(Photo by Michael Kinney)
By Michael Kinney
YUKON — Edmond Memorial wasn’t the sexy pick. Throughout the season as other teams in class 6A racked up the headlines and fanfare, the Bulldogs just grinded their way through a demanding season.
But when Edmond got to the postseason, it all clicked. At the 5A/6A State Track and Field Championships, Edmond took home the 6A boys title.
“We came through so much adversity this year,” Memorial coach Chris Lowry said. “It really is. We were hoping to be able, in the hunt for runner-up, and things just kept falling our way. We prepare our guys well. They stepped up to the challenge. All the hard work throughout the year, all the preparation. They were focused. We stayed off of them. Just let them be who they are, and man, they came up big today. This will be number 11 for our school. As a head coach, we’ve had five state championships and four runners-up.”
Edmond was able to win the team title despite only qualifying 11 total competitors. But the ones who did compete had an amazing meet.
That includes senior Jed Helker, who finished the meet with four state titles in 3200 run, the 4×800 relay, the 1600 run and the 800 run.
“He’s just a phenomenal athlete,” Lowry said. “No one prepares harder. No one is a better leader for our program. A great family. And he just takes it serious. His preparation, even on a bad day, he prepares so well, and he’s so well trained, that even on a bad day it’s still pretty amazing.”
Memorial’s 11th title didn’t come without any dramatics. The Bulldogs posted 98 points to edge out last year’s champion, Tulsa Union, by eight.
Even though Union was able to win three of the four relay races over the two-day span, the depth of the Bulldogs proved to be too much.
“We had some athletes that just quit on us flat out,” Lowry said. “We had some seniors that were point getters at State. One of them a runner up last year. We had some cramps throughout the season. We had some issues with some light little injuries. Some handoffs didn’t go our way, and some meets. And they battled back in those meets. They understood, one thing may not go your way, but if you’ll keep fighting, and you’ll hang in there and stay together, good things will happen. They corrected those mistakes. They kept fighting. It just shows.”
The rest of the top 10 included Mustang (53), Jenks (47), Midwest City, 42, Norman (39), Deer Creek (36), Moore (34), Putnam City West (28) and Shawnee (26).
While PCW only scored 28, 20 of those points came from one person. Sprinter Jesse Porter claimed the 100-meter and 200-meter dash titles.
While Porter easily won the 200 title with a time of 21.46, the 100 meter came down to split seconds and possibly point of view.
In the 100, Porter (10.33) edged out Mustang’s Damian Close (10.34). However, video shows the leg of Close being the first body part of either racer to cross the finish. Yet, according to the OSSAA, they only go by who’s chest cross first, and that belong to Porter.
Porter said the key for him was to just concentrate on himself and not those around him.
“Today I said forget racing them, run my race,” Porter said. “I can’t beat them if I don’t run my race. I’m trying to look at them, compete with them. Today I just relaxed and let my top head carry me through.”
Porter ends his high school career with two state titles in the 100 meter and the state meet record in the event. The old record of 10.38 had stood since 1980.
However, there is some confusion over the record since Close ran a 10.30 in the preliminaries Friday. Because of high winds, the OSSAA didn’t recognize it as a new record. Yet, on the Oklahoma High School Track page that shows all of the state records, there is a line that states all conditions are included.
Another record-breaker on the day was Moore’s Patrick Larrison. One day after breaking the state meet record in the boy’s discus (210-09), he came back and broke his own record in the shot put.
On the final throw of his state meet career, Larrison posted a 65-07. His old record of 63-03 was set last season.
Larrison, who is heading to the University of Kansas to throw, has six state titles in three seasons and two state records.
Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Writer with EyeAmTruth.com