Track squad surges ahead

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital
Track squad surges ahead

After several years of playing second fiddle to their Lady Huskie counterparts at high school track-and-field competitions, the Pawhuska High School Huskies have emerged as a comparable force to be reckoned with this season.

The Pawhuska boys tied for second place in the team standings at the Chisholm High School Invitational track-and-field meet in Enid last Saturday, while the Lady Huskies’ squad tied for third in the girls’ division.

Earlier in the week, when Pawhuska’s girls racked up 167 points in winning the Class 4A-and-under championship plaque at the Jerry Runyan Wildcat Relays in Ponca City, the Huskies narrowly missed capturing the 4A boys’ title.

Led by the splendid sprinting of junior Warren Graves, the Huskies compiled 71 points in the day-long Chisholm meet — which included 20 other schools. Graves won the 100-meter dash in a time of 11.2 seconds and anchored a first-place finish in the 4x100 relay.

Helping Graves fly to victory at the 400-meter distance (in a time of 45.04 seconds) were sophomore Brian Jeffers and juniors Tyler Wilson and Ben Gray. Graves, Jeffers, Gray and junior William Merrell just missed in the 4x200 relay, finishing a close second with a time of 1:34.7.

“The amazing part in the 4-by-100 was that they ran that fast of a time despite having two bad passes — including one that was awful,” said PHS coach Mark Frye.

The Huskies’ squad tied with Kingfisher, ahead of Weatherford but behind the host Longhorn squad’s 120-point total. Chisholm also claimed the girls’ team title by gathering 132 points to top Weatherford, with 61 points. The Lady Huskies matched Prague with 57 points.

According to Frye, the Huskies also posted the fastest time in the 4-by-100 preliminary heats. (Graves matched his meet-winning 100-meter time with an identical clocking in the qualifying heats.

“Having those prelims caused some of our guys to run an extra hard race or two,” the coach said. “The toughest part about that was that we already had people who were bothered by sore muscles, shins, etc.”

Frye said the PHS squads will travel to Pawnee next Monday for the Big 8 Conference Meet.

“But, we’re going to be winding things down a little and taking it a little easier now,” Frye said. “It’s that time of year when we’ve got to try to get everyone healthy for the Class 2A Regionals (April 30) and state meet.”

Lady Huskie senior Haley Mouser placed first in the high jump (5 feet, 2 inches) and 400-meter run (1:04.2) at Tuesday’s Ponca City meet. (On Wednesday, she signed a letter of intent to continue her track-and-field career at the collegiate level with Oklahoma State University.) Mouser also ran a leg on the Lady Huskies’ winning 4x400 and 4x800 relays at PC.

Oklahoma City’s Millwood squad finished second to the PHS girls, with 123 points., at Ponca. The Pawhuska boys’ total of 124 points was just five behind team victor Okmulgee.

Also fueling the Lady Huskies’ championship effort at Ponca City were first-place finishes by senior Sarah Phillippi in the 300-meter hurdles (Phillippi, who clocked in at 49.55 seconds, has been awarded a track scholarship from Rogers State University). Also, sophomore Aubrie Walker won the 3200-meter run (13 minutes 41.89 seconds)and was third in the mile. And, junior Rayven Stone won the long jump with a distance of 15 feet 1 1/2 inch, edging out senior teammate Danae Laird and junior Heather Conner, fourth.

The Lady Huskie 4x100 and 4x200 relays placed second. Junior Darienne Frye placed second in the 100 hurdles and Laird was third at 100 meters. Also, senior Keylee Kirk finished third in the discus, freshman Mercedes McCaffrey was fourth in high jump and junior Ashley Henley took sixth in the shot.

Other high finishes by PHS Huskie athletes at the Chisholm meet included:

— J.R. Young, second place, and William Merrell, third, in high jump — with both clearing 6 feet;

— senior Bradley Moreland, second in pole vault at 12-feet;

— junior Nathan Richardson, fifth in pole vault and seventh in the 110m hurdles;

— junior Tristen Tucker, sixth in 3200-meter run;

— Ben Gray, eighth in long jump.

In the girls’ events at Chishom the 4x100m relay was second (52.85 seconds), the 4x200m unit placed fourth, the 4x800 team was fifth and the 4x400 squad took sixth.

“That was pretty good, considering we had to do some substituting and the competition was tough as beans,” Frye said.

Haley Mouser continued to dominate the high jump competition, extending her regular meet record to more than three years with a winning height of 6 feet, 2 inches.

Also for the Lady Huskies:

— senior Genie Herren placed third in long jump with a leap of 15 feet, eight inches;

— Phillippi was fourth in the 300 hurdles;

— sophomore Star Sweeden was third and freshman Kianna Taylor fifth in the 100-meter dash; — 3. 13.51 6. 13.78. (1ST Deserae Wood, Woodland 13.23)

— Taylor and Sweeden also just missed qualifying at 200 meters, with Taylor placing seventh and Sweeden getting eighth;

— Walker was eighth at 3200 meters;