STROUD – Sequoyah’s reputation in track may be changing.
Highly regarded in the past for its prowess in distance races, the Indians are finding their niche in sprint events.
Sequoyah’s first-place 400-meter relay team with a showing of 43.36 seconds powered the Indians to the Class 3A regional boys team title with 110 points at the 4A-3A regional track and field meet at Stroud High School on Saturday.
The foursome of Dillon Wade, Sonny O’Field, Brayden Scott and Zack Robinson — all members of the football team — took the first place in the event at regionals for the second consecutive year.
“Those kids work hard and are a talented group,” said Brendal Rector, Sequoyah’s sprints coach, said. “It doesn’t take a genius on how to coach them. Besides being athletes on the football field, they’re competitors. We just fine tune the things they do.
“Sam (HorseChief, Sequoyah’s head coach) has built a distance program over the years. When you think of Sequoyah, you think of distance and cross country, but we’re trying now to get some sprinters out there now.”
HorseChief doesn’t mind the shift change in his program.
“The football team has wanted to come out for track,” he said. “That’s helped us out a lot. These guys are in their third year to run track and in their top form now. Coach Rector has worked all year with them on their handoffs.
“The meet was close until that race. That gave us a 30-point lead after that and it was the turning point in the meet for us.”
The relay along with the top three finishers in each event and each class automatically qualify for the March 4-5 state meet in Ardmore.
Sequoyah’s boys also picked up points in the field events with first places by Greydon Elrod in the discus (47-11) and Robinson in the high jump (6-0) and 200 (22.95). In the meantime, Jay Jones was third in the 400 (51.56), Tyler Stroth was second in the 110 hurdles (15.61), Dylon Poe was second in the discus (121-7) and Terrance Nofire was third in the 3,200 (10:30.44).
Beggs finished as the runner-up in the team standings to the Indians with 81 points. Vian was fifth with 55.
Meanwhile, in the 4A division, Hilldale had one of its athletes take first place as Samantha Byrd won the 800 in 2 minutes, 29.01 seconds to qualify for the state meet for the fourth straight year.
“I kind of expected to go,” she said. “Once you achieve something the first time, you want to do it again. It’s a pretty good accomplishment to go all four years. I’m definitely proud that I’ve been able to go.”
Also, Checotah senior Tyrone Hymes won the 4A boys long jump (20-4 1/2). He had a jump of 21- 3/4, but he scratched.
“My toes were just over the board on that one,” he said. “You need to have complete focus until you hit the board. I felt pretty good about jumping.”
Other automatic 3A qualifiers from Sequoyah’s girls included Bailey Ratliff in second place (15-7 1/4) in the girls long jump, Chelsea Bunch in third in the high jump (4-8), Kayla Davis third (59.92) 400-dash and Kelsey Leach in first in the 300 hurdles (49.61).
Eufaula’s Katie Smith qualified second in the 3A 800 (2:29.61) and third in the 1,600 (5:48.11).
Vian’s boys were led by freshman Eric Casey taking first in the 100 (11.62). Stigler’s Josh Wickersham was second in the 400 (51.53)
Athletes who finish in fourth through sixth places have to wait for results from the three other regional meets to see if they qualify for the state meet.
Area athletes who finished fourth included Stigler’s Kelsey Butler in the 3A girls 100 and Hilldale’s Casady Mills in the 4A girls 400 and Richard Mabery in the 4A boys 200. Finishing fifth were Hilldale’s boys 400 relay, Julie Plunkett in the girls 200 along with Hilldale’s girls 800- and 1,600-relays. Vian’s Kaydi Wingo was sixth in the 3A girls 100.