Feb. 23, 2013

AMES, Iowa – After a day-long delay the first round of competition is complete at the 2013 Big 12 Indoor Championships at the Lied Recreation Athletic Center in Ames, Iowa. Seven Sooners earned podium finishes, including five top-five performances, while 12 advanced to Sunday’s finals in their respective preliminary races.

The Sooners finished the night in style as the men’s distance medley relay of Frezer Legesse, Ethan Baker Malcolm Wankel and Patrick Casey combined to finish in 9:42.37 en route to the Big 12 title; the time marked both the ninth lowest time in the country, and in OU track and field history. Oklahoma edged Texas by three tenths of a second for the win and 10 team points.

“That was an extremely exciting race,” explained Oklahoma track and field head coach Martin Smith. “I thought all four guys put in a complete team effort. It was just a great battle between us and Texas, Texas Tech and Kansas right there at the end.”

The ten points was enough for OU to tie Kansas State for third with 26 points. Oklahoma currently trails Texas who is in the lead with 47 points, and Kansas (30.5) heading into the last day of the competition.

“It was a great boost for our team heading into tomorrow,” remarked Smith on his relay team’s win. “There were plenty of bright spots through the day, and that was just one of them.”

2013 BIG 12 INDOOR TRACK AND FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS: DAY 1 RESULTS

Senior pentathlon competitor, Claire McConnell, was the first Sooner on the track Saturday when she opened with the women’s pentathlon and concluded the stretch of five events with a bronze medal around her neck.

“I feel amazing, it’s just something that I have been waiting for, for a really long time,” expressed McConnell. “It’s my senior year and to finally reach this point, it just feels fantastic.”

So far, in her final year donning the Crimson and Cream has seen progressive improvements with each competition. Saturday was no different. The Klein, Texas, native surpassed her own career record set earlier this season, and became the first Sooner to ever surpass the 4,000-point marker in the women’s pentathlon when she totaled 4,079 en route to the top-three finish.

Additionally, she recorded new personal-best performances in four of her five events with a 8.79 output in the 60-meter hurdles, threw 36-7.00 (11.15m) in the shot put, clocked in at 2:19.53 in the 800-meter run and matched the 10th best performance in school history after she cleared 5-8.75 (1.75m) in the high jump.

“My dream has always been to make nationals, and I really didn’t concentrate on where I place today,” continued McConnell on her performance. “It was all about reaching that 4,000-point barrier, and getting my name on that national list to try and get into NCAA’s. The program record…again…it was just icing on the cake for me.”

Oklahoma went on to make a statement in the men’s 5,000-meter run when it had both its runners place in the top-eight and earn All-Big 12 honors. Kevin Williams took home a bronze medal after he clocked a 13:58.73 effort and earned his second third-place finish in back-to-back years at the Big 12 Indoor Track and Field Championships. Sophomore teammate Ryan Poland and took home his inaugural Big 12 honor with a 14:11.35 output.

On the first day of competition, the Sooners’ efforts were aided by several strong performances on the field throughout the first day of competition in Ames, and all by a group of newcomers.

“We had a good day today for the men throughout each aspect of the competition,” asserted Smith. “It was a special day for Tanner [Callihan] on the vault, and it was a really special day for Kaelan [Washington] in the long jump – a career best for the two of them.”

“Those were two big momentum boosters for our team – we really weren’t expecting that type of output from them,” he continued. “I also thought we did a really good job today in the sprints – we advanced someone in the 60, the 200 and 400 and two guys in the hurdles.”

“At this time, on the men’s side, we’re having a very good meet that’s ahead of pace for us right now.”

Kaelan Washington, a freshman jumper from Tulsa, Okla., finished fourth in the men’s long jump with a career-best distance of 24-2.25 (7.37m) to generate five points in favor of the men’s overall team score and claim his first career All-Big 12 accolade.

A pair of pole vaulters achieved success on Saturday when both Tanner Callihan and Everette Favor cleared 16-5.50 (5.02m). Callihan earned the first All-Big 12 honors of his career with a seventh-place effort, while Favor took ninth in the field.

Freshman pole vaulter Rachel Bolton followed McConnell’s lead with a fourth-place finish after she cleared 12-8.75/3.88m. It was a personal-best attempt for the rookie, who earned the first All-Big 12 honor of her young career with the performance, and solidified her name in the OU record books.

“Getting fourth was a big thing for the women’s team, especially following Claire’s spectacular performance in the pentathlon,” reassured Smith. “I thought that we had some really bright spots for the ladies today.”

The 2013 Big 12 Indoor Track and Field Championships will come to a close tomorrow evening. The Sooners will take to the field in the men’s and women’s high jump, shot put and triple jump. On the track OU will have competitors in the men’s and women’s 60-meter dash, 200-meter dash and 4x400-meter relay, as well as the men’s 60-meter hurdles, 400-meter dash, 800-meter run, mile, 1,000-meter and 3,000-meter run.

Field events will begin at noon CST, with running events taking off at 1:30 p.m. CST.

PRELIMINARY ACTION

A duo of seniors in Casey and Frezer Legesse kick started preliminary action when they advanced to the mile finals with times of 4:07.45 and 4:07.86, respectively, to carry the No. 2 and No. 4 seed heading into tomorrow’s race.

Casey continued his success Saturday, and carried another No. 2 seed to his name after he clocked a personal-best 2:27.10 in the 1,000-meter preliminary round to earn an automatic qualification into tomorrow’s race. Fellow Sooner Brandon Doughty will also join Casey in tomorrow’s race after turning out a 2:27.77 run.

