MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

April 25, 2014

Muskogee hosts track meet today

By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor

— Muskogee High’s track meet, in the words of boys coach David Heath, will be a “smorgasbord of  talent” when 38 schools and 800 athletes converge on Creek Nation Field at Indian Bowl beginning at 4 p.m. today

It’s just that in some respects, the Roughers will be limited on both sides of the gender line. The boys are just now beginning to jell and the girls have gone through numerous personnel issues including injuries.

The boys’ best finish was last week at Ponca City last week at the Oklahoma Baptist University meet in Shawnee, and was sparked by three relays. The 400-meter quartet of Quintahj Cherry, Matthew Maxwell, Cantrell Ashley and James Buckhanan crossed in 45.69 seconds for sixth place, which is where the 800 (Cherry, Maxwell, Ashley and Devin McCoy) placed in 1:37.8. Gunner Heath, Luke Leatherman, Reshawn Marshall and Travis Jones ran a 9:11:26 to take sixth in the 3,200.

Also, Lavare Reed cleared 6 feet even to finish fourth in the high jump and Jamal Marshall was sixth in the 400 at 54.04.

“We’ve got more kids than I ever have had and they don’t quit,” Muskogee coach David Heath said. “A lot of kids, if they can’t place as high as they want, they won’t hang with it. We haven’t got those kind of kids.”

Hillmon, whose girls teams have made state the past few years in relay events, hasn’t had a meet this year where the same runners were on any relay.  Injuries that have sidelined three of the top runners — Lanice Rozell, Zomaree McNac and Trena Mims — have had a major impact on that shuffle.

“This is big because its our meet but our goal is to have people in place to compete by regionals,” she said.

Tahlequah, Warner, Checotah and Eufaula are among the area teams in attendance. For Tahlequah, high-jumper Brandon Conrad has cleared 6 feet, 6 inches, the best mark in 5A so far this season. Eric Garcia is second in 5A in both the discus (166-2) and shot put (58-7). Zech Van Fleet is in the top 10 in 5A in both the 1,600 and 3,200. Among the girls, Amy Hembree is fourth in the 1,600 and 3,200 in 5A and Jessica George has the second-best high jump at 5-2.

Warner’s Kailey Kilpatrick, the 2A cross country champion, has the best time in the class in the 3,200 (12:23) and second-best in the 1,600 (5:56.4). The Lady Eagles also sport the third-best 2A time in the 3,200 relay (10:45.81).

Union, Broken Arrow and Jenks are among the top competition expected. Track enthusiasts regardless of school ties will want to keep an eye on the 100 where Broken Arrow’s Warren Leak and Claremore’s Tyler Jackson, the latter an Oklahoma State track signee, will compete.

There will be no preliminaries. Heats will count as finals times in all events.