A pair of Oklahoma track and field athletes made headlines this week – something difficult to do in a week loaded with big news coming out of the University of Oklahoma.
Blankenbaker set a new personal best and broke his own school record with a third-place finish in the 3,000-meter steeplechase event. The Sooner senior crossed the finish line in a career-best time of 8:31.17. In so doing, he became the first Oklahoma track and field athlete to finish in the top three in the event in the NCAA Championships.
With the third-place finish, Blankenbaker earned first-team All-America honors for the second time in his collegiate career. He bettered his previous best time in the event by over three seconds.
McClain sat in ninth place with one jump left in the triple-jump qualifying round. On his final jump, he soared three feet farther than in his previous attempts. His leap of 50 feet, 4.50 inches was the fourth best of the day and moved him up five spots into fourth place. That positioning held in the finals, earning McClain a first-team All-America selection.
As a team, the men Oklahoma track and field athletes competing in the NCAA Championships finished in 23rd place in the competition with a total of 11 points.
That is the highest point total for the Sooner men’s team in coach Jim VanHootegem’s four years at OU. This year is also the first time the OU men have had two first-team All-Americans in the same year.