(Photos by Michael Kinney)
By Michael Kinney
MOORE, Okla. — Daphne Matthews wasn’t playing games in her first state meet. The freshman from Heritage Hall came not only to win, but to send notice that she will be a force to be reckoned with the rest of her high school career.
Competing in three distance races all in the day Matthews won two gold medals, a second place and broke a state meet record May 5 at the 3A/4A State Track and Field Championships at Moore Stadium.
“It feels good,” Matthews said. “I mean, I just thank God for giving me the ability to be able to run out here today.”
Matthews first medal of the day came in the 800-meter run. She posted a time of 2:13.88, which set a new state meet record for class 4A. She was five seconds ahead of runner-up Maicie Brown of Weatherford.
“I was feeling good on the first lap,” Matthews said. “I just knew I just had to keep on going. I knew I would be able to have another gear. I just keep kicking and to keep going as fast as I could.”
The old 4A record of 2:14 was held by Lincoln Christian’s Alyssa Solberg from 2015. Matthew’s time is also the second-best time of any class at any girls state meet.
The top 800-meter run is held by Ally Ryan of Jenks. Her time of 2:09.28 was set in 2017.
Less than an hour after her record-breaking run, Matthews was back on the track for the finals of the 400-meter dash, a race she says she has to run completely different than the 800.
Probably the 400 is tougher because I’m more of a mid-distance long distance person,” Matthews said.
Despite that, it didn’t stop Matthews from earning her second title of the day after posting a 57.23 in the event.
Matthews had a little stiffer competition as she had to hold off Stilwell’s Jessie Sanchez (58.14) and Coley Larson of Perkins-Tryon (59.09).
The 4A state meet record is 55.05 and belongs to Madison Reynolds of Douglass.
Matthews was able to get another rest of just over an hour before her last open final of the day. With a chance to bring home three gold medals she was excited at the prospect.
However, it was another freshman who prevented Matthews from going three-for-three.
Weatherford’s Kannadi Price took the 1600 meter run with a time of 5:06.38. Matthews was seven seconds behind and finished second. Price won the state championship in the 3200 the day before.
Regardless of not getting the third gold, Matthews had an impressive first year of high school track. But she wants more.
“I’m just gonna have to keep fighting, keep working, keep getting faster,” Matthews said.
Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Writer with EyeAmTruth.com