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Frigid weather can't cool Tigers' hot start to track season

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5ca3aa58eadb9Blankets were the choice of the day for fans and athletes at Broken Arrow's home track meet Saturday.
Blankets were the choice of the day for fans and athletes at Broken Arrow's home track meet Saturday.

No matter the grade level, from seventh grade through varsity, Broken Arrow track and field is running, jumping and throwing its way into dominance.

At its last two events, Broken Arrow’s seventh and eighth grade boys and girls teams won seven of the eight available team titles. On a cold, blustery Saturday, Tiger varsity teams lapped the field at their own meet – the Broken Arrow Track Classic.

While the times and distances have improved, so has the number of BA students participating in track. Since Coach Scott Wilkinson’s first year with the volume of athletes has corresponded with better team results.

“One thing we ran into early was we didn’t have the depth,” Wilkinson said looking back to the start of last season. “The kids kind of knew who varsity was and who JV was. Now they have to push because there are people behind them that are tough.”

That toughness was on display in the first home event at Broken Arrow High School’s new track facility as 20-plus mile-per-hour gust pushed the wind chill below freezing at times on Saturday.

“In conditions like we had it’s a mental game,” Wilkinson said. “We told our kids that you can be physically special, but in a big situation if you’re not mentally tough, it’s not going to matter. We saw that in some kids that rose up when it got cold.”

Junior High Track athletes hold championship team plaques won at their last meet.The Tiger boys and girls teams responded. In car-racing terms they put the throttle to the floor and did not let up. The boys out-paced second place Bartlesville, 257 to 105, while the girls powered past runner-up Bishop Kelley, 236-114.

“Having the success that we’ve had early creates some high expectations,” Wilkinson said. “That puts added pressure on these kids. We’ve talked to them about handling that expectation and pressure week-in and week-out.”

Wilkinson is confident that both his teams will be a threat at the state meet next month.

“We have several kids who ability wise can reach and hit better marks than they are hitting right now,” he said. “It’s just mentally they have to believe they can do it. Then we have another group of kids who are right there where we want them to be. For midway point in the season, I feel pretty good about where we are as a team.

“I think there are about three teams on each side (of the state), in boys and girls, who have a shot at winning this thing and we’re one of them.”