Photos by Michael Kinney (@EyeAmTruth)
By Michael Kinney
YUKON -- Analya Miller thought back on last year a lot. The hurdler from Southmoore used not making the state tournament as a freshman as the fuel for her sophomore season.
So when it was time to claim her spot at the top of the food chain in the 100-meter hurdles, Miller wasn't going to let anyone get in her way at the 5A/6A State Track and Field Championships. That included last year's champion, Rachel Hamel of Mustang.
Miller edged out Hamel in the finals Saturday to win her first state title in the 100-meter hurdles.
"It feels good because last year I didn't get to come," Miller said. "This Year I knew I was going. There's no choice."
Miller posted a 14.51. That was just enough to hold off a hard-charging Hamel, who ran a 1453 to finish in second.
Miller credited her ability to have a strong kick at the end in order to pull out the win.
"That was major because if I didn't do that, she would have won and I can't let that happen," Miller said.
Watching Hamel win the championship last season was the fire that lit her performance at state and the entire 2018 campaign.
"It means everything," an emotional Miller said. " Because I have been working for this. I've been working really hard. I was like I have to go. Everything was built off what happened last year. That was really my push."
Miller's performance was supposed to be one of the key ingredients in helping Southmoore pull off the upset and take home the 6A girl's team championship. But once again, it was Edmond Memorial who was the last team standing.
The Lady Bulldogs won their third consecutive state championship and fifth in the last six seasons after tallying 82 points. Edmond North was 10 points behind with 72 and Southmoore took third with 69. Broken Arrow (47) and Union (42) rounded out the top 5.
The top three schools are very familiar with each other since they are all in the Central Oklahoma Athletic Conference.
Memorial managed the championship despite not earning a single induvial title. But they placed in the top four in 10 events.
That included Alysheia Joseph placing second in the 100-meter dash behind Brandee Presley of Bixby. Presley ran an 11.44 to set a new state meet record. The old mark of 11.48 was set in 2009.
Presley came back and also took the 200-meter dash championship after running a 24.62. She held off Southmoore's Whitney Bridges to win her second straight title in the event.
While Bridges didn't win an individual title. She was part of two championship relays. The SaberCats took home the 4x100 (47.91) and the 4x200 (1:41.06). They had to hold off Midwest City in both races.
One of the tightest contests of the weekend took place in the pole vault. Norman's Chandler Branum and Yukon's Kyla Davis had been the two of the best in the state throughout the season, so it was not unexpected that they would find themselves in a dual that went down to the wire.
Both cleared 11-foot-6 to advance to 12-foot. However, neither was able to get over the bar, which would have tied the state meet record.
Because Branum had one less failed attempt on the day, she was crowned the winner and Davis was the runner-up. Yukon's Maycie Reed was third at 11-foot.