NEW YORK CITY - The University of Oklahoma track and field teams started the Armory Track Invitational off strong with four wins, four athletes moving onto the finals tomorrow and eight personal bests. Jess Woodard won the women's shot put. Joining her in the winner's circle were Baileh Simms in the long jump, Everette Favor in the pole vault and Eric Alldritt won his section of the men's 3000-meter run.
Alldritt had a strong close in the bell lap to pass Connor Hendrickson of Texas to take the win with a 8:20.15. Alldritt’s finish was a personal best by 23.5 seconds.
For Simms, it was a consistent performance in the sand pit. She jumped 20-00.25 (6.10m) on the first attempt and 19-11.00 (6.07m) on the second. Either of those jumps would have given her the win, but her best mark came on her last jump. Her final jump in the event was a mark of 20-10 (6.35m). The mark was a personal best and is tied for seventh in the nation and is second in OU program history. Simms has won all three long jump events she's competed in this season.
Woodard threw 53-11.25 (16.44m) on her fifth attempt, improving upon her previous best, 52-10.25 (16.11m), in the competition. Woodard threw 16.00m or better on three of her six attempts, a feat in itself, since none of the other 32 competitors threw better than 52-6.00 (16.00m). The second-place finisher, Sade Olatoye of Ohio State, had a best mark of 52-01.25 (15.88m). Woodard has won every shot put event she has entered this year.
Meia Gordon finished fifth in the shot put with a 48-00.50 (14.64m) which she achieved on her fourth round attempt (first round of finals).
Favor is also undefeated for the year as he won for the fourth time in four meets with a height of 16-10.75 (5.15m) in the pole vault.
Steven Jazdyk finished seventh in the event with 15-11 (4.85m).
For those in the 60-meter dash and hurdles, their success today meant they earned another race tomorrow. Leya Buchanan and Ama Pipi advanced to the final in the 60-meter dash with their times of 7.38 and 7.41, respectively. Olivia Haggerty ran a PR of 8.30 in the 60-meter hurdles semifinal to advance to the final. Her time puts her in sole possession of third place historically in the Oklahoma program. Bryce Douglas will also be running tomorrow in the 60-meter hurdles after his 7.99. The 60-meter dash will take place at 12:31 p.m. (CT) tomorrow, while the men's hurdles will be at 12:26 (CT) and the women's hurdles at 12:20 (CT).
Mia Mukes (55.00 in the 400-meter), Belle Wallace (2:51.57 in the 1000-meter run), Dean White (6-11.75, 2.13m in the high jump), Bianca Brazil (8.66) and Medinah Spencer (8.86) in the 60-meter hurdles) all recorded personal bests in their individual events. White and Mukes moved into 10th on the all-time top 10 at OU with their marks.
Elena Arriaza and Isabella Rose started off the invitational for OU with the 3000-meter run. Rose was second to cross the line at 9:40.39, while Arriaza was fourth with a 9:43.78. Rose’s time puts her eighth in program history in the event between current Sooners Arriaza and Brittany Tretbar.
Head coach Jim VanHootegem gave credit to Rose, Arriaza and Alldritt for starting off the meet in a positive manner for the Sooners, which was felt throughout the team.
“I was so pleased with the way that the day started with the 3,000 meter. I was really pleased with the races of Elena and Isabella, and Eric winning his event really helped get people fired up. They were getting ready to warm up for their events, to start their events. It’s important that whoever is on the track first or in the ring first or on the runway first sets a good tone for the team. I was really pleased with the 3,000-meter people for doing that.”
In other events that took place today, Thomas Cheval and Greg Vann tied for 13th in the long jump with a distance of 22-07.25 (6.89m). Jackson Webb, Robert Charlton and Jazdyk made it to the semifinals of the 60-meter dash, but did not advance with their times of 6.93 (Webb), 7.00 (Charlton) and 7.02 (Jazdyk).
Likewise, Amanda Van Buren (7.60), Brazil (7.62) and Alexis Barnes (7.76) made the semifinals of the 60-meter dash on the women’s side, but were unable to make the final with their times. Brazil’s 8.66 and Spencer’s 8.97 in the 60-meter hurdles semifinal were also not enough to advance to the final. Makayla Stephens ran an 8.92 in the event’s preliminary heats, which did not qualify her for the semifinal.
Tyler Hart competed in the 500-meter run and finished 11th with a time of 1:06.47. In the men’s 1000-meter run, Jacob Burcham was fourth at 2:26.54 and Heath Warren 19th at 2:35.79. Payton Baker ran in the 400-meter dash with Mukes and finished in 56.14 for 11th place.
As is the case with most meets, VanHootegem had mixed feelings about how the day went for his teams.
“It was somewhat to the extremes. I think we started seeing some people that need to do a better job of figuring out how to perform in their events. Then we are seeing some outstanding performances. Olivia is one, Baileh is another, both with some of the best marks in OU history. Dean also is one of the outstanding people for us today.
“Then you have people like Everette and Jessica, who don’t have to have their best day to have a good day,” he continued. “They are just able to perform. Now they are still striving to have their best day, but they are at a level where they are still competitive and able to win their events. We have some people that need to work more at learning their events and learning how to be good at this. It starts to separate either way against better competition. People who understand their events, they pulled away.”
Action resumes bright and early tomorrow for the Sooners as Stephens will be in the women’s high jump starting at 8:15 (CT) and Tretbar will be running the mile at 8:20 (CT).
A recap of the day’s events will be posted at the conclusion of the day at Soonersports.com. Updates will also be provided throughout the day on Twitter and Facebook for those following at home. Live results can also be found on ArmoryTrack.com.