The Norman Transcript

Local Sports

May 11, 2014

Hanks hits her mark as NHS girls glide to second-place at regional

NORMAN — A week into her career as a pole vaulter, Julia Hanks was ready to quit. Then a sophomore at Norman High, Hanks enjoyed the sport but was ready to move on to something else after the difficulties she was having.

A long conversation with her mom after a tough night of practice made all the difference.

“She told me to stick with it,” Hanks said. “It was so hard, but I’m glad I didn’t quit.”

On Saturday, Hanks’ performance paid off with a Class 6A regional title and a shot at the state tournament next week.

Hanks’ beat her previous best twice at the meet, finishing with a final jump of 11-8 to headline a banner day for NHS, which finished second in the girls’ competition and third in the boys at the Putnam City regional. The Tigers will send 18 girls and 17 boys in a variety of events to next week’s state meet at Yukon. All of the Tigers’ relay teams qualified, a first in program history.

Almost all of the Tigers set new bests on Saturday, but Hanks’ performance stood above the rest. Just a year after nearly quitting the event she’s standing at the top of it, matching the best jump in the state and heading into next week with a prime shot at the state title, even if that’s not the expectation she’s setting for herself.

“I would be happy if I could just set a new personal record at state,” she said. “Even if I could jump 11-8 again I would be ecstatic.”

NHS finished second to winner Edmond Memorial on the girls’ side, while Edmond Memorial also took the top spot on the boys’ side, with Westmoore coming in second.

Hanks was one of several Tigers who won their events Saturday. Hayley Redwine won two distance races while Cole Ridgway won the shot put, throwing a 54-05 to defeat Edmond Memorial’s Jordan Weltzheimer, who scored a 54-00.50, for the first time this season.

Caleigh Donaghe and Marisa Fleck also turned in good days for NHS, bettering their personal bests in the shot put while finishing second and third respectively.

“We finished about where we thought we would, but we had some great performances today,” girls’ coach Kelsey Condley said. “Marisa and Caleigh both stepped up today. It puts us in a good position for next week, which is what this meet is all about.”

While NHS competed at Putnam City, Norman North went to Putnam City for its regional, and the Timberwolves qualified 24 athletes for next week’s state meet. Haley Woodard led the way, qualifying for four events, including the 200-meter dash as her only solo event. Four of the T-Wolves’ relay teams qualified, while state-champion cross country runner Ben Barrett will compete in both the mile and two mile events.

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