Jenks runner Ally Ryan, a two-time 800-meter state champion and state record-holder in the 1,600 and 800, has been named Gatorade female track and field athlete of the year for the state of Oklahoma for the second straight year.
Patrick Larrison, a discus and shot put champion from Moore High School, is the male recipient of the award. Gatorade announced the state winners on Thursday.
The University of Kansas signees are now eligible for Gatorade’s national track and field awards, which will be announced later this month.
Ryan is also one of three finalists for the OKPrepsExtra.com Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year. The award will be presented during the Tulsa World’s second annual All-World Awards Banquet, 5 p.m. Saturday at the Southern Hills Marriott.
Ryan, a 5-foot-10 senior, repeated as 800-meter state champ and broke the state record in the mile this season, covering the distance in 4:51.55 at the Frontier Conference meet. Her time at Union High School trimmed nearly three seconds off the previous record.
She broke the 800-meter record at last year’s state meet in 2:09.28 seconds and went even faster at the Festival of Miles in St. Louis, Missouri, on May 31. However, her 2:08.74 time won’t count as a new state record because it was run outside of Oklahoma.
Ryan wasn’t sure how her senior season would turn out after undergoing surgery to remove a cyst from her foot in late January, leaving her about two months’ preparation time before her record run in the mile.
“To come back and have (personal-best times) in my two events was really shocking,” she said. “It gives me confidence going forward that I can deal with adversity and setbacks and not let them hinder my performance.”
Jenks coach Clif Mitchell said, “I think she learned a lot about herself during that (rehabilitation) time. Ally is the toughest athlete I’ve ever been around. What she did this year was truly exceptional.”
Larrison set 6A state meet records in the shot (65-7) and discus (210-9). He also won both events at the Meet of Champions and was third in the discus and fourth in the shot put at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor.
His season-best marks ranked among the nation’s top five performances in 2018 at the time of his selection, according to a Gatorade news release.
“Patrick is one of the most determined athletes I have ever been around,” Moore coach Stefan Seifried said. “He continues to work year-round to become one of the best athletes in the nation.”
The Gatorade Award also recognizes stellar academic achievement and exemplary character on and off the field.
A peer tutor in her school, Ryan has volunteered locally on behalf of a food bank and drug abuse prevention initiatives. She carries a weighted 4.5 GPA, one of 12 Trojans valedictorians.
Larrison has volunteered on behalf of local youth track programs and carries a 3.07 GPA.
— Mike Brown, Tulsa World