Photos by Michael Kinney (@EyeAmTruth)
By Michael Kinney
YUKON -- For Del City, it was business as usual. Their trip to the 5A/6A State Track and Field Championships ended the same way it has the previous two season, with them on the top step of the podium holding a championship trophy.
"We knew what we had to do coming in here," Del City coach Christa Geary said. "It was a business trip. We took care of it. They've been here before. They're 3-peaters, so it's nothing new for us."
The Lady Eagles totaled 106 points to win the 5A state title. That is 34 points more than runner-up Ardmore.
Del City racked up more than half of its points in the relays. They took second in the 4x400 and first in the 4x100 and 4x200.
Geary credited the relay performance to the hours and hours of practice the Eagles put in during the season.
"The key for us has been taking care of business at practice and knowing that we had to perform in our relays," Geary said. "It's been about relays for us for the past, I don't know, since I've been here, 10 years. The 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 are key for us."
The Eagles also picked up titles from Jaya Barnes in the 400-meter dash and Sidney Sapp in the high jump.
"We have a lot of newbies, a lot of young kids that are getting some good experience from these senior leadership kids," Geary said. "We had a junior that stepped up this year. She's an 800 runner. I threw her in the 4x200. She won the 400. Sidney, senior, signed with Wichita State. She's been a phenomenal leader for us. Just every day at practice, consistent, always vocal and helping out these young kids. Just like another coach on the field."
No other team came close to the Eagles as far as points. Tahlequah (50), Grove (48), Claremore (46), Duncan (43), Altus (38), Eisenhower (35), Bishop Kelly (31) and Elgin (24) rounded out the top 10.
Del City came close to adding another title to their weekend resume in the 100-meter dash. But Brooke Thomas of Tahlequah ran a 12.01 to hold off the Eagles Lashonti Knight and Kunia Pettit.
Claremore's Katelyn Alexander was a double winner on the final day as she took home first place in the 1600 meter run (5:22.83) and the 800-meter run (2:19.65.)
The Eisenhower Eagles got an impressive outing from Gena Rogers. After medaling in the 4x100 (4th), 4x200 (4th) and the 110 hurdles (2nd), she ended the day weekend with a state title in the girls long jump.
Rogers' leap of 17-11 was enough to hold off Paige Hughes of Woodward.
"It feels good because I worked so hard for it and my coaches wanted it for me and I wanted it for myself," Rogers said. "The key was staying focused and knowing what I could do."
Del City's stranglehold on the 5A championship doesn't look like it will get any less tighter in the coming years. With several of the team members returning, Geary has designs to keep the trophy at their home for as long as possible.
"When we started getting this talent four or five years ago, we decided we're going to try to build something here," Geary said. "We already had an established program in the past that kind of fell off. We were like, we've got to get this back. We've had a phenomenal coaching staff. We've had some people leave and some people come, but everybody shows up to work every day. It takes a whole village. We have seven coaches this year, and that's really, really been imperative. Without great assistant coaches you can't make the truck run. Our goal was to build a dynasty and I think we're getting there."