Plainview Track Club has been known for its sterling reputation in the national meet over the years. The Ardmore-based youth track and field club continued to add to its tradition last week.
Abby Bilsbury, Stephen Bilsbury, Dru Naylor and Bailey Tilley all earned medals for placing in the top 8 at the AAU Junior Olympic Games in Humble, Texas, led by Tilley’s third-place finish in the girls 15-to-16-year-old discus.
Tilley’s performance in Texas capped off a week in which she competed in two different time zones.
The youngest competitor in the field, Tilley placed third with a distance of 118 feet, 3 inches. The previous week, she finished 10th in the USA Track and Field Junior Olympics in Sacramento, California.
“It was exhausting but exciting because I worked for it the whole summer,” she said. “Nationals in Sacramento was very professional and intimidating. A lot of people there were huge. You could tell everyone had worked hard all summer. I expected everyone to be on the same level as I was.”
Tilley says her experience in California prepared her for what to expect in Texas.
“My distance was not the best but was very good under the conditions,” she said. “I was really excited to get third because I had never placed in the top 8 in a national meet. It felt really good to be an All-American thrower.”
Naylor, the grandson of Plainview coach Jerry Naylor, saved his best throw for last in the 12-year-old boys discus. Dru threw about 95 feet twice during preliminaries before uncorking a throw of 99-3 in the final. He placed sixth. He also placed 23rd in the shot put with a toss of 33-5.
“I really wanted (100 feet) bad,” Dru said. “It just didn’t quite go. But it happens. I set a goal, worked hard and made it to nationals and medaled. It was pretty cool. It was fun. I had a lot of fun doing it.”
The Bilsbury siblings brought home two medals of their own to Ardmore.
Practicing in hot and humid weather conditions is a chore that Plainview faces during the summer and it helped to their advantage during the national meet in Texas — especially for pole vaulter Abby Bilsbury.
Clearing the bar at 11-5 3/4, that mark was good for a personal best and seventh overall for her in the girls 17-18-year-old age division of the pole vault.
“Honestly, what helped me was swinging up faster and getting my turn in faster,” Abby said. “I had a really good jump mark. I had them move the bar closer because my pole was bigger which gave me more room to turn. Overall, it was a really good vault.”
Stephen earned a trip to the medal stand after he took seventh in the boys 15-16-year-old age division with a clearance of 13-4 3/4.
“It was really awesome,” Abby said. “He worked hard. He is really hard on himself if he doesn’t do good. He is kind of a perfectionist. He always puts in the effort. He definitely deserves what he got.”
Ashlyn Frankum had a leap of 11-10 in the 10-year-old girls long jump, good for 19th overall.
Rebecca Warden paced Plainview in the middle-distance running events, taking 19th in the girls 15-16 division with a time of 5:11 and 34th in the 800 in a time of 2:26.85.
“That was a really good time for her in the 800,” Jerry Naylor said. “Probably 70 to 80 kids ran.”
Katie Wiggs finished 45th in the girls 14-15 age division of the 1,500-meter run in a time of 5:55.
“We had a really good meet,” coach Naylor said. “To get four medals, to come from a really small track club, to come from a really small area is really good.”