Building off the momentum of Casey’s 1,000-meter performance, Legesse followed suit in the men’s 800-meter run when he stopped the clock at 1:52.06 to earn an automatic qualifying time in tomorrow’s final.

In the sprint events, both Jeremy Rankin and Erin Jones qualified for the men’s and women’s 60-meter dash finals, respectively. Rankin matched a personal-best performance of 6.69, while Jones clocked a 7.43 to earn the right to compete on the final day of competition at the indoor conference championship.

Jones continued her speed in the women’s 200-meter dash, when she qualified for the final race with a 24.02 output on the track. Oklahoma will be represented in the men’s 200-meter dash by Waymon Storey after he clocked a 21.24 to have a No. 5 seed in the battle for the title.

Additionally, in the men’s 400-meter dash, Jamel Wood recorded a 47.54 preliminary performance to earn an appearance in Sunday’s race for a top-eight finish.

Both Tre’ Lathan and Matt Wicks advanced to tomorrow’s final in the 60m hurdles with their runs on Saturday. Lathan clocked a personal-low 7.76 to be seeded second in tomorrow’s race, and move up to fourth overall in the OU record books, while Wicks put in an 8.10 effort to finish fifth in the preliminary field and earn his finals’ ticket.

TEAM STANDINGS AT THE CONCLUSION OF DAY ONE

WOMEN
1. Kansas (67), 2. Texas (46), 3. Iowa State (44), 4. Kansas State (21), 5. Oklahoma State (15), 6. OKLAHOMA (10.50), 7. Baylor (10), 8. TCU (9), 9. West Virginia (7), 10. Texas Tech (4.50)


MEN
1. Texas (47), 2. Kansas (30.50), 3. Kansas State (26), 3. Oklahoma (26), 5. Texas Tech (23.50), 6. OKLAHOMA STATE (23), 7. Baylor (8), 7. Iowa State (8), 9. TCU (3) 

FIELD EVENT RESULTS

Women’s Pentathlon
3. Claire McConnell, Sr., 4079*!
60m Hurdles, 5th, 8.79*
High Jump, 4th, 5-8.75/1.75m*
Shot put, 4th, 36-7.00/11.15m*
Long Jump, 3rd, 18-10.50/5.75m
800m Run, 2nd, 2:19.53*

Women’s Weight Throw
13. Rylee Rackley, So., 54-7.50/16.65m
14. Sarah Tolson, Fr., 54-4.50/16.57m
15. Kate Foster, Fr., 53-0.00/16.15m

Women’s Pole Vault
4. Rachel Bolton, Fr., 12-8.75/3.88m*
9. Morgan Nichols, Jr., 11-9.00/3.58m
10. Jacy Bennett, Sr., 11-9.00/3.58m 

Men’s Pole Vault
7. Tanner Callihan, Fr., 16-5.50/5.02m*
9. Everette Favor, Fr., 16-5.50/5.02m 

Women’s Long Jump
13. Whitney Johnson, Sr., 18-9.00/5.71m
17. Claire McConnell, Sr., 18-1.75/5.53m 

Men’s Long Jump
4. Kaelan Washington, Fr., 24-2.25/7.37m* 

RUNNING EVENT FINALS RESULTS

Men’s 5,000m Run
3. Kevin Williams, Sr., 13:58.73
6. Ryan Poland, So., 14:11.35* 

Men’s Distance Medley Relay
1. Oklahoma (Frezer Legesse, Ethan Baker, Malcolm Wankel, Patrick Casey), 9:42.37 

RUNNING EVENT PRELIMS RESULTS

Women’s 60m Dash Prelims
6. Erin Jones, Jr., 7.43*^
10. Cessily Jones, Fr., 7.52* 

Men’s 60m Dash Prelims
4. Jeremy Rankin, Sr., 6.69*^
12. Waymon Storey, Jr., 6.91* 

Women’s 200m Dash Prelims
8. Erin Jones, Jr., 24.02^
18. Cessily Jones, Fr., 24.69* 

Men’s 200m Dash Prelims
5. Waymon Storey, Jr., 21.24^
10. Nathaniel Winfrey, Sr., 21.60 

Men’s 400m Dash Prelims
4. Jamel Wood, Sr., 47.54^
10. Ethan Baker, So., 48.05 

Women’s 600y Run Prelims
14. Ebanga Arrey, Fr., 1:27.64*
15. Daunicia Demerson, Fr., 1:27.67 

Men’s 600y Run Prelims
12. Allen Eke, Fr., 1:12.99*
15. Scott Petersen, Fr., 1:15.92 

Men’s 800m Run Prelims
5. Frezer Legesse, Sr., 1:52.06^
13. Malcolm Wankel, So., 1:53.71 

Men’s Mile Prelims
2. Pat Casey, Sr., 4:07.45^
4. Frezer Legesse, Sr., 4:07.86^ 

Men’s 1,000m Run Prelims
2. Pat Casey, Sr., 2:27.10*^
8. Brandon Doughty, Sr., 2:27.77^ 

Women’s 60m Hurdles Prelims
11. Alisa Jenkins, Sr., 8.71
12. Georgina Tamez-Reyna, Fr., 8.76 

Men’s 60m Hurdles Prelims
2. Tre’ Lathan, Sr., 7.76*^
5. Matt Wicks, Jr., 8.10^
9. Nathaniel Winfrey, Sr., 8.20

*indicates personal-best performance
^indicates advances to final
!indicates school record