HS TRACK: McAlester readies for final meet before regionals

KEVIN HARVISON | Staff file photoMcAlester's track team is scheduled to compete at Ardmore on Friday before the May 4 regional. 

Weather has been problematic for much of McAlester's track season.

McAlester hosted the Glen Stone Relays March 7, but didn't compete in a meet again until the Gregg Byram Track and Field Classic April 6 in Norman. It wasn't able to participate in its scheduled March 14 meet at Claremore or March 30 meet at Ada.

"It's hard to bring that competitiveness out of them in practice if you don't have a good amount of meets to coincide with that," McAlester coach Kevin Wright said. 

Wright said McAlester competed well at Norman and the team was excited to get back to it. McAlester's boys finished 11th out of 14 as a team, while the girls finished 11th of 11. 

McAlester most recently competed in the Wampus Cat Invitational April 12 at Atoka. The boys finished in second place of seven teams in the 4x800 meter relay with a time of 9:10.29. Gabe Birchfield, Patrick Detels, Matt Hyden and Cody Norriss consisted of the four runners for McAlester in this event, and Wright said the boys have been consistent in this area.

Wright praised the four of them, saying how hard they work in practice. He said McAlester could surprise some people at regionals and qualify for state in the 4x800 event, but thinks they could be on the outside looking in. 

He said the plan is to replace Hyden with Cade Tidwell at the final scheduled meet Friday in an effort to get a time under nine minutes.

Wright thinks Birchfield, Norriss, Grant Owens, Caleb Taylor, Hayden Franks and Jayden Pisachubbe can all qualify for state. Owens, Taylor, Franks and Birchfield have been part of the 4x200-meter relay for McAlester this season. 

Owens, Birchfield, Taylor and Norriss have been part of the 4x400-meter relay, which Wright thinks is McAlester's biggest strength right now.

He said Birchfield could also qualify in either one of the 300-meter hurdles and 200 meters, Owens in the 200 meters and Taylor in the 400 meters. 

Pisachubbe took sixth place in the long jump at Atoka with an 18'07.00" mark, leaving Wright to think he could qualify in that event. 

Taylor Kelley on the girls side is also a candidate to qualify for state, Wright said. Kelley won the 3200 meters at Glen Stone with a 13:01.74 time, and has continued to finish near the top both in the 3200 meters and 1600 meters. 

She finished fifth of 28 in the 1,600 meters in Norman with a time of 5:51.49 and third at Atoka with a 5:56.19 time. Her 12:57.06 time in the 3,200 meters at Atoka was second. 

"Taylor Kelley has always got a chance to go out and win the 1,600 and 3,200," Wright said. "It kind of just depends on who all is there and how she's feeling that day."

McAlester was originally scheduled to compete in Muskogee on Friday, but Wright said in a text message to the News-Capital on Wednesday that he changed it to Ardmore. 

The schedule of events, along with the preliminaries and finals will be the same as the scheduled May 4 regional, Wright added.

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