Oklahoma Baptist's women's indoor track program brought Bison Hill its first women's national title in the school's 95-year history last year in Johnson City, Tenn. The Lady Bison also claimed a national runner-up at the national outdoor meet in Louisville, Ky.
Head Coach Ford Mastin's 2005 Lady Bison indoor and outdoor track teams combined for 18 school records with eight coming from the indoor season and 10 coming from outdoor. Combine that with the 2004 squad that set nine records and in the past two years the Lady Bison have smashed 27 school records.
"The pressure is on and we want to win again," said Mastin. "We have to replace 28 points from last year (indoor season)."
Mirriam Kaumba played a big part in the Lady Bison's success the past two years winning five national titles in indoor and outdoor track. Kaumba also set the national record in the indoor and outdoor 5,000-meter run. While Kaumba's eligibility for the outdoor season is up, she still has one season of eligibility left for the indoor season.
OBU also returns junior Kyta Willets (Kyta Ferrer married Landon Willets in August), who holds three individual school records with two in indoor and one in outdoor. She also played a role in three relay records in indoor and outdoor. Willets won the 2005 outdoor 800-meter run and took part in the 4x400 and 4x800 national title relay teams. In the indoor season Willets took second in the 800-meter run and helped the 4x400-meter relay team win a national championship.
Junior Kyli Bean returns for the 2005-2006 season after winning the 4x400-meter relay and took second in the 600-meter run at the indoor national meet. During the outdoor season, Bean helped bring home the 4x400-meter relay national title along with a national runner up in the 4x800-meter relay.
Michelle Carpenter and Mai Fukada also return in field events for the Lady Bison with Carpenter returning from a 6th place finish from the indoor national meet in high jump, earning All-American status, and a 14th place in outdoor. Fukada took third place in triple jump in indoor and 20th in the outdoor season.
Mastin the "2005 Indoor Track Coach of the Year" also touts a recruiting class that features seven Oklahoma state champions and two Pan Am junior champions.
Jennifer Coleman (pole vault), Malory Cowden (1,600, 3,200 and 4x800), Emily Haynes (800 and 4x800), Jessica Haynes (Long Jump, 4x800 and 800), Amanda Legg (800), Amanda Mayfield (800) and Johna Moore (4x800) all won state titles in their respective events and classes.
Mastin said that several of the incoming freshman can impact the team quickly if they work had and he sees a lot of potential in the newcomers.
Freshmen, Nickiesha Wilson and Latoya Greaves from Kingston, Jamaica, could also play huge rolls for the Lady Bison.
"I think that those two can replace the 28 points for the indoor season," said Mastin.
Mastin thinks the Lady Bison have shot at another indoor national title and a top three finish in the outdoor season.
"Two of our goals this year are one, to become a family and bond together and have a good influence on each other and other teams," said Mastin. "Then the second goal is winning the national meet. Those have to be together."
The Bison come off a third place finish at the indoor national meet and a fourth place finish at the outdoor national meet.
Although the Bison lose one of their most decorated athletes in the school's history in Pat Brown, Mastin returns several All-Americans and a few national champions.
"This could be the best guys team we've ever had," said Mastin. "They have a good work ethic and a lot of talent."
T.J Lightsey heads the class of returnees for the Bison's 2006 campaign. The sophomore from Ardmore won the 600-meter indoor national title as a freshman and also took part in the third place indoor 4x400-meter relay team. Lightsey also helped the outdoor 4x400-meter relay team win a national title as well. Lightsey battled injury during the 2005 season, but if healthy could produce more national titles.
Daniel Ellis, a senior from Sapulpa, plans to continue his success in distance races. The two time All-American in the marathon took fourth last year and shoots for his first national title this year.
Senior Landon Willets also returns for his senior campaign for the Bison after coming off a second place finish in the indoor 1,000-meters. Willets also took third in the outdoor 1,500-meter run. He also ran on two relay teams that placed third at the indoor national meet in the 4x800-meter relay and in the distance medley relay.
Willets also helped the outdoor 4x800-meter relay team win a national runner-up.
All three of the relay teams that Willets ran with in indoor and outdoor return each member from those teams. Prophet Bailey, Bryce Bell and Michael Elizondo all return for the 4x800 (indoor and outdoor) and the distance medley relay teams.
Three members also return from the outdoor national title 4x400-meter relay team in Clint Goodson, Leonarde Smith and Lightsey.
Smith joins Lamar Baskin as the Bison's two top hurdlers from a year ago. Smith took third place in 400-hurdles at the outdoor national meet and Baskin took sixth. Baskin also took fifth in the 110-hurdles.
Senior, Jeremiah Campo, placed third in the outdoor discus and took fourth in the indoor shot put and anchors the field events for the Bison.
Mastin also hit the recruiting trail hard on the men's side pulling in nine different state champions from around the nation.
B.J Bashourn (4x100 and 4x400), Seth Brown (pole vault), A.J. Carter (400, 800, 4x400 and 4x800), Tracey Drew (300 IH), Ryan Gaither (400), Lance Goodwin (3200), Jonathon Hilton (110 HH), Dustin O'Day (3200) and Durrell Williams (800) all won state titles in high school in their respective events.
Drew and Williams, both freshmen from Naperville, Ill., won state titles in the large school division in Illinois. Mastin said that these two men could play a huge roll in helping the Bison bring home their second national title.
Mastin also said that Seth Ilaoa should help the Bison in the shot put and was one of Oklahoma's best throwers.
"There is so much depth for the men this year," said Mastin. "The men's indoor performance will be better than last year's. This could be an exciting year for the men."
Mastin said that the men have a chance at winning both the indoor and outdoor titles if things work out right.