Sooners Cap Big 12 Championship in Norman
NORMAN — The University of Oklahoma track and field teams concluded the 2019 Big 12 Outdoor Championship in Norman on Sunday evening at John Jacobs Track and Field Complex in Norman.
The women's team collected 101.5 points to claim third place, OU's best finish on the women's side since 2016. The men took sixth with 75 points. The Texas Tech men took the men's team title with 164 points and the Texas women claimed the women's crown, tallying 172 points.
“Coming in, I thought we might have an outside chance to get third with the women," said Oklahoma head coach Jim VanHootegem. "I thought we might have a shot to hit the century mark, and we did enough things that we were able to do that. I'm really pleased with what the women did.
"The men were a little bit of a different story. We had some amazing performances with Cooper Campbell, Marcus Mitchell and the 4x1. It takes everybody to do well at this type of meet, and we didn't have everybody do that but I'm going to walk away super pleased with those great individual performances."
Oklahoma's relay teams were the highlight of Sunday's competition. The men's 4x100-meter squad of Jackson Webb, Joseph Sheffield, Xavier Brown and Quoi Ellis ran the second-fastest 4x1 in program history and the quickest since 1992, clocking a 38.99 to take second. The women's 4x4 team of Dai'Lyn Merriweather, Kennedy Blackmon, Ja'Leesa Giles and Jai'Lyn Merriweather posted a season-best 3:32.61 to rank as the fourth-fastest 4x400-meter relay in school history.
The women's 4x1 group of Camri Austin, D. Merriweather, Giles and Blackmon got the baton around the track in 44.94 seconds to finish third and score six points. The men's 4x400-meter relay of Zac Martin, Ackeen Colley, Zac Tucker and Isaiah Levingston capped the meet with a season-best time of 3:11.13 to place seventh.
"It was incredible to see the performances we had," continued VanHootegem. "Great jobs by the women's relays. A ton of great things happened. We talked earlier in the week about relays being a galvanizing thing. It was a big boost for our team to see the men's 4x1. That's the second time in school history and fastest time since 1992. To see that 38 (seconds) on the scoreboard was exciting. There were some great efforts."
Additionally, on the track, four Sooners posted personal bests.
Freshman Haley Herberg collected a personal record en route to a third-place finish in the women's 1,500 meters, recording a 4:20.03. Herberg returned to the track to take sixth in the 5,000 meters with a time of 16:37.92. In the men's 5K, senior Zach Gentry notched a personal record time of 14:41.61 to finish 11th.
Twins Jai'Lyn and Dai'Lyn Merriweather had an exceptional day with respective personal bests in the women's 400 meters and 200 meters. J. Merriweather crossed the line in 52.59 seconds in the 400 to PR by over a second and a half and place fourth. D. Merriweather also brought home fourth in the 200 meters with a PR time of 23.41. Additionally, in the 200, sophomore Ja'Leesa Giles crossed the line in 23.81 seconds to finish eighth.
On the men's side in the 200, two Sooners made it on the podium with sophomore Joseph Sheffield taking fourth in 20.84 and junior Xavier Brown placing seventh in 21.19. Sheffield impressed in the men's 100-meter dash with a runner-up finish in 10.29 seconds. Junior Jackson Webb came in eighth in the 100 in 10.55 seconds.
Sophomore Camri Austin took a runner-up finish in the women's 100-meter hurdles by a margin of just two-hundredths of a second, finishing in 13.12.
A pair of top-10 finishes were garnered in the men's 1,500 meters by junior Heath Warren and sophomore Ackeen Colley. Warren clocked a 3:54.54 to place fifth while Colley (3:55.21) finished seventh. Colley also scored points for the men's squad in the 800 meters with an eighth-place finish in 1:51.45.
Two more personal bests were recorded in the field events, bringing the Sooners PR total to six on the day. Both came in the men's triple jump by sophomore Garry Williams and senior Marcus Mitchell. Williams leaped 52-1 (15.87m) to place sixth while Mitchell recorded a jump of 52-0.5 (15.86m) to take seventh. Sophomore Papay Glaywulu (53-0.75) led the way for OU in the event with a fourth-place finish.
In the women's triple jump, sophomore Essence Thomas (42-09.75, 13.05m) collected four points for the women's team with a fifth-place finish. Freshman Allanah Lee had a solid showing, leaping 41-8 (12.70m) to finish ninth.
The women's high jump also saw a pair of top-ten finishes in sophomore Falyn Reaugh and senior Makayla Stephens. Reaugh took fourth, clearing 5-9.25 (1.76m) while Stephens (5-5.75, 1.67m) brought home a tie for seventh.
OU's women's throws group put three in the top-10 of the discus throw. Junior Meia Gordon placed fifth with a toss of 174-1.5 (53.07m), sophomore Lauren Jones (171-7.25, 52.30m) took sixth and freshman Faith Ette (156-5.25, 47.68m) finished ninth.
The Sooners wait to find out which student-athletes qualify to compete at the NCAA West Preliminaries. The NCAA West Regional is set for May 23-25 at Sacramento State University in Northern California. Qualifiers will be announced later this week.
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