Except for one split second Moore’s Taylor Gardner had a track meet he could only dream about. Friday he was part of the 4x800 state winning relay team and he back it up Saturday by taking first in the 800-meter run.

The only way Gardner’s weekend could be any better was if he was able to secure a third state title by winning the 4x400 relay. And for a few brief seconds with Gardner coming down the last straightway, it looked like it might happen. However, he was unable to pass Del City at the finish line.

Moore would have to settle for second. Unfortunately, in that split second after losing, Gardner slammed his baton down to the ground and the relay team was disqualified.

“I’m sorry for that,” Gardner said. “It was just raw emotion. I wanted to win that race more than anything.”

Gardner said he was glad his unexpected show of emotion didn’t cost his team in the long run. Despite the 16 points Moore missed out on for the disqualification, they were able to hold off Edmond Santa Fe (58) take second overall in the team championship race with 64 points. Tulsa Union won the boys title with 106.

Gardner started his state meet with a convincing win the 3,200-meter relay Friday. They ran a 7:58.02, which was three seconds ahead of Edmond Memorial. It also was nine faster than their best time this year.

“We all ran superb,” Gardner said. “We all ran two flat or better. That was the fastest time we have run in 10 years. We had four guys that have been training their butts off since their freshman year and we knew this was our time. We could just feel it. And we just went after it and did our jobs.”

Yet, Gardner’s meet was not done. The senior went out and posted a 1:56.36 in the 800-meter run. He had to hold off Norman’s Parker Bowles the last few meters to win the state title.

“It feels awesome,” Gardner said. “I was saving energy because I knew I was feeling better than I normally do. In the back of my head I knew I had the kick to win it. So I just played it smart.”

Lions coach Chad Mashburn was impressed with the way Gardner was able to turn it on down the stretch. But he was not surprised.

“Not really if you know who Taylor Gardner is and what he does,” Mashburn said. “He walks off the track after running a 1:56 and says ‘coach, I’m not even tired.’ That says something about the kid. He can do a lot of things. I am very impressed with how he handles himself and how he ran today. He ran a great race. A very smart race. I am proud for him.”

Along with Gardner, Moore’s Dylan Brammer (1:58.00) and Brian Pickens (1:58.76) took third and fifth respectively. Having all three step up on the podium was the highlight of the day for their coach, Chad Mashburn.

“It gives me chills,” Mashburn said. “It really does. Those guys have worked hard all season. They fought and to have three guys on the podium, I don’t know if that has ever been done for Moore Public Schools. That’s really cool.”

While both of Gardner’s titles were special to him, the 800 meter run stood out because two of his teammates, Dylan Brammer and Brian Pickens, also placed in the top-5.

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