You couldn’t call Jeff Surrell angry necessarily, but there’s a tone to the Ardmore senior that hints of something far from content.
Surrell has been a part of multiple state title teams in relays, but as he was flanked by his teammates who are headed to the Class 5A state track meet this weekend, he still fees like there’s something to prove.
“I knew that we would be behind losing Jywayne (Allen) and Kenny (Gordon) last year,” Surrell said. “I knew things would be rough in the beginning, but like all things do, they smooth out over time.”
Ardmore will send a smaller boys contingent than usual, with Surrell leading the way in the 100-meter dash and the 4x400 relay.
The rest of the team members are relative newcomers to the state stage. On the 4x400, Surrell is joined by juniors Easton Gordon and Carter Swanson, and sophomore Keeton Conway.
The Tigers also have a potential medalist in the shot put and discus. Junior Daylen Baker surprised the field at the 5A regional at Edmond North last week by sweeping each event with season high throws.
Baker, who’s lost 50 pounds since the end of football season, is in the best shape of his high school career and is ready to surprise some more people at state. He capitalized on an injury to Deer Creek’s Ryan Donnahue to capture the discus by close to 10 feet, and he won the shot put by two feet at regionals.
“This is my first year wrestling and I lost 50 pounds. I didn’t play basketball and I went straight to the wrestling room and lost the weight,” Baker said. “I’ve been increasing my throws by two feet every track meet.”
Early in the season, the forecast didn’t look promising for the Tigers, but some adjustments to their relay lineup produced a team that was capable of making state.
Gordon said things started to turn around for Ardmore at the Duncan High School meet, where the boys were first in the 4x100 and second to only 6A’s Lawton in the 4x400.
“We just put the people on the relays where they needed to be,” Gordon said. “We used our talent where it was needed.”
Surrell has a little experience with the 4x400, running on state championship teams in his freshman and sophomore years. He thinks it’s important to let everyone know at state that Ardmore isn’t going anywhere in the event, even when he exits.
Gordon, Conway and Surrell will all return next season. Baker will also be back in the field events.
“If your’re in the state meet, you’re goal should be to win it,” Surrell said. “Ardmore has a good name when it comes to the 4x400. Maybe this will be a preview for next year, to let them know that Ardmore is going to be tough to run with.”
Follow Horne on Twitter: @ekhorneARD