NORMAN— Home field advantage was at play on day two of the John Jacobs Invitational as the Oklahoma track and field teams broke two meet records.
Dylan Blankenbaker, who holds the school record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, added the John Jacobs Invitational meet record to his esteemed Oklahoma career. He ran the event in 8:49.48. Liam Meirow finished in second at 9:11.87.
Ama Pipi broke the meet record in the 200 meter with 22.95, a PR by .20, to take the event. Amanda Van Buren finished third with a personal-best time of 23.97.
“At the end of the day, it comes down to who those people are as athletes right now,” said head coach Jim VanHootegem. “Those results weren’t too far apart from each other, so maybe the wind was decent for Ama, but the temperature was cooler. Maybe the temperature was good for Dylan, but the wind was too high. They don’t care. They have the intention of doing well and are confident in their abilities. They see their job is to go out and perform, and I think that was why they were able to do that.”
Their records were two of the three set on Saturday. Wichita State’s Sidney Hirsch established a new best in the women’s steeplechase with a 10:34.16.
The Sooners added wins in the men’s javelin, men’s pole vault, men’s high jump, the women's 4x100-meter relay, men's and women's long jump and the women’s 100-meter dash.
Even if the weather may not have been ideal -- temperatures in the 50s, overcast skies and north winds that gusted to 30 miles per hour and in the next minute dropped to nearly nothing, the Sooners didn’t let the elements distract them from the task at hand.
“As was the case with Ama and Dylan, the same thing goes for Hayden McClain, Charles Nguyen and Hailey Patterson. They came out with the intention of doing well today and so the conditions didn’t really affect them. “
On his second attempt in the javelin, T.J. Noonan threw a distance of 204-09, which proved to be the winning mark.
Everette Favor vaulted a PR height of 17-1.50 to take the pole vault event. Favor, who has battled injuries the last two years, had cleared 17-0.75 to tie his previous PR in the first two meets of the season. On senior day, the fifth-year senior changed that mark.
OU’s Bianca Brazil, Pipi, Van Buren and Leya Buchanan won the 4x100-meter relay in 45.41.
In the women’s 100-meter dash, Buchanan ran a time of 11.57 to take the event title. Hailey Patterson ran a personal best of 11.89 and finished eighth.
Patterson also added a PR in the 200-meter dash at 25.10.
Trae Armstrong was the top Division I runner to finish the 100-meter dash at 10.36. Jackson Webb (10.57) and Robert Charlton (Robert Charlton) each recorded a PR in the event.
The Friday night times by Belle Wallace and Grayson Haws in their 1500-meter Invitational held as the top time, giving OU the event sweep.
The long jump was also a sweep for Oklahoma as Baileh Simms (20-10) and Hayden McClain (25-5.25) both had personal bests to notch the victories.
The men’s high jump saw the Sooners take the first three spots, behind a victory from Shonderius Howard, who had been out since late January with an injury. He set a personal best in the victory with 6-10.75. Carl Williams and Dean White also cleared 6-10.75, but Williams finished second and White was third based on attempts.
VanHootegem used Howard’s success today as an example for the team of wanting to compete.
“We train here. This should mean something in representing Oklahoma at a home track meet. A lot of times people get into a competition rhythm, but then you don’t want to get into complacency either. With Shonderius, if you don’t get to compete, you start to realize really quickly how much you want to be out there. I think that is the message to the people who had the opportunity today and didn’t take advantage of it. Shonderius hasn’t had the opportunities to compete for a long time, dealing with injury. Now he’s back and had that joy of competing and that joy of being out there. “
In the men’s long jump, Greg Vann finished third with 24-4.25 and Thomas Cheval was 10th with his 22-7. Joshua Foster (22-5) and Marcus Mitchell (22-3.50) both had a PR in the event.
Bradley Daboub set two personal bests in the discus and shot put. His 54-9.50 in the shot put resulted in a third-place finish and was eighth in the discus with his 158-08 effort. Four of his six legal attempts in the discus would have been a PR for him.
Taylor Click (1:53.13 ) and Brendan Taylor (1:56.77) also set personal bests in the 800-meter run.
When all events were scored, the OU and Nebraska tied for first on the women’s side with 191.5 points. The Sooner men finished second behind Nebraska with 176 points.
There were lots of bulletin board material for the team to draw from throughout the two-day meet, and hopefully the meet will prove to be a pivotal learning experience for the Sooners.
“The men have to make a decision. There’s not a complete lack of talent that makes us not win track meets. Even if we aren’t the more talented team, that doesn’t mean we don’t have enough talent to compete. I think some of that is just going to come down to do they care about this, do they care about each other? “
“On the women’s side, we have been a team that wins meets. Of course, we did win today, but we don’t consider getting a tie at home to be a win. We don’t feel good about it in that regard. On the women’s side, we had too many opportunities where we could have gotten those points simply if people had shown a little more confidence or care.”
The Sooners will have a short turnaround as they head to Penn Relays next, scheduled to begin on Thursday.“I hope somebody has a pulse and want to compete at the Penn Relays. That’s a prestigious event, with not only a lot of history, but big crowds. That’s our last regular season meet, so this is it. We obviously want to build some momentum going into Big 12 (May 12-14 in Lawrence). Ultimately, it’s all going to come down to what you do at Big 12. You can’t just wake up on the day of and figure it all out. We need to keep having good performances with those who are, and give another chance for people to figure some things out, and as a group build momentum.”