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AlumNews: Talon Articles

Eagles headed back to the track

Friday, January 18, 2008  
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By Tracy Washam

Oklahoma Christian University’s track and field team has begun preparations to build on a successful 2007 season with their first indoor meet of the 2008 season approaching.

Last year, both the men and women’s teams placed third at the Sooner Athletic Conference Championships, with seven Eagles and Lady Eagles winning individual titles.

“We had a great season last year,” Head Track and Field Coach Randy Heath said. “We are working hard to make sure we have another great one this coming season.”

Heath has high expectations for this year’s team. The teams are working hard in their practices, which consist of the warm up tradition called the one-point-five. In the one-point-five, the entire team runs the loop around the Oklahoma Christian campus to start off the day of practice as their conditioning workout.

“Practices are intense,” All-American junior Curtis Pratt said. “We are all working hard in our areas and are definitely ready to compete.”

Oklahoma Christian returns a hand full of All-Americans, including Charlotte Heron who won All-America status in the high jump. Also returning is the 3200-meter relay team of Pratt, Cole McAllister, Eric Poole, and Josh Wayland who also earned All-American last year.

The Eagles have also added some newcomers to the mix. Heath signed eight men and eight women to join this year’s program

“I am very excited about these new kids,” Heath said. “They are definitely going to make an impact this season.”

Some faces to look for this season are sprinters Riley Camp of and Brady Watson. On the women’s side, Summit Durant, from Purcell, Okla., and Kiley Woodward are going to make an immediate impact.

“The freshmen this year are working hard,” Pratt said. “They know they are a part of a great program and are ready to show what they can do at the college level.”

The Eagles also return All-American Jordan Powell, who also competes in cross country for the university. Powell earned All-American honors in cross country last fall with a 10th place finish in the NAIA National Championships.

“I have some of an advantage,” Powell said. “I come right off of cross country into track. So, I’ve kept in good shape and am still in competition mode.”

Heath enters his 29th year as head men and women’s track and field coach.

“I feel truly blessed to have the job that I do,” Heath said.  “I hope to continue to excel my program and my kids to their highest potential.”

Along side Coach Heath is Assistant Track and Field Coach Jeff Bennett, one of Oklahoma Christian’s most acclaimed athletes. In 2002, after a 28-year long career in public education, he returned to Oklahoma Christian as the field events coach.

“Coach Bennett is just an outstanding athlete and coach,” Heath said. “I couldn’t have anyone better helping me coach this sport.”

Bennett was a member of 1972 U.S. Olympic team, placing fourth in the decathlon with 7,974 points at the Summer Olympic Games in Munich, Germany. He set a personal record of 8,121 points when he won the American Amateur Union’s National Decathlon Championship in 1973.

Bennett won NAIA National Championships in the decathlon in 1969 and 1970.

The track and field team’s first competition is the Missouri Southern Indoor Invitational on Jan. 25-26, in Joplin, Mo. The outdoor season will begin with the Southwest Invitational on March 13 in Winfield, Kan.

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