Local track-and-field thinclads will hit full stride next week when the starting gun sounds for the Pawhuska High School Invitational Track Meet.
The annual event is set to begin Tuesday at 10 a.m. Student athletes from 15 schools are expected to participate in competitions that will go on throughout the day at Ormand Beach Memorial Stadium and in the throwing areas located a block east of the track.
A dozen squads from as far away as Enid took part in the Pawhuska Invitational Junior High Meet, which was held Tuesday, March 25. Pawhuska Junior High School claimed first-place team honors in the seventh-grade girls’ division, while the PJHS eighth-grade boys and girls both finished second.
On Saturday, the Pawhuska High School varsity track-and-field squads participated in the Tiger Track Classic at Stroud.
PHS sophomore Haley Mouser claimed the first-place gold medal for the girls’ high jump, picking up right where she left off a year ago. Mouser’s winning leap of 5 feet, 2 inches matched her fourth place-winning height at the 2013 Class 3A State Meet.
Another Lady Huskie sophomore, Sarah Phillippi, took third in the 300-meter hurdles at Stroud. Her time of 50.24 seconds was only seven-tenths of a second behind the second-place effort. A fourth-place finish was turned in by the PHS girls’ 800-meter relay squad, which is comprised of Phillippi, Heather Conner, Darienne Frye and Whitney Cotton.
The Pawhuska boys produced a pair of medal winners Saturday. Senior Justin Barnes placed second in the shot put with a heave of 45 feet, 8 1/4 inches — just eight inches behind the winner. Huskie sophomore Bradley Moreland took third place in the pole vault. His clearance at 10 feet, 6 inches matched the second-highest vault in the competition.
"Because of the quality of the teams there, Stroud is kind of like an introduction to the state track meet for us," Pawhuska head coach Mark Frye said.
After advancing three relay units to last year’s championships, the PHS girls have re-loaded and are looking to be state contenders again.
Lady Huskie relay teams swept the girls’ relay events during the Danny Daniels Relays held March 13 at Bucks Memorial Stadium in Hominy.
The 4 x 100-meter relay squad from PHS was made up of freshman Darienne Frye, sophomore Phillippi, senior Cotton and junior Kortney Barnhart. The 4 x 200-meter unit included Phillippi and freshmen Heather Conner, as well as Frye and Cotton.
Pawhuska’s winning 4 x 400-meter team includes Frye, Conner, sophomore Haley Mouser and Cotton. The first-place 4 x 800-meter unit is composed of freshmen Madelyn Priest, Alitia Kennedy and Mary Jo Upchurch with sophomore Erika Barker.
In the 100-meter dash at Hominy, Cotton took second and Barnhart placed third. Frye finished fourth in the 100-meter hurdles.
Mouser sailed over the bar at 5 feet, two inches to a win in the high jump.
The top finisher for the Huskies at Hominy was Brad Moreland, who cleared a personal-best height of 11 feet, six inches to win the pole vault. Darian Lookout, a senior for the Lady Huskies, took fourth place in a strong field of pole vaulters for the girls.
Phillippi knocked 1 1/2 seconds off her personal-best time with a first-place effort in the 300-meter hurdles.
The PHS track-and-field teams will continue tuning up for the upcoming home meet this Friday when they go to Beggs for the fifth-annual Bill Wylie Invitational Meet.
Later this month, the Pawhuska units are slated to compete at Vinita on Tuesday, April 15, and at the Route 66 Track Classic in Chandler on Saturday, April 19.