FAYETTEVILLE- On day 1 of the Tyson Invitational, the Oklahoma track and field teams were thoroughly tested but were still able to set six personal bests.
The level of competition showed itself today, as many Sooners struggled throughout the day in their events, going up against some of the top teams and athletes in the country.
The 60-meter hurdles and 60-meter dash events whittled down the competitors from the qualifying heats to the preliminary round to get the final eight athletes. Although OU had some runners reach the preliminary round, no OU athlete was able to break through to reach the finals.
Olivia Haggerty made it to the preliminary round in the 60-meter hurdles, but her 8.29 time was not fast enough to make it to the finals. Bianca Brazil set a personal best in the event with 8.56 in the qualifying round, placing her eighth on the all-time top 10 program list. However, neither she nor CeCe Jackson (8.68) nor Medinah Spencer (8.93) advanced to the next round. Bryce Douglas (8.05) and Steven Jazdyk (a PR of 8.23) made it to the preliminary round of the men’s 60-meter hurdles, but were unable to advance to the final with their time of 8.06 (Douglas) and an improved PR time of 8.22 for Jazdyk.
In the 60-meter dash, Leya Buchanan and Amanda Van Buren made it to the preliminary round, but their times of 7.46 (Buchanan) and 7.58 (Van Buren) didn’t advance them to the finals. Alexis Barnes ran a 7.76 and Brazil a 7.60, but didn’t advance out of the qualifying round. In the men’s 60-meter dash, Bennie Wesley (6.95) and Jackson Webb (6.97) were unable to make it out of the qualifying round with their heat times.
“It was an extremely tough competition,” stated head coach Jim VanHootegem. “Some people ran well but didn’t make the finals. We were still pleased with their efforts.”
VanHootegem was also still able to see and appreciate the progress and milestones that were achieved today by several student-athletes in several events.
“Several people took big steps forward today. Olivia was just off her personal best in the 60-meter hurdles. She ran in a way that will help her achieve her highest level. Others included Bianca in the 60-meter hurdles and Mia in the 400 meters. Steven is a hept athlete and went up against top hurdlers. He was able to set PRs in each round. They all took a big step forward.”
The day started off with Mukes finishing 16th (with a PR of 54.82) and Payton Baker 19th (55.29) in the 400-meter dash. Mukes improved on last week’s time of 55.00, and currently sits with the 10th-best time in program history in the event.
Elsewhere on the track, Liam Meirow and Brendan Taylor both competed in the mile run, placing seventh (4:14.73) and eighth (4:17.51), respectively.
The bright spots were in the form of the personal bests set. As mentioned earlier, those included Mukes in the 400-meter as well as Jazdyk and Brazil in the 60-meter hurdles. One of those also came from Calvin Miller, who ran a PR time of 1:53.1 in the 800-meter race to take third place.
The final two of PRs came in the women’s weight throw. Jess Woodard threw a 63-0 (19.20m) and Ashley Bryant a 61-2 (18.64m), leading to Woodard finishing fourth with Bryant coming in sixth. Camille Burge's best mark was a 48-1.25 (14.66m) to finish in 17th place. Woodard’s result moved her from fourth into a tie for third in OU program history in the event. Bryant currently has the sixth best mark.
The accomplishments of Woodard and Bryant were not lost on the head coach, who was quick to mention their new place in school history.
“We were pleased with the weight throw. Jess and Ashley both recorded top marks in school history today.”
VanHootegem mentioned Greg Vann as someone who stood out as he had the highest finish of the day. He finished second in the long jump with a mark of 24-6.25 (7.47m). Coming off a personal-best jump of 20-10.00 (6.35m), last week, Baileh Simms followed that performance up with a ninth-place finish in the long jump with a jump of 20-1 (6.12m).
To close the day’s events, Everette Favor placed seventh in the pole vault with a clearance of 17-4.50 (5.30m).
“We got a sense of what it takes to compete against top competition and the execution level needed,” VanHootegem explained. “At this type of meet, we need to be at our absolute best.”
The Sooners will have another chance to make strides tomorrow as events resume with the women’s pole vault at 11 a.m. The first event on the track will be at 1 p.m. with the women’s 200-meter dash. Live results will continue to be shown at Flash Results. TheSEC Network+ and WatchESPN will have live action Saturday starting at 1 p.m.
Action will continue for OU in the Husky Classic Saturday as well. A recap of each of the meets will be posted at the conclusion of the day on Soonersports.com. As always, follow Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (OU_Track) for meet updates.