AUSTIN, Texas — The momentum from Baileh Simms advancing in the long jump last night carried over to the morning session and to Friday's last event, the men's steeplechase, on day two as the Sooners came out on a mission.
Everette Favor became the second Oklahoma track and field athlete to move on to the NCAA Championship in Eugene, Ore. Favor clinched the final spot in the pole vault with his clearance of 17-2.75.
In the next event of the morning, the discus, Jess Woodard recorded a personal-best mark of 185-10 on her third attempt to guarantee her spot in the championship. Her mark also qualified as No. 2 in school history.
To close out the day, Dylan Blankenbaker ran a time of 8:45.88 to finish second in his heat of the 3,000-meter steeplechase, automatically sending him back to Eugene. He also had the second-fastest time among all competitors. A year ago, he earned first-team All-America honors after finishing fourth with a school-record time of 8:34.69.
“Great efforts by them,” stated head coach Jim VanHootegem. “Really pleased in that we had two men who competed today and both made it in. Both are seniors. In Dylan's case, he's going back, and I really liked the way he established himself. Not just in qualifying, but in building momentum into the national meet.
“It's a great thing for a senior like Everette Favor, who has worked so hard to get to where he has gotten to. It was a little nerve-wracking the way he did it. The vaults have a bit of a nature of going out the national meet, having fun, and seeing what happens.”
VanHootegem added, “Jess Woodard, multiple-time All-American in the shot put, but is making her second time back at nationals in the discus with a strong throw. The second-best throw in school history.”
The quarterfinals of the 100-meter dash and 400-meter hurdles were completed on day two, however none of the OU entries were among the top 12 in their event. Leya Buchanan finished just outside the coveted top 12 with her time of 11.32, placing 13th in the 100-meter dash. The final runner to qualify based on time ran 11.28, just .04 seconds off of what Buchanan ran.
“A near miss for Leya Buchanan in the 100, which is disappointing because we think that she's somebody that has those types of abilities,” said VanHootegem.
In the 400-meter hurdles, Medinah Spencer ran 59.96 and Mia Mukes ran 1:00.18.
Ama Pipi, who ran a time of 22.98 in the 200-meter dash, advanced to day three's quarterfinals. She finished second in her heat to advance as an automatic qualifier. Her quarterfinal race will be at 7:35 p.m. Saturday. The top three in each of three heats plus the next three fastest times will move on to Eugene.
A double qualifier in the sprints, Buchanan ran in the 200-meter dash, where she finished in 24.00, but did not advance.
In the first round of the 100-meter hurdles, Olivia Haggerty ran a 13.55, and didn't advance to the quarterfinals.
Meia Gordon threw 170-0 on her first-round attempt in the discus and finished 19th overall.
Both Gordon and Woodard will be in competition tomorrow in the shot put at 6 p.m. CT.
To conclude the day for the women, Sarah Scott ran 10:35.10 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, falling outside of the top 12 spots. She finished 17th overall, a significant improvement over ranking based on her seed time. She ranked 36th among the 48 qualifiers, a stat not lost on the head coach, who commended the result.
“A good race for Sarah Scott. She moved up probably 20 spots from where she was ranked coming in and competed very well.”
Tomorrow's events will begin at 3 p.m. with Hayden McClain in the triple jump. At 6 p.m., Dean White will compete in the high jump and the track events will open with the women's 4x100-meter relay. After Pipi's 200-meter quarterfinal, the West prelims will close with the women's 4x400-meter relay, scheduled for 9:25 p.m.
“Tomorrow is a big day for us. Not only with some of our top competitors in the individual events, our current All-Americans who take the field, but also for us with relays. Relays are a big part of our program and we'd like to see those relay teams move onto Eugene.”A recap will be posted at the conclusion of the day at Soonersports.com. Live streaming will again be available at http://www.texassports.com/watch/?Live=315&type=Live, as will live results at http://live.pttiming.com/?mid=1236. Updates will be provided throughout the day on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (OU_Track).