Oklahoma 5A-6A State Meet Preview

Back in the day, the Oklahoma State Track and Field Championships used to be called Star Track. While it wasn't original, it certainly fit the atmosphere.

Over the past decade, the event has somehow lost the name. While it has had its exciting moments, it hasn't had the build up to it that made it a must attend weekend for track and field fans.

But that may have changed with this years  5A-6A State Track and Field Championships. Throughout both the boys and girls fields, there are a bevy of stars looking to leave their mark.

Field events begin at 10 a.m. Friday at Yukon High. Running events will start at noon. It is the same schedule for the finals Saturday.

"I think my team will come out of regional with confidence," Putnam City Original coach Adam Helms said. "All of their times have improved. We should have all the confidence needed to go compete well next week."

It will be a difficult task to keep Del City and Edmond Memorial from taking home the team boys and girls championships in 5A and 6A. Both units are deep and talented and qualified enough individuals they can easily win points from two or three athletes in a single events.

However, that doesn't mean there will be no excitement at the meet. Some of the best matchups this season take place in the finals this weekend.

That includes the boys 100 and 200 meter dashes in class 6A. The matchups between Edmond north's Brock Appiah and Westmoore's Wyatt Duvall could be the highlight of the meet.

Appiah, who has signed to run track at the University of Oklahoma, has the top times in the 100 (10.370 and in the 200 (21.22). But Duvall is looking forward to facing him with everything on the line at state.

"He has been the dude to push me since Day 1," Duvall said. "I joined track my sophomore season. We have been going back and forth since then. Just somebody to push you. You have to have somebody in this sport that's going to push you to that next level. Brock has always been that guy. Just excited to be able to compete with him at state. Big stage comes, we will see who wins it."

It is the same type of face-off between Edmond Memorials Morganne Mukes, Southmoore's Whitney Bridges and Bixby's Brandee Presley. All three have had their share of success during the regular, but faced off against each other rarely.

The last time either of the trio saw each other was at the Central Oklahoma Athletic Conference Meet in which Mukes won the 100 but Bridges took the 200. The state meet will be the first time all three will compete at the same time.

Mustang's Rachel Hammel is still waiting to get challenge in the 110 hurdles. She had dominated the competition throughout the season.

However, the sophomore could have her work cut out for her in the 300 hurdles. Both Lawton High's Denaba Mbouissou and Memorial's Mary McKey have slightly better times this season.

Mustang coach Eric Peterson believes Hammel can win both, but knows she can overexert herself during the two-day event.

"The one that's going to have to be mentally and physically sharp is Rachel Hammel," Peterson said. "If she goes and runs well the first day, she's going to have to run well the second day in multiple events."

There is no bigger favorite to come away with a state title than Yukon's Vernon Turner. The senior high jumper is ranked No. 3 in the nation and already owns one national record when he hit 7-foot-06 at the Yukon Classic. The next closest competitor is Noah Payne at 6-07.

Turner's competition, like it has been all year, is with himself. He has attempted to break the national record of 7-7, but has come up just short.

But now that Turner is back at his home track where he has had so much success, he intendeds to break the record at state and maybe even more.

"I want to break the all time national record," Turner said. "I know the record is 7-feet-7 inches, but I want to get 7-feet-8 inches. I believe I can do it, so that's my goal for Saturday. Then eventually, I want to take a shot at breaking the world record. (8-0.50). It's doable if I stay healthy. I'm only 18."