A young and rapidly-developing Pawhuska High School track and field team became better — as well as younger — with the addition of freshman transfer Warren Graves.
"He’s not just a freshman," Frye said of the speed-burning ninth-grader who recently moved here from Claremore. "He’s a young really freshman, but he’s pretty darned quick — he can go."
While the sophomore-rich squad of the Lady Huskies has shown steady improvement this season, the PHS boys’ team took a hop, step and jump forward with the addition of the young runner/jumper.
Graves joined the Huskies three weeks ago and attracted immediate attention with a second-place finish in the 200-meter race at a meet in Beggs. His emergence continued last Tuesday during rugged sprint competition at Vinita and hit high gear with his dazzling 100-meter performances Friday at Enid’s Chisholm Invitational.
Also at the Chisholm meet, the Pawhuska girls took fourth place in the combined team scoring from among 18 Class 3A schools that competed. High jumper Haley Mouser and hurdler Sarah Phillippi, a pair of PHS sophomores, both garnered gold medals.
The previously non-contending Huskies pulled out a ninth-place team finish. Its total got a boost from a strong showing by a hastily-assembled 4x100 relay squad that included Graves and a sophomore trio of Bradley Moreland, A.J. Young and Matthew Taft. Football standout Taft is another recent addition to the PHS track squad.
Relay events have been a specialty area for the Pawhuska girls, who got a season-best effort from its 4x200 unit comprised of senior Whitney Cotton, Phillippi and freshmen Heather Conner and Darienne Frye. The squad blazed to a first-place finish in a time of 1:52.28, edging the runnerup and third-placers by almost a second.
Phillippi took first in 300-meter hurdles with a winning time of 47.8 seconds, which was .61 of a second faster than the second-place finish, while Mouser cleared her season-best height of five feet, four to win the high jump by a two-inch margin. A best-of-year pole vault of eight feet by Darian Lookout earned the PHS senior sixth place in that event.
The Lady Huskies compiled 64 points at Enid and finished behind Hennessey Lady Eagles (152 points), the host Chisholm squad (with 89) and the Tonkawa Lady Buccaneers (81). Perry placed sixth with 42 points, while Pawnee was 10th (18 points) and Woodland 13th (10).
Pawhuska senior Justin Barnes was third in the boys’ shot put at Chisholm with a heave of 44 ½ feet. The following day, the steady senior strongman put the shot 44 feet, two inches, to also take third in the meet at Bristow.
"We only took a partial squad to Bristow," said Frye. "Some of our kids were getting pretty well worn down."
Nonetheless, the PHS girls placed seventh overall at Bristow. Mouser won the high jump (again going 5-4) and the Lady Huskie 4x200 relay unit took second. Fourth-place finishes came from Phillippi in the 300 hurdles and the 4x400 squad.
At Chisholm, Graves burned a 11.39-second clocking in the 100-meter final to take second place behind Kolby Mendenhall of Perry (11.01). In the preliminary heat, he blazed to a first-place finish in a time of 11.55 seconds, ahead of Mendenhall in third. Graves also placed fourth in the long jump with a leap of 18 feet, nine and a quarter inches.
Moreland was fourth in the pole vault with his top effort of the season, 10 feet-six inches. The PHS boys’ 4x100-meter unit qualified third during the preliminaries (time: 45.76 seconds) en route to taking fourth place in the finals. With a leap of five feet-six inches, sophomore J.R. Young grabbed sixth place in the high jump.
Pawhuska freshman Darienne Frye placed fourth in the 100-meter hurdles after finishing third in the prelims with a time of 17.44 seconds. Baylee Sutherland, a Lady Huskie sophomore, barely missed qualifying for the finals of the event.
Lady Huskies Kortney Barnhart (13.58 seconds) and Cotton (13.61) registered strong performances in their preliminary heat and went on to the finals of the 100-meter dash, where Barnhart finished fifth and Cotton took sixth.
Second-place finishes by the determined sophomore duo of Phillippi and Mouser helped the Pawhuska girls take seventh-place in the team standings at the Vinita meet, held Tuesday, April 15.
Phillippi continued to excel in the 300-meter hurdles and Mouser performed likewise in the high jump. A 48.5-second time gave Phillippi a strong runnerup finish that was only a second off the Pittsburg, Kan., winner’s pace.
The top medal eluded Mouser, who claimed high-jumping titles in four previous season meets. Mouser’s best jump at Vinita left her two inches below the winning effort of five feet, four inches — a height the Pawhuskan had cleared twice in practice just a few days earlier.
Lookout placed fifth in the girls’ pole vault with a clearance of seven feet.
Lady Huskie entries took fourth in the 800-meter relay, fifth for the 4x100 and sixth in the 1,600-meter relay event.
The PHS 4x400 relay squad finished sixth with a time 4:25.4, which was less than four seconds out of fifth place. Frye was especially impressed with the strong showing by the 4x400 unit, which shaved 10 seconds off its earlier best time. The 4-by-200 squad of Cotton, Barnhart, Frye and Conner ran a 1:52.9 to finish fourth and the 4x100 unit (Cotton, Barnhart, Phillippi and Frye) placed fourth in 52.68 seconds.
Pawhuska collected 15 points en route to an 11th-place team finish in the boys’ competition at Vinita.
Barnes notched a third-place showing in the shot with a throw of 42 feet, 10 ½ inches which left him less than 20 inches short of the second throw. Pole-vaulter Moreland also recorded a third-place effort with a height clearance of 11 feet.
Graves dashed to a fifth-place finish at 100 meters with a time of 11.38 seconds that put him just .7 of a second behind fourth-place Nate Moore of Nowata. Paul Davis of Pittsburg, Kan., won the event with an 11:08 clocking.
Next Monday, April 28, the Pawhuska High School track and field teams will host the Big Eight Conference Meet at Ormand Beach Memorial Stadium. Also competing will be squads from Blackwell, Hominy, Newkirk, Pawnee, Perry, Tonkawa and Woodland. Starting time is 4 p.m.