COLLEGE STATION, Texas– Junior Jess Woodard made sure to end her indoor campaign in the shot put on a high note.
After finishing eighth in last year’s championship with a throw of 55-11, Woodard improved not only her finish, but also her mark in this year’s event. In the first round of the competition held at Texas A&M’s Gilliam Indoor Stadium, Woodard threw a personal best of 57-7, which would stand as her best and only mark of the competition. Her mark resulted in a fifth-place finish, and made her a two-time first-team All-American.
“There’s not much more you can ask out of somebody than to come and set a PR in the first round,” says head coach Jim VanHootegem. “It means that she was ready to go. I’m not going to say that I’m disappointed, but I’m sure she’s going to say that she’s disappointed that she couldn’t correct her foul issue after that. I think she felt that she had a special one in her.
"Still, a year ago we were ecstatic for her to come to this meet and not throw close to that far. She’s come a long way. She continues to set high standards for herself. She's probably a little disappointed, but in the big picture, she’s still progressing all of the time. We’re pleased with Jess and how she’s done.”
Baileh Simms’ best mark of the day in the long jump, 19-8, also came on her first attempt, but she was unable to advance to the final rounds of competition. The senior finished 15th in the competition.
In her 200-meter preliminary heat, Ama Pipi ran a time of 23.21. That time was not among the fastest eight times from the 16 runners, and Pipi was unable to advance to tomorrow’s final.
While the results for Simms and Pipi weren't what everyone hoped for, each had highlights from the indoor season and an upcoming outdoor season to shift their focus to.
“They just weren’t at their best today. They didn’t look as sharp as they have looked. This is a meet where you have to be ready," VanHootegem adds. "If you are ready, then probably something good is going to happen. They obviously had great indoor seasons. Now it’s time for them to figure out what they can do to improve so they can make the finals at outdoor nationals. They both have been now a couple of times for OU, and I’m sure they want to make the finals.”
Oklahoma will have one competitor tomorrow, Hayden McClain, who will be competing in the triple jump at 5 p.m. (CT). ESPN3 will again be broadcasting the championship, starting at 4 p.m. tomorrow.