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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • Ardmore girls 7th as a team, lower school mark in 4x800

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  • YUKON — On the eve of the Class 5A state meet, coach Steve Wright and runner Kevi Davis stared up at the track and field records in the Ardmore Fieldhouse.
    The girls 4x800-meter time read 9 minutes, 58 seconds.
    "I told everyone that that was impossible to beat," Davis said.
    Well, Davis and the team of Zoe Booker, Celia Caro and Destinee Howell surprised themselves on Friday, shattering the school record with a 9:48.05 to place second in the 4x800 at Yukon High School.
    The runner-up finish to Shawnee was a tight race that propelled the Tigers to a seventh-place finish as a team in 5A. Deer Creek won the team title with 101.5 points to Shawnee's 96.
    "Overall, I'm very proud of them," Ardmore coach Brenda McHatton said. "They definitely came to compete. I think we have a ways to go to compete for an overall state championship, but we definitely can't fault any effort this weekend."
    On Ardmore's historic 4x800, the Tigers got more out of themselves than they could have ever imagined. So did Shawnee, which ran a winning time of 9:44.64.
    Three of Ardmore's four legs ran season-best splits in the race.
    "We talked about what we had to do as far as running a time to run with Shawnee," said Wright, who coaches the distance runners. "Of course, Shawnee stepped up their time but we were the first ones that had really given them a race all year long."
    Davis, a freshman, was ecstatic after the race, having ran her first sub-2:30 split in the 800 in her entire career. Her personal best in the second leg of the 4x800 gave the Tigers a sizeable lead going into the third leg.
    Davis said she was inspired by Booker, who blazed a 2:20 split to lead off the race despite running with a hurt knee.
    "Zoe, she was hurt, her knee was killing her, so she made me put my game face on," Davis said. "She made me want to get out there and run my hardest, so I got out there."
    Davis said the Tigers' goal going into the 4x800 was to knock 2 1/2 seconds off of each leg, but when she found out about her hobbled teammate, she knew they'd need more.
    Davis' previous best time 800 split was 2:38. The freshman ran a 2:28 on Friday.
    "It's possible," Davis said. "Anything is possible."
    Howell and Booker turned around on Saturday and ran to respective second- and third-place finishes in the 800 run. Howell, who finished just .19 of a second (2:31.32) behind Paige Hughes of Shawnee (2:21.13), closed her career with two state medals in the 800, adding to her sixth-place from a year ago. Booker finished in 2:24.11, setting a personal record along with Howell.
    Wright thinks Booker, just a freshman, has all the makings of a future state champion.
    Page 2 of 3 - "She'll be the next name we change on that wall in the 800," Wright said.
    The 4x800 team was the closest Ardmore came to an event win. Despite running its best time of the season (50.82), Ardmore's 4x100 relay team of Shamise McGee, Keynesha Noland, Howell and Christin Russell missed qualification for the finals by three-tenths of a second. The Tigers' 4x400 team did not make the finals in the event.
    Kaitlyn Cronemeyer placed sixth in the shot put for Ardmore with a throw of 36-10. She and teammate Brittany Harrison each set personal records in the shot. Russell qualified for the finals in the 100 and 200, placing fifth with a personal best 26.11 in the 200.
    Besides Howell, all of Ardmore's track and field athletes that competed at state will return next season, and Wright says the Tigers have a good group of runners ready to fill in the void left by their lone senior.
    "Coach (Douglas) Wendel was asking me if we had a chance to put any new records on the wall today," Wright said. "I said 'I kinda doubt it, coach.' It's kinda nice to eat your words."
    Baker 3rd in shot for Ardmore boys
    As the rest of the Ardmore boys runners waited for their turn, Daylen Baker already had one medal in hand.
    The junior placed third in the shot put on Friday, setting a personal record with a toss of 50-4.
    "The competition was really hard today," Baker said Friday. "The two guys from Duncan, they threw above 55 (feet), so it was a little difficult for me today."
    Duncan's Derek McKnight won the shot put with a 57-9, with teammate Kevin Roddy throwing 56-8 for second.
    Baker said his performance in the shot put would serve as a confidence boost going into Saturday's discus finals. Baker threw 134-10 on Saturday, but did not qualify for the finals.
    "I was real nervous but I was excited, too, because I knew I had a chance to come in third place," Baker said of the shot put. "I just need to work on my technique, practice more and get stronger."
    Ardmore coach Corey Russell said Baker was confident going into Friday's throws.
    "Daylen went in there, and he said 'Coach I feel really good," Russell said. "Daylen, from where he weas last year to where he is today, is night and day.
    "He's trimmed down and he's gotten so much stronger in the weight room. I'm very proud of him. Having a good attitude and hard work will go a long way."
    Deer Creek won the 5A boys championship as well, outscoring Duncan 175-71. Ardmore's boys were 21st with six points.
    Broken Arrow won the 6A boys state title, the first in school history. Edmond Memorial was the 6A girls champion, beating Edmond Santa Fe 134-73.
    Page 3 of 3 - Follow Horne on Twitter: @ekhorneARD
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