Southmoore uses Ken Hogan Invite to get better

By Michael Kinney

MOORE-- Even though most of the state was getting set to take off for Spring Break, the 2018 Ken Hogan Invitational still drew a large field of contestants. Facing high winds, 26 boys and girls teams from around the Oklahoma City area converge on Moore High Stadium March 16.

While some of the teams were incomplete or didn't run all their top performers, those who did participate were looking to win and get better.

On the boy's bracket, it was Midwest City who ran away with the team title. They posted 123 points and outdistanced runner-up Deer Creek by 42 points.

Westmoore (74), Norman (64), Marietta (63), Weatherford (61), Moore (59), Cache (26) and Southmoore (22) rounded out the top 10.

For the girls, it was Southmoore who grab the championship in a much more completive meet. The Lady SaberCats totaled 105 points, which was eight more than second place Norman High.

"Honestly, I was surprised by the overall team performance," Southmoore coach Shannon Atkinson said. "I talked to the team about our approach to this meet earlier in the week. They understood this meet was strictly for training purposes, but they surprised the staff and themselves with a team win."

Moore (94), Weatherford (72), Deer Creek (54), Midwest City (39), Ardmore (37), Marietta (32) and Yukon (18) placed in the top 10.

Southmoore relied on an impressive showing from its sprinters to hold off Norman and Moore. Whitney Bridges won the 100-meter dash (12.25) and the 200-meter dash (25.03). In fact, the Sabercats had the top three places in the 200 with Jada Atkinson and Tay Peters placing second and third.

Atkinson also placed third in the 100-meter run while Analya Miller took home the 100-meter hurdles title with a time of 15.34.

"We showed depth in the sprints today," coach Atkinson said. "Many of our younger athletes stepped up and provided the staff with more building blocks as we progress through the season."

Elysia Burgos of Deer Creek rolled through the 1600-meter run. She finished in 5:24 seconds. Runner-up Marietta's Mandy Sykora was 11 seconds behind.

Sykora also came in second in the 3200-meter run behind Kennadi Price of Weatherford. Sykora's time of 11:39 was just four seconds from Price. 

While the boy's teams were not as complete as the girls, they still had some tight races on the day.

Marietta's Bolton Fortune held off Michael Gates of Weatherford by less than a second to earn the 1600-meter run.

Midwest City teammates Howard Douglass and Gerald Brown battled down to the wire for the 400-meter dash crown, with Douglass winning by a split second with a time of 51.11.

The Bombers also grabbed the 4x400 relay, 4x100 relay and the 4x200 relay.

Most track teams will be off until after spring break. But that doesn't mean coaches want their teams to come back unprepared to jump right back into the schedule.

"I would like to see us improve mentally and physically overall," Atkinson said. "We are building a lot of momentum in our field events and distance areas. If we continue to strengthen those areas and continue to grow in the sprints, we will be a really competitive team. It's going to be an exciting season."