Track - Thu, Nov. 20, 2008
The 2008-2009 Cross Country and Track year is filled with potential.
The teams are looking forward to a new start after the emotional
near-misses of last year.
The Men's track team had seven events at the Indoor National Meet that did not go as well as expected, and still only lost the Championship by half of a point.
The Outdoor National meet was lost due to a plague of illness and a rash of hamstring injuries. In spite of the serious losses, the team missed winning the Championship by only six points.
"I believe we had the best team at both National meets last year," said OBU coach Ford Mastin. "We worked hard and expected a lot. Sometimes you don't get what you want. When expectations are high and excellence is the goal, there can be disappointments. I would rather try for great things and possibly experience failure, than to have average dreams and always wonder what our potential could be."
In shaping this year's teams, it was a goal to focus on the traditions of OBU Track and ensure the team had serious competitors in the events that have helped to bring success to past teams.
OBU has enjoyed National Champions in virtually every Men's event. The women have won National Championships in10 events. The events that have produced multiple winners are the relays and hurdles. From the beginning of Track and Field at OBU, there has been relay success.
These early successes paved the way for Harold Cagle to win the silver medal in the 1936 Olympics in the 4 x 400 relay. The hurdling tradition was begun by Sam Allen, who won the 1936 NCAA Championship and set the World Record in the 60 high hurdles.
Since then, the men have won many National Championships in the 4 x 100, 4 x 400, Distance Medley, and 4 x 800 relays, while the women have won many times in the 4 x 400 and 4 x 800, while being runner-up in the 4 x 100 twice.
Several athletes, who were also individual National Champions, have been the backbone of these great relays. Sheldon Edwards (60, 100, 200, 400), Desire Pierre Louis (600), David Phillips (400), Jason Mathis (100), Jamaal Jackson (200, 400), Michael Rodgers (60, 100, 200), T.J. Lightsey (600), Dominique Matthews (200), Brandy Bratton (800), Keyonna Hornbuckle (600), Kyli Bean (600), Amanda Mayfield (600, 800), Kyta Willets (800), and Marissa Moseley (400). National Champions in the Hurdle events would make Sam Allen proud: Judex LeFou (60HH, 110HH, 400IH), Matt Badgett (400IH), Jamaal Jackson (400IH), Pat Brown (60HH, 110HH, 400IH), Leonard Smith (400IH), Ross Harlan (400IH), Lamar Baskin (60HH, 110HH), Latoya Greaves (60IH, 100IH), Nickiesha Wilson (400LH), Sherene Pinnock (400LH), with Sueanna Hilton and Keyonna Hornbuckle runner-ups in the 400LH.
The 2008-2009 edition of the Bison Track team is a collection of returning National Champions, All-Americans, and untested freshmen. The women sprint crew is made up of veterans Marissa Moseley (four-time National Champion), Sarah Patterson (4x400 champion), Optimum Baker (two-time National Champion), Andrea Mellontree, Lindsay Bennett, and Nicole Cummings. Joining them are freshmen Shandia Drew, Santana Torres, Krista McGehee, Sarah Williams, and Jaqueline Walter.
The 4 x 800 relay group will consist of veterans Shayna Legg (four-time All-American), Emily Haynes (three-time All American), Yesenia Avila (4x400 National Champion), Melissa Farias, and Kristen Morrow (All-American), and freshmen Alyssa Montegut, Nicole Jones, Alexis Taylor.
Optimum Baker (All-American in 400LH), Breanna Shippy, McKenzie Battershell, and freshman Alexis Thurmond make up this season's hurdle crew.
The Multi-Event women compete in the pentathlon Indoors and the heptathlon Outdoors. Abby Lewis returns to lead the freshmen duo consisting of Kayla Smith and Brooke Harris.
The jumps will be a strong event this year, with returning All-American triple jumper Nicole Cummings and pole vaulters Breanna Shippy and freshman Alina Carter.
