MADILL — When a void is created, something must fill it.
On Saturday, Sulphur took a big step in that direction.
The Bulldogs girls squad earned a second place finish at the Class 3A regional in Madill on Saturday, qualifying in all four relays and in several individual events.
With Plainview out of the 3A picture, the strong showing puts the Bulldogs in prime position to make a run at the state meet next week.
"We've talked about this, we think we can do it," Sulphur coach Terry Neal said. "If everything clicks like it's supposed to, we feel like we have a chance to compete with anybody."
Sulphur was a force in the relays, earning qualifying times in the 4x100, 4x400 and 4x800, while taking second place in the 4x200 due to a mishandled baton pass.
The Bulldogs are the defending state champions in the 4x400, and defending it is something that has not been ignored by the team.
"We've worked really hard in practice, day in and day out, working for the goal of winning state if we can," Tierani Richardson said. "Being as competitive as we are, of course we want to go defend our state title."
Individually, the Bulldogs got a season-record time from Ashley Hughes in a win at the 800, while Salina Johnson took an impressive victory in the shot put with a throw of 36 feet, 9 inches. Carleigh Neal qualified in both the long jump and pole vault.
"This is the best group of girls we've had," Neal said. "They're just competitors."
On the boys side, Haydn Rogers earned a victory in the pole vault with a height of 13-0, though he feels he has another level he can reach.
"I've gotten (13-6) in practice, and that's what I'm shooting for at state," Rogers said.
Among other area contenders, Marietta put forth a strong effort on the day, getting wins from Haley Frazier in the high jump, Mallory Sykora in the pole vault and a qualifying distance in the long jump from Abbie Winchester. The Indians also got a sweep in the boys 110 and 300 hurdles from Caleb Fincher.
"They're just going out and competing, doing their best," coach Matt Appleman said. "Depending on what happens elsewhere, I think (Sykora) has the top jump in 3A, which is awesome."
Tishomingo got qualifiers in the girls 4x200, as well as individual qualifiers in Mariah Gunter at the long jump and Travis Ward at the discus. Ward's throw of 139-01 was over six feet better than the runner-up.
Davis's boys placed second overall, earned a top qualifying time in the 4x200 and through Dedrien Nowden in the 100 dash, along with a win from Ryder McCaskill in the shot put.
Page 2 of 2 - "I know there's a couple of guys at Stroud who can throw it," McCaskill said. "I'm hoping to work on it at practice this week, get my technique down and be ready."
Blake Summers qualified for the Wolves in the 200 dash and long jump, placing second in each. Mitchell Scott was second in the 110 hurdles.
Kingston had Ethan Davis qualify with a fourth-place finish in the high jump. The Redskins also qualified in the 4x800 and 400 (Dylan Mathews).
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