YUKON — Haley Woodard heard all the talk. Throughout the track season, the Norman North sophomore knew a showdown was coming between her and Tyler Wisby of Edmond Santa Fe.
Woodard had defeated Wisby last season to win the 400 meter state title. But it was the first time Woodard had ever run track and many thought Wisby was going to come back with a vengeance to take back what was hers.
Woodard had other plans. She destroyed the competition Saturday at the 6A state track and field championship by taking the 400 meter crown with a time of 55.84.
“Last year I really didn’t know how big of a deal it really was to win state,” Woodard said. “I didn’t shed a tear last year. Obviously this year, I am. It’s completely different. It’s so hard. I didn’t even realize how hard that race was last year.”
Just like last season, it was Wisby who got out to a slight lead early on in the race. But that just spurred Woodard on as she cruised alone down the back stretch at Yukon High.
“Everyone was like, ‘It’s you or Wisby,’” Woodard said. “The rivalry definitely adds to my mental state. She got a little bit ahead of me, I didn’t like it. That definitely helped me to kick it in gear.”
After Woodard rolled over Wisby in the 400, Wisby didn’t touch the track the rest of the meet. With her Wolves squad still in contention for a team title, she bailed out of the 200 meter dash and the 4x400 meter rely. It was not clear whether the senior was injured or unable to handle getting beat two years in a row by Woodard.
“I’m also emotional because she ran really hard,” Woodard said. “I think she was hurting her hamstring or cramping or something. It was her last race. I feel for her because I know in my last race I am going to want to win, too. I almost wish we could have tied. But I’m just so lucky to compete against someone like that. She pushes me harder.”
But Wisby’s decision to not run kept her from, more than likely, getting throttled again by Woodard, who claimed her first 200 meter state championship with a time of 24.21.
Woodard’s most impressive feat may have been helping the Timberwolves take fifth in the 4x400 relay. Running the last leg, when she got the baton, her team was in a distant seventh place. But her efforts allowed the team to collect points and earn her teammates a trip to the podium.
More importantly, it helped the Timberwolves score 44 points as a team to take fifth place overall. It was enough to hold off Edmond North by one point. Norman High was seventh with 35.
Edmond Memorial claimed the team title with 134 points. Santa Fe was a distant second with 74.
The Tigers got points from Haley Redwine, who had a pair of top-three finishes. Friday she was second in the 3,200, and turned around and took third in the 1,600 meter run Saturday. She posted a 5.16.07, which was 10 seconds behind Sapulpa’s Abby Hoover.
“I am happy with my performance today,” Redwine said. “I came in with my legs tired from yesterday. Really my goal was to come in the top six.”
On the boys side, Broken Arrow won the team title with 125 points over Edmond Memorial (110). Jenks (74), Union (56), Yukon (43), Norman (43) and North (42) joined the battle for runner-up.
Norman’s Colin Pasque repeated as 6A pole vault champion at 15-6 and Michael Piper grabbed second in the high jump.
NHS also got productive outings from Imond Robinson in the 100-meter dash (fourth) and Ben Barrett in the 1,600 run (fourth). Cole Ridgway was fourth in the discus.
The Timberwolves were led by their 4x100 relay unit, which won the team’s only state title with a time of 42.25. It came at the expense of Jordan Evans’ hamstring, which he pulled in the finale. But he said it was worth it to beat Jenks in the championship.
“It’s awesome,” said Evans, who has signed to play football at Oklahoma. “We get to end our high school careers as 4x1 champions. The 4x1 team consists of four football players (Corbin Cleveland, Bryan Payne, Redford Jones, Evans). It came down to us and Jenks and Memorial. I guess you can say it finished out perfectly.”
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