Lubbock, Texas – The University of Oklahoma track and field teams got off to a quick start on Friday at day one of the Big 12 Outdoor Championships. That quick start was largely thanks to the performance of Oklahoma’s men and women’s javelin throwers.
The women’s javelin alone contributed 18 of the OU women’s 24 points behind the outstanding performances of Liz Herrs, who was crowned champion in the event, and last year’s Big 12 champion, Avione Allgood, who finished second.
Both Herrs and Allgood surpassed the previous top mark in Big 12 Championship history with Herrs’ mark of 189-05 (57.73m) taking the top spot. The throw also bumps Herrs up to second in program history. Allgood’s best throw was just 10 centimeters behind the championship toss at 189-01 (57.63m), a personal best and third in OU’s history book.
“I think we feed off of each other,” Allgood said. “Whenever Liz is doing well, I try to do my best. We have good and bad moments, but it's OK. We are good competitors and teammates.”
“It just always keeps us pushing to be better,” Herrs explained. “We are both extremely competitive and it is just in our nature. Competing with the best in practice is one of the greatest things, I think.”
Based on marks heading into the weekend, the two marks would rank first and second, respectively, in the nation. Senior Ashley Kowalewski also competed in the event, finishing 10th after throwing a distance of 134-09 (41.07m).
“The javelin was super exciting,” said head coach Jim VanHootegem. “To have a competition like that where Liz was leading the whole time and then for Avione to come back and break the meet record on her last throw. Then Liz breaks it on the next throw, sealing the one-two-finish. It was a really good performance.”
The Sooner men also experienced success in the javelin with three athletes scoring in the event. Junior Garrett Snow was the top Oklahoma finisher, taking second in the competition after the best throw in school history of 232-08 (70.92m). Tyler Renton finished third (213-08, 65.13m) and freshman TJ Noonan placed seventh (204-09, 62.40m).
“It was great to see the performance that we got from (the javelin) group,” VanHootegem said. “For Garrett to break the school record twice and for Tyler and TJ to give us points, it was big.”
The Sooners set the tone early in the day with impressive performances from the hammer throwers as all four student-athletes who competed finished in the top eight of their respective competitions.
Sarah Tolson finished fifth for the women after a personal best throw of 192-06 (58.68m). Rylee Rackley finished seventh in the event with a throw of 187-01 (57.03m). Freshman Charles Nguyen led the way on the men’s side, finishing third with a throw of 191-10 (58.47m). Two spots behind Nguyen in fifth was Austin Perry, whose best throw went a distance of 183-03 (54.46m).
The women’s 10,000-meter run resulted in a pair of top-10 program times, with Brittany Tretbar, who finished 12th in the race, recording the sixth best time in program history (37:40.36). Elena Arriaza, who finished 13th, moved into ninth all-time with her time of 37:48.40. Eric Graf was the lone finisher in the men’s race after junior Abbabiya Simbassa was forced to drop out due to injury. Graf finished 15th with a time of (31:29.67).
Oklahoma ended day one second in both men and women’s team standings. The men finished with 26 points, one point behind the leader, Oklahoma State. The women finished with 24 points and also find themselves only one point behind first place Iowa State.
“You hope that the other kids saw the performances from today,” VanHootegem said. “You want to be in the spirit of it because these are the ones that you remember. The regular season is very important but you do not remember every track meet. You do remember championship meets. It is fun to see people get after it like they did today.”
Competition continues on Saturday with several field events and a large portion of preliminary races on the track. Field events begin at 3 p.m. and events on the track at 6 p.m. CT.
TEAM STANDINGS AT THE CONCLUSION OF DAY ONE
1. Oklahoma State (27); 2. Oklahoma (26); 3. Texas Tech (18); 4. Texas (16); 5. Kansas State (9); 6. Kansas (8); 7. Iowa State (7); 8. Baylor (4); 9. TCU (2).
1. Iowa State (25); 2. Oklahoma (24); 3. Kansas State (18), 4. Oklahoma State (14); 5. Baylor and Kansas (9); 7. West Virginia (8); 8. Texas Tech (6); 9. Texas (4).