Sooner Women Win Team Title in Nebraska

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Allison Weiss
By Allison Weiss
Student Assistant
JANUARY 21, 2017

LINCOLN, Neb.- Using 10 event wins and nine personal bests, the Oklahoma women accumulated 184.50 team points to win the team title at the Mark Colligan Memorial in Lincoln, Neb., on Saturday.

Host Nebraska finished 44.50 points behind OU with 140 points, followed by Houston (105 points) and Wichita State (98.50 points). 

“I am really proud to have a women's team that can come up to Lincoln and beat a great program like Nebraska,” praised fourth-year head coach Jim VanHootegem.

Much of the success on the women’s side was due to the number of events in which the Sooners took first and second place including the pole vault (Kenzie Shell and Meagan Gray), the 5,000-meter (Brittany Tretbar and Isabella Rose) and the mile (Belle Wallace and Sarah Scott). The 16 points earned for each 1-2 event finish helped create separation for the Sooners, which allowed them to lead in the team total throughout much of the day.

For the women, today's results were truly a team effort and goes back to what VanHootegem preached heading into this meet.  It was going to take everyone doing their part and executing their role in order for the team to have collective success.  

"I hate to miss someone, but Olivia Haggerty is one who really demonstrates what we are trying to be as a program.  As does Isabella Rose," commended VanHootegem.  "It’s a long list, but we are certainly excited about the big-time performances we had from Ama Pipi and Jess Woodard.  But we are just as excited about the efforts of Hayley Redwine and Lauren Gibbs.  In short, we were just really pleased with the focus and mentality of this group at this point of the season."

The men produced wins in the pole vault (Everette Favor) and 5,000-meter run (Dylan Blankenbaker) with 11 personal bests being set.  

They finished third as a team with 134.50 points. Nebraska won the men’s team title with 161 points and Houston took second with 135.50 points. Wichita State came in fourth overall with 102 team points. 

“The score was reflective of where we are with our women's and men's teams at this point.” VanHootegem added.

"We got a pretty good glimpse at the character of the individuals on this team," he continued.  "The good news is that we have a lot of people who have asked enough of themselves to develop this. What remains to be seen, is how many more want to start making positive changes like their teammates have."

Several Sooners followed up their wins last weekend with a win Saturday. Some required personal bests to do so. Leya Buchanan and Olivia Haggerty recorded their second consecutive event wins in the 60-meter dash and the 60-meter  hurdles, respectively. Haggerty ran a personal-best 8.38 while Buchanan repeated a 7.38 from last week.  

Winning for the second week in a row were Favor (16-10.00, 5.13m) and Shell (13-04.50, 4.08m) in the pole vault, Jess Woodard in the shot put with a personal-best 56-06.50 (17.23m), and Baileh Simms in the long jump (19-06.25, 5.95m).

Earning their first wins of the year with PRs were Blankenbaker in the 5,000-meter run with a personal-best time of 14:19.00, Ama Pipi with a personal-best 23.44 in the 200 and Payton Baker in the 600-meter run at 1:31.91. Other winners included Wallace in the mile run with 4:52.07 and Tretbar in the women's 5,000-meter run with a 16:58.08 after she won the mile a week ago. The 4x400-meter relay group, Pipi, Medinah Spencer, Mia Mukes and Baker, won with a time of 3:41.50, although it was a different quartet in the race. It also was a slightly different length for the race with a mile relay victory in last week’s win. 

Other Sooners setting personal bests were: Eric Alldritt in the 5,000-meter (14:45.42); Ashley Bryant with 60-8.75 (18.51m) in the shot put and in the 60-meter dash, Simms (7.54) and Amanda Van Buren (7.57). Bradley Daboub improved on his results from last week in the shot put (52-1.00, 15.87m) and weight throw (47-02.50, 14.39m).  

The 200-meter dash had four personal bests set in the women’s event alone with Alexis Barnes (25.00), Van Buren (25.21), Pipi (23.44) and Buchanan (24.13). In the men’s 200-dash, three Sooners, Robert Charlton (22.74), Jackson Webb (21.86) and Isiah Irby (22.42), improved their times. Charlton also improved his time in the 60-meter dash (6.95) while Steven Jazdyk (8.34) and Bryce Douglas (8.06) did so in the 60-meter hurdles.

Even if the intention isn't to set personal bests, the amount of PRs set in the first two weeks of the season seems to indicate the work the Sooners have put into perfecting their craft.

"We don’t focus on trying to achieve personal bests as much as the things that will ultimately lead to that," explained VanHootegem.  "All of these PRs were related to people making positive changes in doing things well and taking chances to become better.

"If we can consistently focus on things that are under our control, we feel good about where we can end up in the next four months or so."

Both teams will get back to work and will be back in action next weekend as they host the J.D. Martin Invitational at the Mosier Indoor facility on Jan. 27-28.  

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