Throwers are one of the main reason the Lady Bison kept their string of SAC Track Championships going at twelve in a row last year. Olivia Boisse Holds three school records and Kimberly Maley is one of the top throwers in three events at the conference meet.
The distance group is led by returning National scorer in the marathon, Becca Murdock. Jessica Herbert, Danielle Cummins, Meredith Gardner, and Samantha Kellogg are joined by freshmen Aubrie Dolliver, Sarah Branson, Erica Rackley, Brandy Thompson, and Katy Palmer.
The Steeple Chase will be an exceptionally strong event this year with veterans Natalie Pedersen and Sarah Taylor being joined by Junior College All-American Ashley Cronin and new-to-the-event Kayla Lee.
The men's sprint crew is led by returning All-Americans Olasubomi Bashorun, Bradley Jimerson, and Ethan Mignard. They will be joined by Junior College transfers Pierien Iniss and Withley Williams. Veterans James Davis, Jon Oie, and Daniel Daily will be joined by freshmen Jared Jackson, Omari Blair, Justin Frye, Sam Bryant, Aaron Partridge, Gunnar Sewell, and Derek Green.
The hurdle crew has returning National Champion Ross Harlan, and veteran Adam Betterton being joined by freshmen Derik Douglas and Trevor Mastin.
A real strength will be the middle distance set with returning National Champion Durrell Williams leading the way. All-Americans Billy Christy and Justin Stroup, and veterans Jack Coppedge, Paul Meyers, Kyle Craddock, and Trevor Martin will be joined by Junior College transfer Dakota Price and freshmen Nick Blackwell, Nick Hermes, Jordan Gullic, Clint Wilson, Gideon Edmisten, and John Wright.
The Multi-Events have become a growing tradition for Bison Track. In 1986, Mark Ellison won the decathlon, and in 1994, Darren Reid won the Indoor Pentathlon.
In 2008, Jonathan Hilton won and set the National Record in the Indoor Heptathlon and then won the Outdoor Decathlon. They were remarkable performances, and this year may be even better. Hilton is joined by promising freshman Jared Huckaby.
National Qualifying pole vaulter Seth Brown and veterans Parker Jackson and Mark Scott lead the men's jumpers. Joining them are freshmen pole vaulters David Gilliland and Juan Gonzales. SAC Triple Jump Champion Cordell Weathersbee, and veterans Daniel Daily and Brandon Gilbert are joined by freshman Jairn Jenecka in the horizontal jumps. Freshmen Austin Lawrence and Trevor Mastin will provide the vertical jump talent.
The throws crew is led by School Record holder John Armstrong with veterans Zach Coffee, Jacob Cribbs, and Joe Armstrong making the throws a strong SAC contingent.
This year's long distance group will be led by Seniors Lance Goodwin and Brock Stoltzfus. Goodwin was an All-American in the Marathon in 2008 as well as the Sooner Athletic Conference champion in the 5,000 meters. Stoltzfus qualified for the NAIA national meet in the steeplechase last season and scored in the 5000 meters at the SAC meet.
After strong cross country seasons, Freshman Caleb Clark and Nathan Ellis look to be potential national qualifiers in the 5,000 and 10,000 meter runs. Adding depth to this group are returnees Dustin O'Day, Brandon Dickinson, Andrew Rushing along with Freshman Dalton Funkhouser and Ben Moore.
The OBU coaching staff is one of the most impressive groups at any college in the NAIA. This is the 13th year for head coach Ford Mastin, and the fifth year for distance assistant Zach Johnson. Jumps coach Matt Kennedy is in his third year. The new guys are what sets this group apart. Mark Heard is one of the most respected Pole Vault coaches around. This is his second year at coaching Shawnee High School and OBU simultaneously.
The newest member is veteran throws coach Pete Kron. Coach Kron was the throws coach for the University of Oklahoma for many years before his 2003 retirement, and now brings his expertise to the Bison.