TEMPE - Day 1 set up the weekend and the Oklahoma track and field teams came through on Day 2 to produce a successful season opener at the Baldy Castillo Invitational. Full of positive performances, the Sooners added the first two titles of the outdoor season Saturday at Sun Angel Stadium.
Kenzie Shell started her outdoor season by capturing the first event title for the Sooners. She cleared 13-5.25 in the pole vault for the win. Teammate Meagan Gray tied for second with a 13-1.50 to complete the 1-2 sweep for OU.
Not 30 minutes later, the Sooners picked up their second victory of the weekend as the women’s 4x400-meter relay team of Ama Pipi, Daye Shon Roberson, Daunicia Demerson and Payton Baker ran a 3:37.48 to take the event.
In total, day 2 produced two wins, four PRs and another addition to the school record book.
Hayden McClain, coming off an indoor triple jump All-America performance, continued that success in the long jump. The Phoenix, Ariz., native set a PR in the long jump. He jumped a PR of 25-0 on his second attempt, only to surpass it in the fourth round with a 25-0.50. He finished second overall, but first among all college athletes.
Thomas Cheval set a PR of his own in the event, improving his mark in the long jump to 24-3.00 to finish fourth among college participants. Greg Vann’s best jump was a 24-5.75 to finish ahead of Cheval, finishing second among college participants.
Bradley Daboub threw a 144-9 in the discus in his first outdoor competition as a Sooner. Meia Gordon’s best throw came in the fifth round when she threw 158-2 to place sixth overall. Jenny Carmichael placed eighth with a throw of 156-9, recorded on her opening throw. Jess Woodard’s best mark of the afternoon was 146-4 and Sierra Sheen threw 142-11 in her first competition as a Sooner. When taking into account only college competitors, Gordon finished fourth, Carmichael sixth, Woodard 12th and Sheen 15th.
Gordon and Daboub also competed in the shot put when they threw 45-10 and 54-8, respectively. Daboub finished ninth, while Gordon finished 10th..
In the high jump, Dean White was the top finisher for OU with a height of 6-9.75, resulting in a fifth-place finish. Carl Williams was ninth with a jump of 6-8. Garrison LeRock cleared 6-4 on his final attempt. Makayla Stephens followed that up with a fourth-place finish on a jump of 5-7.
T.J. Noonan threw 209-10 in the javelin to finish seventh. Steven Jazdyk’s opening round mark of 149-8 was his best mark of the competition.
The group of Bianca Brazil, Ama Pipi, Daye Shon Roberson and Leya Buchanan ran a 44.35 in the 4x100-meter relay to finish second. That time ranks as the eighth fastest in school history.
Jamarkus Birks, Jackson Webb, Trae Armstrong and Bennie Wesley ran a 40.29 to finish sixth in the men’s 4x100-meter relay.
In the men’s 110-meter hurdles, Bryce Douglas finished as the runner-up with a time of 14.41. Jazdyk ran a 15.64. Olivia Haggerty had the best finish among collegians with a time of 13.60 in the 100-meter hurdles. Brazil ran a 14.18 to finish eighth among collegiate athletes in the race. Stephens ran a 14.47 and Medinah Spencer a 15.11 to round out the Oklahoma entries in the event.
Mia Mukes returned to the track to run the 400-meter dash later in the afternoon, posting a 55.79 and finishing sixth overall, fifth among college athletes.
Armstrong also returned to the track to run the 100-meter dash where he was the overall runner-up at 10.39, but was the best collegiate finisher. Wesley also ran the 100-meter dash and finished fifth overall, but the fourth-best collegiate finisher at 10.55. Buchanan led the women in the 100-meter dash with a third-place finish and a time of 11.51. Pipi finished with a time of 11.72 for 10th (eighth in collegiate competition) and Amanda Van Buren ran an 11.89. Baileh Simms with an 11.99, her best time at OU. Brazil ran 12.02 and Haggerty ran a 12.39.
The women had four top-10 finishers in the 800-meter run. Demerson finished second with a time of 2:10.46. Belle Wallace ran a PR of 2:10.51 to finish third and Payton Baker finished behind her in fourth at 2:10.98. Hayley Redwine placed eighth at 2:12.93.
In the men’s 800-meter run, Grayson Haws was the top finisher with a 1:49.79 and a sixth-place finish (fifth among college competition). Calvin Miller was the next Sooner to finish at 1:53.22 and Brendan Taylor recorded a 1:58.96.
"We had a lot of good things happen today," said head coach Jim VanHootegem. "First, we had several good group performances. The relays, men's long jump and women's 800 all did well. Secondly, we love to see growth. Jenny Carmichael and T.J. Noonan are seniors who had their best meets as Sooners. On the other side, we had several freshman who had great outdoor debuts.
"I would be remiss if I didn't mention a great race by Grayson Haws. And then there's Hayden McClain, who comes right off of an NCAA fourth-place finish in the triple jump with a huge PR in the long jump, bettering 25-0 twice."
Next up for the OU track and field teams is the Bobby Lane Invitational next Saturday in Arlington, Texas.
"Our staff feels this was a good start to the season, but we are all anxious to see more improvements as we head into the UT-Arlington meet."