ARDMORE — Aside from the quality and significance of their awards, the opening session of the Oklahoma Track and Field Championships was not much different than almost every other meet this year for Pawhuska High School seniors Timmy Wann and Zak Stone.
The spring-legged PHS duo continued their phenomenal seasons Friday by winning gold medals in the state meet at Ardmore High School. Stone also reeled off second- and fourth-place finishes on Saturday, giving the Huskies the sixth-highest points total in the Class 3A final team standings.
On Day One at the state meet, Stone struck gold with a first-place finish in the high jump. He added a silver medal later in the day when he took second in the pole vault behind Wann, his Pawhuska teammate.
After earning third-place pole vault honors at last year’s state meet, the irrepressible Wann cleared the bar at 13 feet, six inches. He claimed the vaulting title over Stone by a decisive margin of half a foot — which is approximately the height difference between Wann and the 6-4 runner-up.
Six inches also provided the difference for Stone’s victory in the high jump. His top leap of six feet, eight inches, equalled his season-best effort and also matched the best in the state this year. At the 2012 state meet, Stone captured a bronze medal for third place in the high jump and finished 10th in pole vault.
Wann and Stone both claimed first place in their primary events at seven of the eight meets in which they participated this year. The only pole-vault loss by Wann came when he was second to Stone. In his lone second-place finish for high jump, Stone tied the winner for height cleared but lost based on number of misses.
Otherwise, the Pawhuska pair were heads and shoulders above their competition. For the other three events in which Stone participated, it could also be said that the Huskie standout improved by leaps and bounds during the course of the season.
Stone picked up a silver medal Saturday for long jump and later added a fourth-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles. His career-best long jump of 21 feet, 9 1/4 inches, left Stone a mere quarter of an inch short in his quest for a second gold medal.
The fourth-place showing by Stone in the 300 hurdles was even more impressive given that he had never competed in the event until the previous Saturday, when he captured first place at the Chisholm Regional as part of a three-golds-and-a-silver medal performance.
Wann is the third Huskie pole vaulter to claim a gold medal at state, following in the stride-steps of Chance Herren in 2005 and Luke Christenson in 2006. Stone became the third-ever Pawhuskan to win a high jump championship as he was preceded by Tyler Hembree, winner of the crown in 2003, and two-time state titlest Chris Patrick, whose victories came in 1979 and 1980.
Patrick also was a Huskie to previously qualify for state in four separate events, as pointed out recently by former local track coach Don Byfield. At the 1980 Regional meet in Tulsa, Patrick won in the high jump, high hurdles, ran a leg on the winning 440 relay team and placed in the 330 hurdles. He placed in the hurdles two straight years at state and his relay team finished fifth. (Thanks for that info, coach.)
In the 3A girls’ high jump competition, PHS freshman Haley Mouser finished fourth by going over at 5 feet, two inches. She was the lone state medalist for the Lady Huskies.
The Pawhuska girls squad qualified 11 to the event — including six freshmen, three sophomores and the squad’s lone senior, Hunter Sutherland. Their final point total left them tied with Lexington for 25th place. The Beggs Lady Demons won the girls’ team title with 96 points, 26 more than second-place Millwood.
With 40 points, the PHS boys squad topped seventh-placers Chandler and Chisholm by a pair of points and trailed fifth place Davis by four. Lincoln Christian (with 70 points) won its third straight 3A team title by a single point over runnerup Frederick, while Marlow and Millwood placed third and fourth.
All four Lady Huskie relay teams earned their way to the state meet. The Lady Huskie 400-meter squad (comprised of junior Whitney Cotton, sophomores Andie Sweeden and Kortney Barnhart, and freshman Keylee Kirk) finished seventh after qualifying for the finals with fifth fastest time in Friday’s preliminary heats.
Adding to an outstanding Pawhuska showing in pole vault, freshman Bradley Moreland tied for seventh in the boys’ division and junior Darian Lookout was seventh on the girls’ side.
Also for the Lady Huskies, Sutherland (11th in the 100-meter hurdles) and freshmen Kaylee Hambright (11th at 3200 meters, 14th at 1600 meters) and Sarah Phillippi (12th in the 300-meter hurdles).
The girls’ 3200-meter team for PHS (Cotton, Hambright, junior Carlie Culver and freshman Genie Herren) placed 12th. Pawhuska’s 800-meter relay squad of PHS (Sweeden, Kirk, Phillippi and Cotton) finished 10th in the prelims and did not qualify for the finals, while the 1600-meter unit (Sweeden, Phillippi, Kirk, Cotton) was 13th in the preliminaries.
For the younger members of the Lady Huskie track squad, just making it to the state tournament represented a major achievement. Their continued improvement throughout the season and into the state-sanctioned events served as major indicators that they will be returning in the future as serious contenders, however.
"I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better group of kids," PHS coach Mark Frye said. "They’ve worked hard all season long and made extra special efforts to help one another."