FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – By the slimmest of margins, a pair of Sooner seniors, Molly Williams and Waymon Storey, Jr., saw their dreams of a trip to the NCAA Championships and their OU careers end Saturday.
Williams and Storey were joined by sophomore Sarah Tolson and freshman Hayden McClain as the only Sooner competitors on the third and final day of the NCAA West prelims Saturday.
Williams finished in the dreaded 13th spot with a career-best time of 4:21.49, just .01 away from the final qualifying time. To advance to Eugene, Ore., competitors had to finish in the top 12. Her time did move her up to fourth all-time in OU history.
"We had a couple of tough breaks in Molly's race, finishing 13th by .01 seconds," Sooner head coach Jim VanHootegem said. "It was the end of a great season and these were two great days for her. She did an amazing job."
While Storey finished 16th overall with his time of 20.86, the final qualifying time was just .076 seconds faster. The mark of 20.86 was a season-best mark for the Sooner.
"Waymon did a great job with a big season best," VanHootegem added. "That was another good way to finish off as a senior, with a good effort and he gave it his all."
McClain finished 15th in the triple jump after jumping 50-11.5 (15.53m). He recorded that mark, a season best, on his first jump of the competition before having fouls on two of his last three attempts. An earlier season mark for McClain was wind aided.
"Hayden got himself into position with that first jump. We figured he would probably get six jumps with that one. Then he kind of slumped after that," VanHootegem explained. "He tried to rally at the end and had a huge foul. We liked seeing that -- you have got to have a go for it. I think he is very capable. He just needs more consistency in his execution because he is a good competitor. I know technically that was a PR for him and will push him up through the school ranks. In this meet, that is not what you're going for -- you're going for top 12. I was really happy to see him go for it on the sixth jump, but he was just a little bit over the board."
Tolson, OU's fourth competitor on the final day, saw her season end with a 25th place finish in the hammer with a mark of 180-6 (55.02m).
"Sarah did a great job at Big 12 to earn her way to this meet. We hope she builds off this experience as she prepares herself for next season."
While no qualifiers were added on the final day, six Sooners, Elizabeth Herrs, Avione Allgood, Ashley Kowalewski, Garrett Snow, Brandon Doughty and Alex Deir, will make the trip to Eugene. The NCAA Championships, hosted by the University of Oregon, are scheduled for June 11-14.
"A lot of our qualifiers are people who have a really good chance at the next level," the Sooners' coach said. "If they just keep doing what they're doing and competing the way they are competing, they should do very well at the next meet."
|13||Molly Williams||Women's 1500||4:21.49*|
|15||Hayden McClain||Men's Triple Jump||50-11.5*|
|16||Waymon Storey Jr.||Men's 200||20.86|
|25||Sarah Tolson||Women's Hammer||180-6|
* Denotes personal record.