole vault,’ or ‘I need her for the triple jump.’ When you have an athlete like that, it’s a discussion of which coach gets her. Where does she best fit?”

Apparently, she fits almost anywhere.

Bryant never tried a hurdles race before Saturday, and Brackett said beforehand, “This may be interesting.”

Sure, if winning is interesting.

She wants to mirror another Dalton track and field star, the recently graduated Susan Meinders. The 2013 graduate won the 2012 Class 3A state title in the 300 hurdles, finished fifth last season and seventh in 2011.

Meinders, who signed an athletic scholarship to continue her track and field career at the University of Northern Colorado, was one of The Daily Citizen’s two 2012 All-Area Spring Female Athletes of the Year, with the other being Dalton golfer Brendie Rockholt.

“I was kind of scared because we had a senior (Susan Meinders) last year,” Bryant said. “She kind of took over. I told coach Brackett I wanted to be the next Susan Meinders. She said, ‘We’ll see.’ Here I am doing everything.”

Of course, Brackett is willing to let Bryant try as much as she wants. That’s the best route for an athlete like the sophomore, who also plays basketball.

“Our philosophy is we try whatever we think she’ll do well at and whatever she wants to try,” Brackett said. “She has definite things she wanted to do. So you go with those things first and see how they work. Then you go, ‘How about this?’ So we try her in a lot of different things and will move her around during the year, because we think that’s good cross training. That’s our philosophy here.”

Bryant won the 100 in 12.5 seconds and the hurdles in 51.28 seconds. Maybe the most impressive was the high jump winning jump of 5 feet.

“We haven’t had a high jumper reach 5 feet in a long time,” Brackett said.

After Saturday’s performance, Bryant is someone who could make the state meet in many events. She was a sectionalist in the 200 dash and 400 relay her freshman season.

“I feel I’m on the edge to make it to state this year,” she said.

And eventually — probably not this season, but eventually — she’ll settle into her niche events, even if it’s spread throughout the running and field portion. For now, though, expect to see her name called out a lot.

“There seems to be some things you settle in, and we’ll know this soon,” Brackett said. “We’re letting her spread her wings.”