By Chuck Reherman
MUSTANG – Yukon knew going into the annual Canadian County Cross Country Clash that it would be a challenge to beat Mustang on their home course.
The Millers came up on the short end of the dual, but did come away with some early season confidence.
The Millers had only two runners finish in the top 10 and saw Mustang win 164-304 in the annual dual.
The Millerettes also came up short, but had an overall strong showing with four runners finishing in the top 10. The Lady Broncos, though, had six in the top 10 and three more in the top 15 to beat the Millerettes 308-338. The top 15 runners were scored in the meet.
“The dual went well, the main thing we wanted was for the girls to go out and compete,” Millerette coach Rod Zimmerman said. “We had girls in the race the entire way.
“I really felt several of them did a really good job between the mile mark and a mile and three quarters, they made up some places in that distance,” he added. “Thats an area where we need to be racing and they were.”
Stanley had the best finish for the Millerettes, running second in 13 minutes and 20.33 seconds. Jones ran fourth overall in 13:34.24.
Mustang’s Lakyn Webb won the meet in a time of 13:15.37.
Freshman Rena Henson had the fifth overall time of 13:41.39 and Kailaa Parks finished eighth in 14:26.22. Harper Barlow ran a 12th place time of 14:48.55, Livia Laverty was 14th in 14:56.38 and Emily Schneider 16th in 15:04.42.
From the mile and the mile and three-quarter mark, they were able to hold onto their places,” Zimmerman said. “Time wise most of the girls are running faster than they did this time last year so we are ahead of the game there and will improve from that as we go.”
In the boys division, Mustang dominated the race, taking the top seven positions and having six more place in the top 20.
The Millers’ first finished came in eighth.
“We may not have won the dual, but we improved, and I was able to get some good information from the meet,” Miller head coach Matt Parent said. “I was very proud of how we competed. We are a young team, and we will take some time to get where we need to be. We took our first big step on Tuesday.
“We actually were lead by two freshman. Max (Marler) and Coy (Pope) were our top two finishers, and our next two were Eli (George) and Tyler (Birmingham) who are sophomores,” he said. “Max took off early in the race. Our other three eventually came back to him, but Max is really starting to develop some strength. He won’t do anything but get better.”
Marler finished eighth overall in a time of 11:33.67. Pope ran ninth in 11:35.85.
George was 12th overall in 11:45.39 and Birmingham was 13th in 11:47.33. Kyle Crow placed 16th in 11:53.40 and Cade Pope was 18th in 11:56.57.
“I was very impressed by Coy,” Parent said. “He got into Max’s hip pocket and ran a tough race. He’s ahead of where I thought he might be right now.
“Eli has been pretty steady for us,” he added. “He wasn’t feeling the best on Tuesday, but I have a feeling he will be fine in the next race.
“Tyler has come out of nowhere really. He’s just out there having fun and running tough. He has loads of potential.”
Parent said the top seven positions are still up for grabs as the team begins its meet portion of the season.
“Our next three were Kyle (Crow), Cade (Pope), and Aron (Tahdooahnippah),” Parent said. “They finished very tightly packed with Caleb (Ankrom), Jonah (Hanscom), Austin (Miller), Seth (Cortez), and Chris (Gerber) within a few seconds of them.
“It will be interesting to see the movement over the next couple weeks,” he said. “We will run our first 5k next week, so our lineup might shift a bit. However with all of these guys so close together, and all of them so willing to work hard to get better, I imagine our lineup will actually be pretty fluid for the next month. That’s alright though. Competition is a good thing.”
The Millers will compete in the Putnam City North Panther Invitational on Sept. 6 at Route 66 Park.
I’m enjoying every practice with these guys. I can’t wait to see our improvement every week. Constant, steady weekly improvement will eventually get us to where we need to be.