SHAWNEE, Okla. — Battling the wind, rain and cold temperatures at this year’s ORES (Oklahoma Rural Elementary Schools) State Track Meet was the Peckham Eagles. Mother Nature was fierce but the Eagles proved to be tougher. Watching these students compete is a meet fans will be sad they missed.
Tripp Briggs, eighth grade, portrayed all the grace, agility and speed of an Eagle, resulting in a double State Championship victory. On cloud nine from earning first place in the 110M boys hurdles with a time of 15.58 seconds, another championship win swooped in with a time of 48.07 seconds in the 300M boys hurdles, falling short two-tenths of a second from beating the current ORES state record. Briggs went on to claim fourth place in the 200M dash and sixth in the long jump.
The gold medals didn’t stop there. Ziva Vance, eighth grade, threw her way to first place in the shot put with a distance of 29 ft. 4 in. This, however, was not Vance’s furthest recorded distance this season. Throwing into the wind was a challenging task with cold muscles. This proved true as Vance earned a second place silver medal in discus.
Flying past the ORES state record in the 200M dash, with a time of 28.51 seconds, Emmalyn Miller sank her talons into second place, just shy of the gold by .05 seconds. Miller’s achievements stood no chance of crashing and burning. She soared to third place in long jump with a distance of 13 ft. 11 in.; coming in hot at 13.85 seconds in the 100M dash, earning the bronze. Miller still has one more year at Peckham. “We noticed small details to work on and improve with Emmalyn. Her drive to excel is unmatched,” states Coach Kenzie Ward.
Teagyn Beliel, eighth grade, hurdled herself into fourth place in the girls 100M hurdles with a time of 20.10 seconds. Beliel has managed to consistently beat her personal record at each meet, never having run the hurdles before until this season. With a time of 31.24 seconds, Beliel placed ninth in the 200M dash.
Riley Trejo, eighth grade, placed 11th in the boys 100M dash with a time of 13.04 seconds, beating his time from last year. The first place time in this event was 12.02 seconds. Coach Ward praises Trejo’s current ability and potential and says he will improve each year and there are no limits to what Trejo can do.
One thing many people don’t understand about Peckham Schools and their huge athletic victories this season is that they don’t have a track to practice on. Coach Ward says the athletes practice on asphalt, grass and dirt. She incorporates workouts on the playground and jungle gym.
“The kids’ drive, competitiveness and positive attitudes to make do with what we have blows me away. They know complaining isn’t allowed and they show up and do their job. They may not always smile about it but they know how to get the job done,” Ward said.
During the State Meet, the Peckham girl’s team alternated between second and third place with team scores, however, they fell short at the very end. This is an outstanding feat, seeing as how only three Eagle girls qualified, and Division 3 is the largest division in ORES, with hundreds of athletes participating this year.
Gold medals, school history made, smiling faces. Does Coach Ward think a two-peat is possible next year?
“Absolutely! Next year will be even bigger and better. We had more kids than ever go out for track this year and each grade has great athletes. Summer workouts and positivity go a long way,” Ward said.