In very warm and windy conditions, the Altus Lady Bulldogs turned in some of their best performances of the year and finished second at the Class 5A regional track and field meet Saturday at Edmond Deer Creek.
Deer Creek won easily with 225 points. The Lady Bulldogs had 86.5 points, Del City was third with 77, Guthrie was fourth with 61, and Chickasha was fifth with 56.5.
Deer Creek also won the boys division, scoring 221 points, and Guthrie was second with 150. Malik Knight’s victory in the high jump led third-place Altus to 71 points.
“Deer Creek is rated No. 1 (girls) for a reason,” Altus girls coach Robert Garrison said. “They are moving up to 6A next year and will probably be a favorite in that class.
“Our girls did an outstanding job overall. We had our ups and downs in some events, but we got qualified for state in almost all the running events, so we will see what happens there.”
In one of the most heartbreaking and controversial moments of the regional, Altus’ Ashely Hughes, ranked No. 2 statewide in the 5A 100-meter hurdles, was running in the final when the leader knocked over a hurdle that landed in Hughes’ lane and caused Hughes to fall and fail to finish.
“It was a bad deal all around for Ashely,” Garrison said. “No one was at fault, but we are appealing the outcome directly to the OSSAA (Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association) to have them allow Ashely a chance for a re-run.
“The really awesome thing was the number of coaches and athletic directors who came to our aid to help us try to make this right. Hopefully something good will come out of this for Ashely.”
Hughes regrouped and won the 300 hurdles in 48.11 seconds. She was the Lady Bulldogs’ only regional champion.
“Ashely ran a heck of a race at that point.” Garrison said. “She had about 20 minutes to calm down after the disappointment of the 100s. Most girls would have just gave up, but she gutted it out and proved herself.”
Finishing second for Altus in the regional and earning state berths were Zetta McCaskill in the 400 meters, Jimmie Dollins in the 100 hurdles and the 1600 relay of McCaskill, Hughes, Tyara Jones and Gracie Hernke.
Finishing third and qualifying for state were Kiandra Knight in the 200, Julia Pack in the 3200 and the 3200 relay of Pack, Hernke, Bree Barker and Lexi Herron.
The top three in each event at each of the four regionals plus the next-four-best performers statewide qualify for the state meet Friday and Saturday at Yukon. Competition will start at 1 p.m. Friday. The four wild-card state qualifiers in each event were to be named today.
Taking fourth in the regional for Altus were Knight in the 100 and the 800 relay of Knight, McCaskill, Hughes and Jones.
Finishing fifth were Pack in the 1600 and Britney Drewry in the pole vault. Pack was sixth in the 800.
“Knight had a hard day, having to run prelims and finals in the 100 and 200, and those were sandwiched around the 400 and 800 relays,” Garrison said. “She didn’t get much rest between those runs, and she performed like a champion.
“Pack also came through big, running all four of those distance races, and hopefully she’ll qualify in the 800 and 1600.”
For the Altus boys at the regional, Kalen Knight finshed fourth in the 100, Gant Duncan was sixth in the 800, Alan Ortiz took fourth in the 1600 and 3200, Ben McBrayer took third in the 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles, Thomas Hughes took sixth in the 110 hurdles, the 400 relay of Malcolm Lewis, Knight, Deante Harris and Tyler Phillips finished fifth, the 800 relay of Johnny Esquivel, Knight, Harris and Phillips finished fourth, the 1600 relay of Harris, Cameron Loving, Duncan and Caleb Vanderzel finished fifth, the 3200 relay of Ortiz, Loving, Duncan and Giovanni Esmerado finished third, and Derek Baumgardner finished fourth in the pole vault. Knight’s winning jump was 6 feet, 2 inches.