The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

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Drovers Bring Four Medals Home After Last Meet

Simon will compete in the 72nd Annual NAIA Men’s Track & Field National Championship later this month
Laura Barrios Bardi
Aarin Simon set his sights on the finish line at the Harding Last Chance Invitational, where he took home a bronze medal in his event.

USAO’s track and field teams took on the Harding Last Chance Invitational in Searcy, Ark. Thursday, May 9. This was the team’s second trip to Harding University this season, and they saw success all over the track, with one program record broken and multiple first-place finishes.

The men’s team saw junior Aarin Simon burst through the Drover’s 400-meter dash record again. He posted a blazing time of 47.79 and took home a bronze medal for his efforts. This performance also placed him into the “A” qualifying standards for the NAIA, and Simon is tied for the 20th fastest time in the entirety of the NAIA. USAO saw freshman Ryan Joseph also compete in the 400-meter dash. He completed his race in 54.77 and took home 12th  overall.

Next, the Drovers raced in the 4 by 100-meter relay, where they claimed a gold medal with a time of 43.31. This was an unorthodox scenario though, as they were the only competitors for this event. The four Drovers were junior Tyrike Cunningham, sophomore Daylen Huff, sophomore Omario Johnson, and Joseph.

Huff led the way in the short sprinting events. He saw a successful run in the 100-meter dash, placing 7th overall with a time of 11.29. His best event of the day was in the 200-meter dash, as he ran a season best of 22.7 and took home 2nd place for the Drovers.

Sophomore Hunter Dewall and freshman Colby Keller posted times in the 200-meter dash, with a 7th and 11th finish respectively.

The women’s team featured two athletes with sophomore Laura Barrios Bardi  leading the way. She competed in the shot put and discus throwing events.  She clinched a gold medal after throwing 9.2 meters (30 feet 2.25 inches) in the shotput event as the event’s lone competitor.

“It was very odd, and I even felt rushed in it. I missed having a break in between throws which helped me make the proper adjustments, but it was a nice environment because many of my teammates were able to come and support me since their events didn’t start until much later,” Barrios Bardi said.

Barrios Bardi also took another medal as she placed third in discus. Her farthest throw was 29.99 meters (98 feet 5 inches).

Freshman Ah’Briana Avery pushed herself on the track as she competed in the 400-meter dash. She sprinted into a 4th place finish with a time of 1:08.38.

For most of the Drovers, this was their final meet of the 2024 season. Barrios Bardi said she was proud of her teammates and that the team had a great season despite some injuries and setbacks that plagued the team.

“Some people stepped up and became great role models and it shows how their actions have motivated other athletes to want more,” Barrios Bardi said.

The men’s and women’s track teams had great statistics to look back on as they broke six different program records and many personal records as well. USAO’s track and field teams had a season decorated with medals and honors as they broke six different program records and set many new personal records as well.

Since Simon reached the qualifying standards for the NAIA National Track and Field Championship for the 400-meter dash, his season will continue. He will compete at the 72nd Annual NAIA Men’s Track & Field National Championship in Marion, Ind. His event is scheduled to begin May 24 at 3:40 p.m.


Gary Jackson is a fourth-year communication major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

Ray Thomas-Lapham
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About the Contributors
Gary Jackson
Gary Jackson, Managing Editor
Gary is a fourth-year communication major from Kingston. He works as a resident assistant (RA). Gary began writing for The Trend in January 2022, and has interned with the Madill Record and Marietta Monitor newspapers. When Gary isn’t attending class and working, you can watch him making the game-winning catch at the ultimate frisbee game, hanging out with friends, or visiting with his family. Experience with The Trend: Managing Editor: May 2024 - present Sports Editor: Nov. 2023 - Apr. 2024 Senior Writer: Dec. 2022 - Nov. 2023 Contributing Writer: Jan. 2022 - Dec. 2022
Laura Barrios Bardi
Laura Barrios Bardi, Contributing Photographer
Laura is a fourth-year art major from El Paso, TX. Laura currently works for USAO's Sports Information Department as a photographer. She is also a member of USAO's track and field team. Her hobbies include stargazing, spending time with friends, and working towards elevating her photography skills.   Experience with The Trend: Contributing Photographer: Nov. 2022 - present