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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • Sulphur, Davis among contenders in open 3A

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  • Get ready for a rollercoaster.
    In a wide-open 3A, with teams across Southern Oklahoma contributing qualifiers in a variety of events, it really may be anyone’s game at Noble Stadium this weekend for the state meet.
    “It’s there for the taking,” Sulphur coach Terry Neal said of the state title. “There’s half a dozen teams with a chance as long as they step up.
    “I hope we’re one of the ones who do.”
    As well he should; the Bulldogs will feature a variety of athletes across a spectrum of events, especially among the girls.
    Sulphur qualified in all four relays, a crucial step towards a title, and will also feature several strong individuals, most notably Ashley Hughes in the 800 meter run.
    Hughes will enter as the top qualifier in the event, coming off a season-best time last week at the Madill regional.
    Neal’s daughter, Carleigh, is also a strong contender in the long jump, while Salina Johnson came off a season-best 36-9.5 in the shot put and should make noise at the state meet.
    Neal will be challenged in the long jump by Tishomingo’s Mariah Gunter, the defending 3A state champ in the event, but her father believes she, and the rest of the Bulldogs, are up to the challenge.
    “This is the best group of girls we’ve had,” Neal said. “They’re just competitors, and it has carried through all their sports; they like to answer the call.”
    They should be also challenged by Marietta, which will also feature a plethora of contenders across the spectrum of events on the girls side.
    “I’ve just been really happy to see them going out and competing,” coach Matt Appleman said. “That’s what you love to see this time of the year.”
    One of the Indians really stepping up to the challenge has been freshman Mallory Sykora, who won the pole vault at regionals with a personal best of 9-6 that also tied the mark for the best performance in 3A this year.
    “It’s just awesome for her,” Appleman said. “I think she’ll be a big contender at the state meet.”
    There will also be an opportunity for Hailey Frazier in the high jump, coming off a personal-best of 5-2 at Madill.
    Among the boys, Davis comes off a second place team finish at the Madill regionals, led by the sprinting brothers Michael and Dedrien Nowden.
    Michael (10.96) and Dedrien (11.02) are the two fastest 100 runners in 3A this season, according to ohstrack.com, and are also legs of the Wolves’ 4x200m relay that qualified for the state meet.
    Page 2 of 2 - In the field, Davis will rely on Ryder McCaskill, who captured the top distance in the shot put at last week’s regional and will be looking to place in his second trip to the state meet.
    “I went last year and it was a lot of fun,” McCaskill said. “There are a lot of people watching, and it makes you want to do your best.”
    Follow White on Twitter: @swhiteARD
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