PHILADELPHIA — After three days of competition at the 123rd Penn Relays, the University of Oklahoma track and field teams take away a weekend of successful results and severallearning opportunities.
In front of an announced crowd of 47,420, Hayden McClain used the energy of the crowd to his advantage as he took the championship triple jump title and set a PR in the process. He jumped 53-2.50, which was a personal best, only to follow that up with a 53-3. That mark puts him fourth in school history.
“Jess (Woodard) and Hayden really bookended our team's efforts with Championship of America titles,” said head coach Jim VanHootegem.
Oklahoma had three Championship of America finals on the final day of competition, which resulted in two runner-up finishes.
The women's 4x400 team of Ama Pipi, Daye Shon Roberson, Daunicia Demerson and Payton Baker flew around the track to record a 3:31.90 and a second-place finish. The time put them on the brink of school history. Not only a best for the group, it ranks as the third-best time in school history. Even more amazing, their time was 0.09 seconds from tying the school record of 3:31.81 established in 1998.
“The 4x400 relay is often the heartbeat of great track teams. This was a wonderful group effort, one which I hope inspires all of our team," VanHootegem explained.
The women's 4x200 team of Leya Buchanan, Amanda Van Buren, Demerson and Medinah Spencer clocked 1:34.60 to finish second. The men's 4x100 team of Greg Vann, Jackson Webb, Trae Armstrong and Bennie Wesley finished eighth with a time of 41.21.
The men's and women's 100-meter dash finals produced two personal bests for the Sooners. Buchanan ran 11.39 to finish fifth. In the next race, Wesley ran a personal best 10.46 to finish seventh.
“In between (Jess and Hayden), most of our athletes really gave themselves a chance to get caught up in the competition. We saw that with Leya and Bennie today. They were in blazing fast races but didn't panic and came away with PRs.”
In the women's 100-meter hurdles final, Olivia Haggerty ran 13.69 for a fifth-place result.
Dean White cleared 6-9.75 in the championship high jump to place fourth. Charles Nguyen threw 208-5 to finish sixth in the championship hammer throw.
Both the college and championship men's triple jump events took place on day three with Joshua Foster, Marcus Mitchell and McClain. Mitchell and Foster had marks of 46-4.75 and 44-2.75, respectively, in the college section.
Leading off the events for OU was T.J. Noonan in the college section of the javelin throw. He finished sixth after throwing a mark of 203-3.
The Sooners head back to Norman with their sights set on the Big 12 Outdoor Championship in two weeks (May 12-14).
“Our staff can feel good about our team's mentality heading into Big 12s, where we need a tremendous group effort," VanHootegem added.