May 18—Tevin Williams left his mark on Oklahoma prep sports in his final high school sporting event.
Before heading to Baylor University in less than two weeks, Williams won a pair of gold medals and set a state record at his final Class 6A state track and field meet.
"It was surreal," Williams said. "From the start of the season, I've always wanted to win state, but wasn't looking for a state record, because I was more focused on winning state than getting a record. I was really happy with the way I performed.
"I wanted it last year, too, because I was projected to do good and place top three. Obviously, COVID happened and missed a year of that, so this was something I've been determined to do for the past year."
On Saturday, the Stillwater High senior, who will graduate Friday night with his classmates, accomplished a goal he set last year before the pandemic shut spring sports down for the year. He also set a pair of personal records — one of which was an Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association record that was set just three years ago.
Williams began the day with a 400-meter relay preliminary race, and he helped the Pioneers advance to the finals, where they later finished eighth. His next race would be his best of the day.
He smoked the competition in the 100-meter dash prelims, winning the race in a time of 10.24 seconds. He beat the 2018 state meet record of 10.30, which was held by Mustang's Damian Close.
"I was feeling great," Williams said. "I just wanted to set a tone early. I had two of the other fastest people in the state like Koryee Wyatt and Jayden Rowe in the heat. All three of us were projected to be in the finals and everyone was expecting us to have a battle.
"I thought it was going to be around a 10.5 and then I looked the board and I was shocked when I saw 10.24."
In the finals, Williams improved his time en route to winning a state championship. His time of 10.20 beat second place by 0.16, which was the largest margin between competitors in the top six.
One reason for his success has been improvement on his starts. It's something Williams has worked to improve since his sophomore year, when he finished seventh.
"Every day this season, I've been working to get my starts better," Williams said. "Coach (Paul) Grant has helped a lot with that. We would break down all of my mechanics."
Williams doubled up on the gold by winning the 200-meter dash later in the meet. He was fourth after the prelims, running a 21.36 to ensure a spot in the finals.
He not only won the state finals, he also did it by breaking his own record. Williams' winning time was 20.92 seconds. He won the race by 0.27 seconds, and broke the 21-second barrier for the first time in his career.
"I wanted to win it, but in the prelims, I ran to qualify," Williams said. "Coming into the finals, I knew that I wanted to break 21, and I was happy that I did."
Williams is signed to play football at Baylor next year. He moves to Waco, Texas, near the end of the month to begin the next chapter of his life.
However, Williams did admit that continuing his track career isn't out of the realm of possibilities.
"I've been looking into doing both," Williams said. "I qualified for the junior Olympics for the 100, so I'm looking at that. Track is something that I'd love to do long term."
While Williams was the only SHS competitor to win gold at state, there were a handful of other notable performances. Sophomore distance runner Keegan Thomas placed third in the 1,600-meter run (4:26.72) — just two seconds behind the winner.
Meanwhile, junior Cayden Brickman finished fourth in both of her distance races. She broke the school record in the 1,600 run, finishing in a time of 5:10.21. The previous record was set in 1988.
Brickman also placed fourth in the 3,200-meter run in a time of 11:23.94.
"Cayden Brickman breaking the school record in the 1600m is really awesome," SHS coach Rusty Atkins said. "She fought hard."
The Lady Pioneers also had two athletes place in the long jump. Ceazia McFadden finished fourth with a mark of 16 feet, 8 inches. Alex Griffin also placed sixth in the event, with a jump of 16-6.5.
The boys' 400 relay team of Corbin Grant, Qwontrel Walker, Steven Brown and Williams was the other SHS entry that placed in the top eight.
"Super proud of all of the squad," Atkins said. "This season was fun, making up for lost time (last season) put a lot of pressure on them, but they responded. This senior class was a really fun group to work with and be a part of. Seeing the blue and yellow walk around with medals was an awesome sight — wish everyone could have seen it. Icing on the cake was the girls team won the Academic All-State trophy. Not only are they athletic, but they are smart, as well. Makes the coaching job easier when you have great kids."