NORMAN — The Big 12 Track and Field Championships is like no other meet for Oklahoma. For the Sooners, conference is personal.
The Sooners are in Columbia, Mo., today through Sunday at the Audrey J. Walton Track & Field Stadium. In the midst of one of the program’s finest season, the women enter ranked No. 4 in the nation and the men No. 10.
Still, it will take an upset of sorts for either squad to win a conference title. The Texas A&M men and women are both ranked No. 1. The Texas Tech men are ranked No. 4.
The OU women have never won a Big 12 championship. The men won the conference indoor crown over the winter, but last won the outdoor title in 2004. They plan to do everything possible to make that happen again this year.
“We are entering everyone in the 5k to see if we can scrape up some more points behind Kevin (Williams) and Rob (Sorrell),” OU’s Jacob Boone said. “We might be putting people in the steeple chase for a change. Basically we are trying to load up every single event possible and see how many points we can get.”
Boone is the top-ranked 1,500-meter runner in the Big 12 and the school record holder in the event with a time of 3:42.19. The Lees Summit, Mo., native will only be a few miles from home as he tries to win his first conference championship in the event. Still, fueling him is the possibility of nailing down a team title.
“Our distance team is basically trying to make a huge impact for the track team and help us carry on through Big 12,” Boone said. “(We) hope for quite a bit of points and hopefully come out with another Big 12 title.”
While Boone grew up in Big 12 country, junior Eric Bailey hails from Portland, Ore. He’s the Big 12’s No. 2 ranked 400-meter hurdler, which has come as a surprise to even him