COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Behind the winning performances of senior Molly Williams and junior college transfer Abbabiya Simbassa in the mile run, the University of Oklahoma track and field programs performed well in the distance events in Saturday's Texas A&M Invitational.
Williams won her race with a time of 4:51.54, just a second slower than her career-best time in the event. Simbassa, in his first mile race as a Sooner, won the men’s title with a time of 4:06.38. OU also got points in the mile from third-place finisher and redshirt freshman Dylan Blankenbaker (4:12.58) and senior Patrick Gomez, who finished eighth with a time of 4:16.39.
“Our milers were a highlight,” said head coach Jim VanHootegem. “Molly competes incredibly well and I hope others on our team are watching and can follow her example.
“(Simbassa) continues to improve and his confidence keeps growing.”
Oklahoma found success in the other distance races, placing two runners in the top five of the men’s 5,000-meter run. Eric Graf finished second with a time of 14:53.04 and Will Hogston finished third in 14:54.04.
Malcolm Wankel and Elena Arriaza also had top-five finishes in the longer events. Wankel placed fifth in the men’s 800-meter run with a time of 1:52.14. Arriaza placed third in the women’s 3,000-meter run with a time of 9:53.28, an improvement of just over four seconds in her career best.
On the strength of the distance performances, the Sooner men finished third in the team standings. The women were seventh.
Waymon Storey Jr. had another career day on the track, finishing with a personal-best time of 21.11 in the 200-meter dash, a mark good enough to rank sixth all-time in program history. He finished seventh overall in the event.
Daye Shon Roberson had a good day on the women’s side of the 200, finishing sixth with a time of 23.72, which also ranks sixth all-time for OU.
The field events produced several top-five Sooner finishers. Brooke Garner finished third in the women’s shot put with a season-best 49-1.50. Austin Perry placed fifth in the men’s event with 58-2.00. Tyler Sergent finished just behind Perry in sixth with a 54-4.50.
Nolan Hay finished fifth in the long jump after recording a 23-4.00 and Everette Favor placed third in the pole vault after clearing 16-9.25.
“We had some great individual performances,” VanHootegem said. “But I think our coaching staff was slightly disappointed we didn’t have better performances across the board.
“However, we still believe we have a lot of people who are capable of stepping up at the Big 12 Championships.”
Today's meet marked the final competition for OU before the league meet. The Sooners will head to Ames, Iowa, for the 13th annual Big 12 Indoor Championships, scheduled for Feb. 28-March 1.