Just a little push. That’s what Broken Arrow’s 4 x 800 meter relay team needs – with a school, and perhaps state, record in sight.
No matter how you slice it, this team (Madison Caputo, Kanisus Harding, Briana Hays and Auryana Johnson), a concoction of one-time sprinters and hurdlers, is the class of Class 6A when it comes to the two-mile relay. Their regional winning time of 9:30.23 – four seconds off the BAHS record time – was 53 seconds better than second-place Owasso. At the Edmond Santa Fe regional, Edmond North ran a 9:43.21, 13 seconds – or nearly 100 yards – slower than the Broken Arrow foursome.
“We’ve run it every different combination you can run it and the outcome has always been the same,” said first-year Tiger track coach Scott Wilkinson. “We’ve played with and moved things around trying to get things where they are challenged week in and week out. I think mentally they’re there. They know what is at stake and they’re focused. I’m just excited to turn them out and see what they can do.
“We ran 9:30 and weren’t even pushed. If we can really be pushed the first two or three legs of that relay, we think our last leg can run against time and run something really fast. With this group they are just chasing times.”
The one “time” they are most certainly chasing is 9:26.77. The school record time was set in 2004 by April Montgomery, Zapporah Young, Morgan Wolber and Megan Foste.
Hays won her fifth straight 800 at regionals with a time of 2:18.48 and should be a favorite to win gold on Saturday in the OSSAA Class 6A Track and Field State Championships at Yukon.
Broken Arrow’s boys 800 runner Blake McConkey crossed the finish line first at regionals with a time of 1:59.05. At 1600, Andres Chapa was a gold medal winner also, running a 4:35.92.
Another one-time sprinter turned hurdler, Danielle Shaw, won the 100 meter hurdles for the first time this track season. She also qualified for state with a second place finish in the 200 meters.
“Dani was one of those kids who was a little bit on the outside looking in running sprints,” Wilkinson said. “We worked and got her a lot stronger.
“In the hurdles, in the beginning, trying to get her to three-step, and then three-step a full flight, was a learning process. She’s getting it down now. A lot of that is mental. Physically we knew she was there, but it was just mentally believing she could do it.”
Inside the track, Caleb Huffman cleared 6’4” to win the high jump; Ethan Bonham vaulted 14’0” in pole vault and Shelby Day cleared 10’04” to win the girls pole vault.
“It’s a real good group,” Wilkinson said of his vaulting qualifiers, Bohanm, Brandon Hanoch – second at regionals – and Aedan Cottle – fifth at regionals.
“Ethan has come on really strong this year and improved by two feet. He’s one of the top guys in the state. When you can go to a regional and score double digits in the vault that’s huge.
“In the beginning of the year it was like ‘I wish we could do that’ or ‘if things go well, we hope this could happen.’ Now they’ve been jumping these heights on a consistent basis, and know where they stack up against these kids from across the state, and they believe they can do it.”
Perhaps being pushed to new heights and faster times will be golden for several BA Tiger athletes come Saturday.