Piedmont will be well represented at the Class 5A State Track and Field meet set to be held today and Saturday at Moore High School.
The Lady Wildcats qualified a total of eight athletes while the boys had seven qualify at the regional meet at Yukon High School last week, led by regional champion 110-meter hurdler Ethan Taylor, and Blake Cope who won the 1600 and 3200-meter runs at regionals.
For the Lady Wildcats, Ashlen Hamon was a pleasant surprise in the 400-meter dash, taking second in 1:01.92 to become the highest placer at regionals.
Taylor favored to win state for boys
Ethan Taylor is the lone senior on Piedmont’s roster this season, and if his times hold form, he’ll go out in style.
Taylor won regionals with a 15.31, almost a second ahead of second place Dylan Portillo of Guymon.
Taylor was expected to win the 300-meter hurdles as well, but caught his foot on the first hurdle and tumbled to the ground. Taylor made a remarkable recovery to finish third and qualify for state.
“He was in seventh place right off the bat,” head coach Corey Strahorn said. “So he’s got that out of his hat now.”
Taylor’s time projects him as a state champ in the 300 and could challenge for the 110-meter title, assuming her performs up to par.
“I’ve told him to stick with his routine and stay humble,” Strahorn said of the advice he’s given Taylor about handling his role as the favorite. “There aren’t a lot of things I have to remind him of. He’s mentally extremely strong.”
Taylor also makes up a leg of the mile relay team that qualified for state. Running with Taylor are Jacob Storts, Jeff Gaines and Davis McDermott.
McDermott will also compete in the pole vault.
Cope, and Colton Lindsey, who took second in the two-mile run and third in the mile at regionals, will each compete in both events at state.
Junior 200-meter sprinter Michael Williams is Piedmont’s final qualifier. Williams ran a 23.11 at regionals, good for fourth and only 0.7 seconds off of a school record.
“If we had a most-improved athlete this season, it would be Michael Williams,” Strahorn said. “Based upon where he’s started and how he’s grown physically and mentally — he’s done a great job.”
Hamon surprises in 400-meter dash
Piedmont head girls track and field coach Jon Bakewell had a good feeling about how Ashlen Hamon would perform at regionals.
As it turned out, Bakewell’s hunch was dead on. Hamon ran her best race of the season to finish second in the 400-meter dash in a time of 1:01.92 and qualify for her first state tournament.
“She did great. I felt like she could, it was just a matter of her doing it and she did,” Bakewell said.
Sophomore Josilyn Schenk, meanwhile, qualified for her second state tournament in as many years with a third place finish in the 800-meter run.
“I expected it of her, but she did a great job,” he said.
A pair of Piedmont’s relay teams will run at Moore, too. The Lady ‘Cats’ 4 X 400 relay team of Kylie Burris, Lydia Wade, Megan Wortmann and Anna Jacobs qualified as an at-large. The 4 X 800 team of Hannah Thomas, Sydnei Storts, Burris and Schenk also made the cut via the at-large path.
Burris also qualified in the high jump while Wortmann made state in the 100-meter hurdles and narrowly missed the cut in the 300-meter hurdles.
All eight girls are set to return to the team next season.
“It’s great to bring a group of kids and be competitive,” Bakewell said. “