Two Nationals Tickets Punched On Day One
SACRAMENTO, Calif.—The University of Oklahoma track and field team began NCAA postseason competition Thursday in Sacramento, Calif. at the West Preliminary Round. Two Sooners punched their tickets to the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon.
OU head coach Jim VanHootegem recapped the successful day, “Great job by Jess (Woodard) and Meia (Gordon). That was a big first throw by Meia, what a way to come out and get things done to make her first national championship meet. Then, another school record for Medinah Spencer, qualifying for the quarterfinal. Belle Wallace looked extremely strong as well, winning her qualifying race.”
VanHootegem added, “Also, another big step forward for Leya (Buchanan). It was obviously a rough go (for Gabby Kearney), just like getting fourth in the Olympic trials, it’s tough getting 13th at this meet. But obviously, she’s a great thrower and she still has time to do great things. We’re proud of her season and sad it had to end early. Some disappointments but a decent first day.”
Senior Jess Woodard and sophomore Meia Gordon advanced to nationals with respective finishes of second and seventh place in the first round of the women’s shot put. Woodard qualified for her fourth consecutive outdoor national championship with a throw of 56-11.5 (17.36 meters). Gordon will be making her first nationals appearance, qualifying with a mark of 53-10.5 (16.42 meters).
In the women’s javelin throw, sophomore Gabby Kearney narrowly missed advancing to nationals in her home state with a 13th-place finish. Kearney’s best throw measured 161-0 (49.09 meters).
Competing in the women’s high jump, freshman Falyn Reaugh cleared 5-8.75 (1.75 meters) but failed to advance further with the nationals qualifying height being 5-10.75 (1.80 meters).
Senior Thomas Cheval concluded his Sooners’ career in the men’s long jump competition, leaping a best jump of 22-3.75 (6.80 meters) but failing to advance to Eugene. Freshman Isaiah Levingston ran the men’s 400-meter hurdles in a time of 53.23 seconds, missing the cut for Friday’s quarterfinal round.
Senior Medinah Spencer broke her own school record in the women’s 400-meter hurdles for the third consecutive meet. Spencer crossed the line in 57.93 seconds to take fourth out of all heats and advance to Friday’s quarterfinal at 9:15 p.m. CT.
Running in the women’s 1,500 meters, senior Belle Wallace ran a speedy 4:22.88 to win her heat and qualify for Saturday’s quarterfinal round.
In the women’s 100-meter dash, senior Leya Buchanan won her heat in a time of 11.35 seconds and will run in the quarterfinal tomorrow evening at 8:15 p.m. CT. Sophomore Amanda Van Buren crossed the line in 11.91 seconds, missing the cut for the quarterfinal.
Concluding the Sooners’ first day in Sacramento was Evette Blanks, Mia Mukes, and Ama Pipi in the women’s 400 meters. Senior Ama Pipi advanced to tomorrow’s final with a time of 53.52 seconds to take 20th out of all heats. Mukes and Blanks finished in respective times of 54.26 and 56.03 seconds but failed to advance to the quarterfinal.
Oklahoma returns to action tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. CT with Meagan Gray competing in the women’s pole vault. Sooners’ events are scheduled to run until 11 p.m. CT when senior Sarah Scott runs in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase.