AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Oklahoma track and field teams concluded their fourth, and final, day of the Texas Relays, held at Mike A. Myers Stadium, on Saturday in the best way possible: with a win.
A day after Ama Pipi, Mia Mukes, Daunicia Demerson and Payton Baker qualified for the finals with the top time in the 4x400-meter relay at 3:36.31, the four improved their time to win the final with a time of 3:35.51 on Saturday afternoon.
Pipi opened up the relay and handed it off to Mukes with OU in the lead. Mukes took the lead and stretched it out to just over a second before handing it off to Demerson. The University of Georgia, in fourth at the 800-meter mark, rallied and temporarily caught up with Demerson heading into the final curve on the third leg. That proved to be the push the redshirt senior needed to kick it into another gear and she handed off to Baker, the anchor leg, with OU holding nearly a two-second lead. That slight scare was as close any team got to the crimson and cream. Baker crossed the line at 3:35.51, more than three seconds better than the next finisher, Georgia, who crossed at 3:39.11.
The day on the track proved to be good to the Sooners, especially for Demerson and Baker. The final day for the duo featured a win, and a top-3 finish in their other relay event. Demerson, Baker, Hayley Redwine and Belle Wallace started the day’s track events with a third-place finish in the 4x800-meter relay, recording an 8:51.82.
“As a whole, our women’s team was up to the task,” praised head coach Jim VanHootegem. “ It is a relays meet, so we were quite pleased with doing well in the 4x8 and the 4x4.”
Later in the day, Olivia Haggerty ran 13.47 to finish seventh in the 100-meter hurdles. Wallace returned to the track to run the 1500-meter, in which she finished 10th(eighth among collegiate athletes) with a time of 4:39.26.
In the field events, the Sooners had mixed results.
Participating in the long jump for the first time this outdoor season, and in her first long jump competition since the NCAA Indoor Championships, Baileh Simms placed fifth with a jump of 20-5.25. She recorded that mark twice in the event, on her second and sixth attempts.
Jess Woodard did double duty as she competed in both the discus and the shot put. On the opening round of the discus, section A, Woodard threw a 163-3.00, which proved to be her best mark of the competition as she finished in ninth. Less than an hour after the conclusion of the discus, Woodard competed in the shot put, section A. In that event, Woodard threw a 51-5.75, also on her opening throw. It would prove to be her only legal attempt of the six rounds, and it resulted in a sixth-place finish.
Jenny Carmichael and Meia Gordon competed in the B section of the discus, where Carmichael finished eighth with a throw of 155-2. Gordon had three fouls in the event, and didn’t place. Kenzie Shell was unable to record a height in the pole vault.
Attention for Oklahoma now turns to the Rafer Johnson-Jackie Joyner-Kersee Invitational next Saturday, hosted by UCLA.
“We are looking forward to seeing who responds for the meet at UCLA,” stated VanHootegem.