McALESTER — McAlester’s nine state track and field qualifiers last season would be impressive no matter the circumstances, but the 2013 team pulled it off without having a home track on which to practice.
With the track complex at Hook Eales Stadium now finished, the 2014 Buffs and Lady Buffs will be able to practice all their events all season long.
“Anything new is great, and this is a nice, nice track that we have,” Buffs track coach Richard Carney said Feb. 28. “The money was well-spent, and it’s going to be a big contribution to the school, the athletes and also to the community.”
Carney said approximately 20 have come out for track this spring, but that number could reach as high as 40 in the coming weeks. Juniors Keaton Slater and Shattee Robinson, for instance, both made State in track and field last season but couldn’t join this season until basketball ended this past weekend.
As many as 10 football players, Carney said, might join track and field after the state powerlifting meet this weekend. Once all of McAlester’s potential track athletes finally join the team, Carney said his team’s should again be able to send several to State.
Robinson should be part of the Lady Buffs’ strong corps of hurdlers. Robinson placed third in the 300 meter hurdles at State last spring and also qualified in the 4x400 meter relay.
Casey Jones, a senior, placed second in the 300 hurdles and would’ve won the 100 meter hurdles had she not tripped towards the end. Jones was also a member of last season’s 4x400 relay team.
“She has two or three people, they talk to me all the time about her,” Carney said of Jones.
“She has the ability to go to the next level.”
Megan Fassino should also be back this season. Fassino was part of the 4x400 state-qualifying relay team last season and this season could also compete in the 400 meter run, the 800 meter run and the high jump.