YUKON — Haley Woodard heard all the talk. Throughout the track season, the Norman North sophomore knew a showdown was coming between her and Tyler Wisby of Edmond Santa Fe.
Woodard had defeated Wisby last season to win the 400 meter state title. But it was the first time Woodard had ever run track and many thought Wisby was going to come back with a vengeance to take back what was hers.
Woodard had other plans. She destroyed the competition Saturday at the 6A state track and field championship by taking the 400 meter crown with a time of 55.84.
“Last year I really didn’t know how big of a deal it really was to win state,” Woodard said. “I didn’t shed a tear last year. Obviously this year, I am. It’s completely different. It’s so hard. I didn’t even realize how hard that race was last year.”
Just like last season, it was Wisby who got out to a slight lead early on in the race. But that just spurred Woodard on as she cruised alone down the back stretch at Yukon High.
“Everyone was like, ‘It’s you or Wisby,’” Woodard said. “The rivalry definitely adds to my mental state. She got a little bit ahead of me, I didn’t like it. That definitely helped me to kick it in gear.”
After Woodard rolled over Wisby in the 400, Wisby didn’t touch the track the rest of the meet. With her Wolves squad still in contention for a team title, she bailed out of the 200 meter dash and the 4x400 meter rely. It was not clear whether the senior was injured or unable to handle getting beat two years in a row by Woodard.
“I’m also emotional because she ran really hard,” Woodard said. “I think she was hurting her hamstring or cramping or something. It was her last race. I feel for her because I know in my last race I am going to want to win, too..”
But Wisby’s decision to not run kept her from, more than likely, getting throttled again by Woodard, who claimed her first 200 meter state championship with a time of 24.21.
While Woodard came into the meet with high expectations, Westmoore’s relay teams didn’t know what to expect. Despite that, they ended the day with top five finishes in both the 4x1 and the 4x2 relays.
The Jaguars posted a time of 1:29.93 to take fifth in the 4X2. They were a second behind Jenks, which won the event. Westmoore was even more impressive in the 4x1 as they took fourth with a time of 43.20.
Westmoore’s Jaycee Martinez nabbed fourth in the pole vault at 14-06. Norman’s Colin Pasque won the event at 15-06.
The Jaguars Austin Stone placed sixth in the shot put with a toss of 52-07. He was just fifth place.
Southmoore’s Jamia Shepard also took sixth in the girls shot put. Her toss of 37-11 was less than an inch behind fourth place Alaina Cooper. However, Shepard was the only freshman in the top sixth she won the team their only point at the meet.
Karltrell Henderson also placed for the SaberCats in the long jump. He nabbed sixth with a leap of 21-07. Westmoore’s Cassius Hill also hit the same mark, but he took seventh.
Southmoore’s Aaron Holder took fifth in the high jump and William Gilbert Harmon claimed fifth in the 300-meter hurdles.
Edmond Memorial claimed the girls team title with 134 points. Santa Fe was a distant second with 74.
On the boys side, Broken Arrow won the team title with 125 points over Edmond Memorial (110). Jenks (74), Union (56), Yukon (43), Norman (43), North (42) battled for runner-up. The Jags (27) were 12th and the SaberCats (4.5) finished in 15th.
Michael Kinney Follow me @eyeamtruth firstname.lastname@example.org