Cougar tracksters Giovanni Gutierrez and Payton Taylor will lead their respective squads into action in the Class 5A state track meet Friday and Saturday.
The 6A and 5A meets will be held at Yukon High School with coaches Nathan Elliott and Drake Daniels heading up the boys and girls qualifiers, respectively.
The top three placers in each event at all of the four regionals move on to the state meet. One additional qualifer is named for each event from the best times and distances from the combined regionals.
Gutierrez and the 1600 Meter Relay (Shiloh WIndsor, Tryce Prince, Gutierrez, Levi Grimes) placed third at the Deer Creek regional to advance to the state meet. Gutierrez turned in a 2:04 time in the 800 Meter Run, also good enough for third place. The 1600 Meter crew was third at 3:35.
Gutierrez also placed fourth in the 300 Meter Hurdles in 44.64.
The 400 Meter Relay (Grimes, Montrel Black, Jake Martinez, Windsor) was fourth at 44.55 and Windsor in the long jump at 20’5.75” and will compete as additional qualifiers.
For the girls, Taylor’s 4’10” high jump was good enough for second and advances her to the state meet, while McKenah Jones, fourth, 400 Meter dash, 1:02, and Krysten Wallace, 6th, long jump, 15’9”, will compete as additional qualifiers at the state meet.
Also, the 400 Meter Relay (Brittany Prince, Olivia Wells, Jaycee Boydstun, Jones, 6th, 51.70) and the 800m relay (Prince, Wells Boydstun, Jones, 5th, 1:51) made the state meet as additional qualifiers.
Both Elliott and Daniels tout the Yukon meet.
“It has been held there the past few years, the third in a row I think, and they hope to keep it there as long as they can. It is a good facility,” Elliott said.
Elliott was especially proud of the work his smallish squad put in this year.
“We took only nine kids up there and we didn’t do that bad considering. They competed hard all year,” Elliott said.
Daniels chimed in with agreement on his team’s effort and on the excellent facilities, though noting rain could be a problem.
“They do not let us in the school buildings, so there is not place to go through our warmups. Last time it rained we warmed up in the Suburban,” he said.
“I am really proud of them. They kept getting better and better and they are so young,” Daniels said.
Jones leads the relays loaded with underclassmen. Boydstun is the only senior on the relays
The sophomore Jones’ entry as a qualifier (1:02) gives her one more shot this year at the school record in the 400 Meter Dash. She has pressed for Pam Strong’s 1981 mark of 58.4. Strong also won the event at the state meet that year.
Among the boys runners, there was pride in Gutierrez and disappointment when an injury sidelined Austin Feezel.
“Giovanni came through with a great effort. He has been running well all year,” Elliott said.
Feezel had one of the best times in the 100 prelims, but pulled a hamstring and missed the rest of the meet.
The regional was dominated by the host school as Deer Creek won handily in boys and girls.
The boys racked up 221 points to 150 for second-place Guthrie. Ada was sixth with 30.
The Deer Creek girls outdid their boys with 225 to 86.50 for Altus. Ada was eighth with 21.