YUKON — As Haley Woodard rounded the final corner of the 400-meter dash at the Class 6A state track meet Saturday in Yukon, the Norman North freshman had a lot of ground to make up. She entered the stretch run about 10 feet behind two-time state champion Tyler Wisby, who rarely, if ever, loses a lead in the final kick. It was a difficult position to be in, and one that most athletes couldn’t hope to make up.
In other words, Woodard was right where she wanted to be.
She kicked it up a notch, and steadily made up ground on the defending state champion, passing her just before the finish line to win the state title by just .13 seconds.
“I wanted to stay behind her on purpose to surprise her,” Woodard said after receiving her state champion medal. “I’ve read a lot about her and I knew she was amazing. It was a great race.”
Woodard’s excitement was obvious after the race, but that wasn’t the first emotion she felt after winning.
“I was relieved that it was over,” she said. “I didn’t even know at first that I’d won. I looked up at my mom to ask what place I finished and she just told me to not worry about it.”
Wisby was the favorite entering the race after taking the Class 4A title two years and the 6A title in the 400 last season. She jumped out early and led the race for all but the final tenth of second.
“Honestly, I can’t remember her ever being beat,” coach Mike Ramsey said of Wisby. “For Haley to beat her, that just shows how phenomenal she is.”
Woodard also made up big ground in the 1600 relay, passing three runners on the last lap to lead North to a second-place finish. Behind Woodard, North’s girls finished in fifth place with 44 points.