At this past weekend's 2007 NCAA Track and Field Championships, a record 22 Sooners competed and 14 returned home with All-America honors. That second number matches the combined school record established in 1997.
Just last year, Martin Smith was hired to lead OU's struggling track and field programs. All Smith had done in his previous 27 years as a coach at the Division I level " including stints at Wisconsin and Oregon " was win 24 conference titles and five national championships.
And now it would seem Smith has begun to work his magic with the University of Oklahoma. Besides the most recent NCAA finals results " where the OU men finished 15th overall and the women were 39th " the program has shown remarkable progress under Smith's tutelage.
Earlier this year, the OU women placed fourth in the Big 12 Indoor Championships, where they had six All-America performers. Led by triple jumper Toni Smith, sprinter Yolanda Goff and 1,500-meter specialist Jessica Eldridge, the women's squad went on to produce one of its best outdoor seasons in years, topping it off over the weekend when it earned seven more All-America honors.
More good news for Martin Smith is the fact his programs lose only 14 seniors from a combined roster of 70 men and women competitors. It would seem the future for track and field in Soonerland is very bright. "Jay C. Upchurch