AMES, Iowa— Dylan Blankenbaker has found a way to turn distance races into sprints and fantastic finishes. As a result, the first day of the Big 12 Indoor Track and Field Championship was one of nonstop action and results for the Oklahoma track and field teams.
A Big 12 Title and PRs the Story on Day 1
By Allison Weiss
FEBRUARY 24, 2017
Blankenbaker outleaned Hassan Abdi of Oklahoma State to win a very close 5,000-meter race. Blankenbaker recorded a 14:22.27 while Abdi had a 14:22.29. Eric Alldritt finished 11th with a time of 14:40.08.
It marked Blankenbaker's first Big 12 title after a runner-up finish in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, in much the same fashion, last year.
Makayla Stephens started out the day for OU with a third-place finish in the pentathlon with 3,780 points. CeCe Jackson started the competition, but was unable to finish. She finished third in the 60-meter hurdles at 8.49 for 995 points. Stephens set a personal best in her heat with 8.85 and earned 941 points. In the high jump portion, Stephens tied for fourth with a height of 5-5.75, earning 818 points. Jackson sustained an injury during the high jump, and was unable to continue in the competition.
Stephens finished third in the shot put with a throw of 36-2.25, adding 597 points to her total. The pentathlon moved to the long jump, where Stephens earned 732 points after a jump of 18-5. In the last event, the 800-meter run, Stephens crossed the line at 2:30.07 for 692 points.
After seven events in the heptathlon, Steven Jazdyk sits in seventh place with 2846 points. He won the 60-meter dash with a 6.93 for 907 points, followed by a 21-7.50 in the long jump for 718 points. In the shot put, Jazdyk threw for a 39-1.75 and 602 points. He finished the day’s events with a 5-10.5 in the high jump for 619 points.
The Sooners tallied 32 points to end the day in third in the women's standings. Eight of the points came from the weight throw. Jess Woodard (61-5) finished fourth for five points and Ashley Bryant (59-5.75) was sixth for three points. Other competitors were included Meia Gordon (52-2.75), Camille Burge (54-0.50) and Jenny Carmichael threw a PR of 48-6.25.
Kenzie Shell was the runner-up in the pole vault with a height of 13-8.50 for eight points. Meagan Gray was sixth with a clearance of 13-4.50, earning three points for OU. In the long jump, Baileh Simms had a PR of 20-10.50 to finish third.
On the men’s side, OU finished day one in third with 24points. Following Jazdyk's start in the heptathlon, Greg Vann finished fifth in the long jump with a jump of 23-11.50. Thomas Cheval (22-8) finished ninth and Hayden McClain was 13th with a jump of 21-6.25 in his first appearance in the event this season. The men picked up four more points in the weight throw with Charles Nguyen and Bradley Daboub recording marks of 60-4.50 and 47-2.50, respectively, finishing fifth and 14th overall. Everette Favor placed sixth in the pole vault to earn 3 points with a height of 16-7.50.
Many of the track events that took place throughout the day were to claim a spot in tomorrow’s finals. Bryce Douglas (8.10) and Olivia Haggerty (8.29) advanced to their respective finals in the 60-meter hurdles. Ama Pipi and Leya Buchanan advanced in the 60- and 200-meter events. Buchanan recorded a 7.39 in the 60, the second-best qualifying time, and a PR 23.76, among the top four times in the 200. Pipi had a 7.41 in the 60, a top four time, and a 23.38 in the 200, the second-best time.
Payton Baker advanced to the finals in the 600-yard run with a PR of 1:20.26. Belle Wallace will be in the 1000-meter final after running a PR of 2:49.09 and Jacob Burcham advanced on the men’s side with 2:25.41. Daye Shon Roberson ran a 54.53 in the 400-meter dash to qualify for finals as well.
Amanda Van Buren ran a 24.35 and Jackson Webb a 21.67 in the 200-meter prelims but didn’t advance to the finals. Bianca Brazil narrowly missed the finals in the hurdles with a PR time of 8.53. Simms also competed in the 60-meter dash, running a time of 7.53, to match her PR time. Brazil ran a 7.60 and Van Buren a 7.61 in their heat of the 60-meter dash but also missed the finals. Webb ran a 6.85 in his 60-meter dash and Bennie Wesley a 6.96, which didn’t qualify either for their event finals. Grayson Haws finished his mile run in 4:36.10 for 11th place.
In the men’s 800-meter run, Blake Yount ran a time of 1:53.45 and Jacob Goldberg posted a 1:55.33 but neither times were among the qualifying times. Mia Mukes ran 55.35 in her 400-meter dash heat but didn’t advance. Hayley Redwine (2:54.20) and Heath Warren (2:30.20) both ran PRs, but weren't able to break the top eight times in the 1000-meters.
In the women’s 5,000-meter run, Brittany Tretbar led the Sooners with a 13th-place finish and a time of 16:49.60. Isabella Rose followed in 17th with a PR of 16:59.10. The men’s DMR team of Liam Meirow, Tyler Hart, Calvin Miller, and Burcham finished in 10:02.03 for sixth place. The women’s team of Redwine, Medinah Spencer, Lane Maguire, and Wallace placed eighth at 11:48.92.
Head coach Jim VanHootegem evaluated the day with a so-so reaction, finding the positives in certain performances while wishing that the team could have found more success.
“Overall, I was pleased. Any time we have people who don’t do things the way we want them done by Oklahoma track and field athletes, it’s very disappointing. We never want to see that. We’ve already partially not achieved our mission, which was having everyone on the team have a good track meet.
“Now that said, we can’t take anything away from great performances at the meet and the great efforts. Obviously, starting off with conference championships are special and Dylan is a senior who does all of the right things. His reward is a conference championship. Baileh is another senior who does the right things. She was up against the nation’s best jumpers and she got another personal record. That’s getting her that much closer to an elite level. There are people who might not have made the finals or might not have scored points but they gave it a big shot. We’re pleased with those people. Then you have Charles Nguyen, who was injured, and he went out and tried to figure out a way that he could score points for the team.
“While there are a lot of great takeaways from today, overall, I’d have to say that we’re disappointed. We didn’t have enough of our team do well.”
Action resumes tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. (CT) with the three remaining heptathlon events. Live results will be available at http://results.deltatiming.com/big-12/tf/2017-big-12-indoor-championships?DB_OEM_ID=10410. Updates will be provided via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at OU_Track and a final recap will follow the conclusion of the championship meet on Soonersports.com. FloTrack will also have live coverage, accessible for subscribers.