MOORE — As seems to be the case year to year, many first-time competitors had good debuts on the state meet stage.
Yasmine Johnson, a Southmoore freshman, followed up her regional title in the 400 by coming up with a strong second-place run in the finals, completing her lap in 57.27 seconds. Johnson also ran the 200 for the Sabercats, coming up just short of reaching the finals.
Another freshman, Norman North’s Jade Robinson, claimed regional championships in both the 1600 and 3200 before arriving at the state meet. She came home eighth in the 1600 Saturday following a fifth-place run Friday in the 3200.
A sophomore but here for the first time after missing the state meet last year due to illness, NHS long jumper Khyland Wallace came home fourth in the long jump.
"I was a little nervous competing against these guys, there are a lot of great competitors out here," said Wallace, who later ran a speedy second leg for NHS in its third-place effort to close out the day in the mile relay. "I just wanted to do my best and reach the podium."
• Big move by Sabercats: Southmoore's girls made a big push on the final day of the meet, spurred on by Johnson and her sprinting teammates.
Jada Atkinson, a sophomore, pulled away in the closing 20 yards and cruised to the gold medal in the 200 meters, winning in a time of 25.11 seconds. Atkinson earlier had finished third in the 100 meters for the Sabercats and appears to have quite a bright future ahead.
A pair of seniors, Analya Miller and Shelby Maddy, nearly got Southmoore another gold in the 100 hurdles, finishing second and third, respectively.
Southmoore's 800 relay team, made up of Honestie Clark, Atkinson, Johnson and Miller, scored yet another second-place finish in one of the day's first events, while the Sabercats' mile relay took third to wrap up the day.
• Semien shines: Following a fourth-place finish in Friday's 3200 meter final, Westmoore junior Phillip Semien had his sights set a little higher up the podium Saturday in the mile.
He got there and then some, cruising to victory by more than a second in a school record time of 4:22.40 to add a state medal to his earlier regional championship. The effort helped to give the Jaguars a nice boost on their way to coming home fifth in the Class 6A team standings.
• Noble effort: Noble’s Bears didn’t have a large contingent make it to Moore but got some solid performances on the weekend.
Topping that list was senior distance runner Calvin Allen, who placed second Saturday in the 1600 meters, following up a second-place finish in Friday’s 3200.
Allen did everything he could, almost reeling in MacArthur's Samuel Nickell Jr., but falling just .07 seconds short at the finish line in one of the more exciting finishes of the day in any event.
• Finishing up strong: Several more seniors made their final state meets memorable as well.
North's Moises Ortega and Norman High's Josh Camp finished second and third, respectively, in a closely-contested 800-meter run. Both also competed later in the 1600 but failed to place.
Norman High's Sophia Maag and Anna Backus made their final high school runs in the 1600, with Maag finishing on the medal stand in fifth place and Backus coming home ninth. Each had earned team points the day before in the 3200.
• Rain holds off: While it looked like rain was imminent pretty much all day Saturday, the skies never did open up. And the cooler-than-average temperatures and overcast skies with mild winds made for good conditions for the competitors.
The meet saw only one state record broken. On Friday, Yukon pole vaulter Kyla Davis soared 12 feet, 9 inches, breaking the previous record by almost a full foot.