The sky appears to be the limit for Haley Mouser, the exceptional young high jumper of the Pawhuska High School Lady Huskies.
Mouser continued her climb toward the Class 3A state championships by clearing a personal-record elevation of 5 1/2 feet to take girls’ high jump honors in the Big 8 Conference Meet at PHS’s Ormand Beach Memorial Stadium.
Two weeks ago, Mouser had equalled her own height with a career-best flop of 5 feet, 4 inches, and she matched that feat in winning Monday’s seven-school competition. The willowy sophomore then proceeded to raise the bar, and her game, as she sailed well over the the 5-6 mark to establish a new season standard that is three inches superior to 3A’s next-best jumper.
"That was a big jump for her," said Mark Frye, the head track coach for the Huskies and Lady Huskies. "And, it came at a good time — heading into our Regional."
On Saturday, for the second year in a row, the Huskies and Lady Huskies will travel westward to Chisholm High School in Enid for their Oklahoma Class 3A Regional Meet. Also competing at the Enid Regional will be Alva, Chisholm, Crooked Oak, Harding Fine Arts, Holdenville, Lindsay, Newkirk, Nowata, Oklahoma Bible Academy, Oklahoma Centennial, Oklahoma Christian, Perkins-Tryon and Perry.
Top qualifiers from each event at Chisholm (as well as three other 3A Regionals being held at Tulsa Metro Christian, Prague and Madill) will advance to the 3A State Championships set May 9-10 at Moore.
Frye said the PHS squads should benefit from having participated in the Chisholm Invitational two week ago. He added that team members will have limited workouts leading up to the event.
Tonkawa cruised to victory in both divisions of Monday’s Big 8 Conference meet, with the Buccaneers compiling 219 points and the Lady Bucs getting 179. The Pawhuska Huskie (75 points) and Lady Huskie (156 1/2)squads battled their way to second-place finishes.
Other conference members included Newkirk (a close third in the boys’ standings with 71 points and sixth for the girls, with 20), Hominy (58 boys points and 30 for the girls), Woodland (52 points for each squad), Blackwell (boys’ points 46 and girls’ 30 1/2) and Perry (62 for boys, 46 girls). League-member Pawnee did not participate.
Pawhuska’s strong showing in the girls’ division featured first-place triumphs by sophomore Sarah Phillippi in the 300-meter hurdles and the 4x100 relay team, composed of junior Kortney Barnhart, Phillippi and freshmen Heather Conner and Danae Laird. Phillippi’s winning time of 49.25 was more than three seconds faster than the runnerup and the 400 relay won by nearly a three-second margin with a 51.87-second clocking.
First-place honors were also taken by the Lady Huskie 4x200 unit (senior Whitney Cotton, Phillippi, Conner and freshman Darienne Frye), which breezed to a 3 1/2-second victory in a time of 1:53.79.
The fleet-footed PHS girls swept the second-, third- and fourth-place spots in the 100-meter run, with Cotton (13.06 seconds) runnerup, followed by Barnhart (13.25) and Laird (13.76). Conner of Woodland edged out the Lady Huskies for first with a 12.97 effort.
"All three of our girls ran personal bests," Frye said. "We split our lineup a little, trying to score some extra points — but Tonkawa has so many kids, they’re tough to catch."
The Huskies’ efforts were highlighted by double-winning freshman transfer Warren Graves, who wowed the PHS crowd with a blistering 10.97-second time that nipped Shovanek of Perry (10.99) in the 100-meter dash. Graves registered a 23.24 at 200 meters to take a local speed duel over PHS sophomore Matthew Taft (23.44). Taft also placed second for the Huskies in the 110-meter hurdles.
Pawhuska senior Justin Barnes was a second-place finisher in the shot put and junior Dakota Jester took third in the discus with a personal-best throw. PHS freshman William Merrell was runner-up in the boys’ high-jump and sophomore A.J. Young placed third.
A year ago, PHS qualified 15 track-and-field athletes to the 3A state meet in Ada, where the Huskie seniors Zac Stone and Timmy Wann won first-place gold medals in high jump and pole vault, respectively, to go with one second and a third.
An even larger contingent of Pawhuskans may be taking part in the state meet this season. Individual performances by PHS track-and-field athletes are ranked among the season’s best for several events in Oklahoma Class 3A, including:
No. 4 in shot put — senior Justin Barnes, 45 feet, 8.25 inches.
No. 6 for pole vault — sophomore Bradley Moreland 11 feet.
No. 8 in 100 meters — freshman Warren Graves, 10.97 seconds.*
No. 11 at 200 meters — freshman Warren Graves, 23.24 seconds.*
No. 1 for high jump — sophomore Haley Mouser, 5 1/2 feet.*
No. 2 at 300-meter hurdles — sophomore Sarah Phillippi, 47.80 seconds.
No. 10 in pole vault — senior Darien Lookout, 8 feet.
No. 12 for 100-meter hurdles — freshman Darienne Frye, 17.44 seconds.
LADY HUSKIE RELAYS
The Pawhuska girls are continuing a decade-long tradition of excellence in the relays, for which coach Frye has been a primary architect. All four of the Lady Huskie squads have rated highly on the year’s 3A contenders’ list.
No. 6 in 4x200 relay — (senior Whitney Cotton, sophomore Sarah Phillippi, freshman Heather Conner, freshman Darienne Frye), 1:52.28.
No. 7 in 4x100 relay — (senior Kortney Barnhart, Phillippi, Conner, freshman Danae Laird), 52.68.
No. 10 in 4x400 relay — (Phillippi, Cotton, Mouser, Frye), 4:25.47.
No. 26 in 4x800 relay — (sophomore Erika Barker, freshman Alitia Kennedy, freshman Madelyn Priest, freshman Mary Jo Upchurch), 12:04.41.
*mark set Monday in Big 8 Conference Meet at Pawhuska