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OBU Track Team Reloads

August 8, 2004

The new Bison for 2004-05 include distance and cross country runners Nathan Battershell of Chandler, Matt Blackowl of Tishomingo, David Matsuchak of Kingwood, Texas, and Joshiah White of Carrollton, Texas.

Battershell, a cross country All-State selection, was the State Champion in the 3200. Blackowl was the Class 2A State Champion in cross country and also won the state title in the Class 3A 800, 1600, 3200 and 4x800 relay. Matsuchak was a state qualifier in corss country, the 1600 and the 4x800 in Class 5A in Texas.

That group will have to fill the shoes of Academic All-Americans Larry Walker and Richard Parr, as well as multiple All-Americans Jeff Thompson, Brady Schmiedeberg and Mylo Miller.

"All five of those guys that are leaving were very good distance runners and really good people," said OBU coach Ford Mastin. "I'm excited about the guys coming in."

OBU also bulked up in its other events as well. T.J. Lightsey of Ardmore, Kirk Thomas of Kingfisher, William McCaskill of Altus, Everett Rusher of Dallas, Mithcell Henry of Choteau, Brett Olsen of Enid, Andrew Wiemero of Brookfield, Wisc., Ryan Huling of Decatur, Texas, Lamar Baskin of Oklahoma City and Bartholomew Bailey of Tulsa are also expected to provide fresh help.

Lightsey was the Class 5A State Champion in the 200 meters and runner-up in the 400 and 100. Rusher won the TAPPS (private schools in Texas) Class 3A state title in the 100 and 200 meters.

Thomas was second in the 300 hurdles and fifth in the 800 meters as a junior. Baskin was the Class 4A State Champion in the 300 hurdles and was runner-up in the 110 hurdles.

McCaskill won the 400 meter state tile in Class 5A. Bailey claimed the 800-meter state title in Class 5A.

Mitchell Henry was the Class 2A State Champion in the long jump. Olsen was fourth in the Class A in the shot put. Wiemero was fourth in that event in Wisconsin's Class 5A, and also finished sixth in the discus.

The women's team had to replace graduating All-American Kari Nunneley, as well as two All-Americans who opted not to return. Nunneley was an All-American in the steeplechase and cross country.

Among OBU's additions are twins Kelsey and Katie Engstrom, both distance runners from Lowry High School in Winnemucca, Nev.

Kelsey Engstrom was a three-time State Champion in Nevada's Class 3A cross country and a four-time state champion in the 1600, 3200 and 4x800 relay. Katie was also on those four state champion relay teams and was on her sister's heels in second place in the state cross country meet.

OBU also added Sarah Thurber of Bixby, Kendra Ray of Tonkawa, Megan Wakeman of Altus, sprinter Idella Baylock of Shreveport, La., and thrower Brandi Storm of Haysville, Kan.

Thurber is a three-time State Champion in the Class 5A 100 hurdles and a two-time State Champion in the 300 hurdles. The sister of OBU softball All-American Katy Thurber, Sarah, was also a member of the mile relay team at BHS that won the state championship.

Ray was fourth in the Class 2A 3200 meters and Wakeman was fifth in the Class 5A pole vault.