LUBBOCK, Texas – The disappointment of Saturday turned to the excitement of Sunday as the University of Oklahoma track and field program crowned another Big 12 Champion on the final day of the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Lubbock, Texas. Brandon Doughty won the 3,000-meter steeplechase, then added a fifth place finish in the 5,000 three hours later.
Doughty began his day with a time of 9:16.89 and a title in the steeplechase.
“The race went out really slow and somehow I ended up in the lead,” Doughty explained. “So, I just slowly picked it up and really did not have anyone come over my shoulder until the last 200, so I just gave it all I had.
“Coming down the final 200, it was awesome to hear the Boomer Sooner chant. It just kept the adrenaline pumping and kept me tough with this dry air out here and the hot sun.”
Doughty ended his day with an impressive fifth place finish with a 14:49.38 in the 5000-meter run against some of the nation’s top runners.
Head coach Jim VanHootegem pointed out that Doughty’s performance on Sunday was an accurate reflection of the type of athlete that he has become.
“Brandon has embodied everything that we want our athletes to be,” VanHootegem said. “I hope that other people look to him as a leader. I know that he has great leadership within the distance crew, but I also hope that the team looks up to him.”
Doughty was not the only Sooner to finish well in the steeplechase. Senior Patrick Gomez finished third in the race with a time of 9:29.86 and Dylan Blankenbaker finished eighth with a time of 9:55.63.
Freshman Hayden McClain finished followed up his impressive second place finish in the triple jump at the indoor Big 12 Championships by finishing second once again at the outdoor. McClain recorded a wind-aided 51-11.75, a personal best.
“Obviously, it was a great performance,” said VanHootegem. “It was wind-aided but it was still the farthest he has ever jumped in his life. He struggled today and almost did not make the finals. In the finals, I was much more pleased with him. He made adjustments from what he did in the prelims and in the sixth round he put it together.”
The Sooners received solid performances from the jumping group all around on Sunday. Tanner Callihan, who was able to set a personal record in the pole vault at the indoor meet, did so once again while placing fifth in Sunday’s competition after clearing a height of 17-00.25 (5.19m).
High jumper Garrison LeRock, who also set a personal record at the indoor meet, set an outdoor one in Lubbock after clearing a height of 6-11.00 (2.11m) en route to a fifth place finish.
Oklahoma got a pair of scorers from the men and women’s 1500. Alex Deir placed fourth (3:56.07) in the men’s race while senior Molly Williams placed eighth (4:49.71) on the women’s side.
Two seniors, Ethan Baker and Nathaniel Winfrey, were able to put points on the board for the Sooners in their final Big 12 meet. Baker placed fourth in the 400-meter dash with a time of 47.50 while Winfrey placed fifth in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 52.30.
Baker and Winfrey also ran legs in the team’s 4X400 relay, which finished fifth with a time of 3:11.87. Waymon Storey Jr. and Scott Petersen ran the other two legs of the 1600 relay. Baker, Petersen and Storey Jr. combined with Matthias Wicks in the 4X100 relay to place sixth with a time of 40.93.
The women’s 4X100 relay, featuring Bianca Brazil, Daye Shon Roberson, Cessily Jones and Daunecia Demerson, finished seventh in 46.51 while the 4X400 relay, which featured Roberson, Demerson, Payton Baker and Kesley McKee, placed seventh as well (3:45.66).
The Sooner men finished fifth in the team standings with 90 points. The OU women finished 10th with 30 points.
“Obviously, we have a long way to go on the women’s side,” said VanHootegem. “I am proud of the women who were here. I thought that they fought and did a good job. I think we will see improvement there.
“On the men’s side, we scored about what I thought we would score and there were some strong performances across the board. A lot of people stepped up and we scored a lot of points.”
Oklahoma now moves on to NCAA West Prelims held May 29-31 in Fayetteville, Ark., with those who qualify (top 48 in individual events, top 24 in relays). The list of potential qualifiers is scheduled to be released Monday afternoon. From that competition, those who qualify will advance to the NCAA Championships June 11-14 in Eugene, Ore.
Bold denotes Big 12 Champion.
* denotes personal record.
FINAL TEAM STANDINGS
1. Texas Tech 160.5; 2. Texas 125; 3. Oklahoma State 96; 4. Baylor 93; 5. Oklahoma 90; 6. Kansas State 83; 7. Kansas 67; 8. TCU 51; 9. Iowa State 50.5.
1. Texas 149; 2. Baylor 113.5; 3. Texas Tech 109.5, 4. Kansas 100.5; 5. Kansas State 93; 6. Iowa State 83; 7. Oklahoma State 54; 8. TCU 45; 9. West Virginia 40.5; 10. Oklahoma 30.