In a nailbiter, Ardmore girls track and field captures Class 5A State Championship

Beau Bearden
The Daily Ardmoreite
The Lady Tigers battled to the final event on Saturday as they held off Bishop McGuinness by 2.5 points to win the Class 5A State Championship. It was the program's 11th state title and first since 2002.

It’s safe to say one of the toughest feelings in sports is finishing as a state runner-up on multiple occasions.

The Ardmore High School girls track and field team has experienced that pain, but put it in the rearview mirror Saturday by winning the Class 5A State Championship at Noble Stadium.

“This is, by far, the best,” said Lady Tigers coach Brenda McHatton. “The state runner-ups were nice, but we were due. We’ve been waiting for a long time to get here. I have some great assistant coaches and several that volunteer with no pay. They come in every day with our kids. If it wouldn’t have been for my coaching staff, we wouldn’t be here right now. Our kids worked hard.”

And the coaching staff’s help paid off as Ardmore narrowly won the state title over Bishop McGuinness by less than three points. The Lady Tigers finished with 95 points, followed by Bishop in second with 92.5 and Lawton Eisenhower in third at 75.5 points.

“We went point-for-point with our kids, ‘This is where we have to be and this is what we have to do,’” McHatton said. “And for it to come down to 2.5 points at the end, I’d say our kids did what they had to do.”

Izabela Popa lived up to her coach’s words as she won a state title in the shot put with a throw of 38 feet, 2.5 inches.

Popa also finished second in the discus at 131 feet, eight inches, while Reagan Geurin took third (129 feet, 6 inches) and Makayla Cronemeyer was ninth at 111 feet, three inches.

The Lady Tigers group of Ayanna Leggins, Honey Jefferson, Cheyenne Petties and Khalayah Willis were also state champions in the 4x200 relay with combined 1:46.34.

Ardmore finished third in the 4x100 at 50.37, while the Lady Tigers placed sixth in 4x400 and 4x800.

Willis ran a 12.51 in the 100 to place third, while Petties took fourth in the long jump at 16 feet, 6.25 inches, followed by Shakira Smith in fifth (16 feet, 5 inches) and Naughtica Douglas in ninth at 15 feet, 6 inches.

Smith also added a fifth-place finish in the 300 hurdles at 48.44.

Octavia Hill ran a 1:02.88 to take sixth in the 400, while Leggins was seventh at 1:03.03.

Douglas finished seventh in the high jump at five feet and Hill was eighth in the pole vault at nine feet.

Presley Caldwell took ninth in the 800 at 2:31.78, while Delilah Roberts was 13th in the 3,200and Dayna Baker rounded out the top performers with a 13th-place finish in the shot put.