SACRAMENTO, Calif.—The University of Oklahoma track and field teams concluded their weekend at the NCAA West preliminary round on Saturday in Sacramento, Calif. Five more tickets were punched to Eugene, Ore. and the 2018 NCAA Outdoor National Championships on the Sooners’ final day at regionals, bringing the OU qualifier total on the weekend to 12.
“It was an exciting day for us. Coming off a great day by our women on Friday, we told the team this morning that everybody had the opportunity today and we took advantage,” said OU head coach Jim VanHootegem.
VanHootegem added, “A big thing for me is to get the relays in, so that was a big step for our men. I think that’s the first time in six years our men’s 4x1 has qualified for nationals so that’s a big step forward. Obviously, pleased with a lot of individuals. Great, tremendous race by Camri Austin. Then, it was fun to have the entire team there to watch Papay (Glaywulu) go from 14th to third on his last round jump. Great spirit, great comradery and we’re taking a nice group on to Eugene.”
The Sooners saw their first nationals’ qualification on Saturday come via senior Ashley Bryant in the women’s hammer throw. Bryant took sixth in the first round of NCAAs with her best throw measuring 208-4 (63.50 meters).
Oklahoma had two men’s shot putters narrowly miss the cut for Eugene. Sophomore Brad Daboub took 14th with a throw of 56-10.75 (17.33 meters), while freshman Cooper Campbell placed 17th, his best toss measuring 55-11.75 (17.06 meters).
OU’s second punched ticket came courtesy of freshman Vernon Turner in the men’s high jump. Turner will continue his exceptional freshman debut at the outdoor national championship meet, qualifying with a height of 7-1 (2.16 meters).
Freshman Essence Thomas saw her season come to an end, unfortunately, in the women’s triple jump first round. Thomas fouled her three attempts but has plenty to look forward to going into her sophomore season after top-10 finishes in the event at both indoor and outdoor conference championship meets.
In an exciting relay competition, Oklahoma clinched its first men’s relay ticket to the outdoor national championships since 2013 and first 4x1 spot since 2012. The Sooners’ men’s 4x100-relay team of Bennie Wesley, Joseph Sheffield, Jackson Webb, and Xavier Brown crossed the line in 39.84 seconds to advance to the semifinal in Eugene.
The women’s 4x1 relay team of Camri Austin, Ama Pipi, Leya Buchanan, and Ja’Leesa Giles finished 15th out of all heats in the women’s quarterfinal, missing the cut for the nationals meet.
The Sooners’ fourth NCAA outdoors qualifier on day three was freshman Camri Austin. Austin ran a personal-best 13.18 seconds to finish ninth out of all heats and advance to the semifinal in Eugene. The time is good for the second-fastest 100-meter hurdles in school history.
Senior Belle Wallace’s successful Sooners’ career concluded Saturday evening in the women’s 1,500 meters quarterfinal. Wallace crossed the line in 4:23.54 to finish 20th.
Finishing OU’s weekend in Sacramento on a high note was freshman Papay Glaywulu in the men’s triple jump. Glaywulu booked his trip to nationals with a big final jump of 52-8 (16.05 meters) to claim third overall. The mark is a personal best for the freshman and ranks fifth all-time in school history.
Fellow freshman Garry Williams leaped 48-6.25 (14.79 meters) in the second flight of the triple jump but missed the cut for nationals.
The Sooners finish the regional meet with 12 qualifiers for the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Jess Woodard in two events, Meia Gordon, Ama Pipi, Leya Buchanan, Medinah Spencer, Sarah Scott, Ashley Bryant, Vernon Turner, Camri Austin, Papay Glaywulu, and the men’s 4x100-relay team will all compete at the national championship meet June 6-9 in Eugene, Ore.