By Chuck Reherman
OKLAHOMA CITY – An impressive start to the season.
Yukon’s young cross country teams weren’t expected to be much of a factor in their season opening meet.
The Millers and Millerettes pulled off the “surprise” Friday at the Putnam City North Invitational at Route 66 Park.
The Millers ran to a second place and the Millerettes a third place finish in the 17-team field.
The Millers finished behind Edmond Santa Fe in the opening meet. Santa Fe won the meet with 52 points, while the Millers had 107. Mustang was third with 111.
“It was hot and humid, but I feel that we had a very good first meet of the year,” Miller head coach Matt Parent said. “Finishing second was a good accomplishment for us, but wasn’t a primary objective. We needed to get out and run our first 5K of the season and establish a time.
“I had taken our two mile times and converted them over to what I thought we should run in a 5k, and most of our upper group guys ran right at that time or even a little better,” he added. “I was really proud of how we competed on Friday.”
The Millers had two runners finish in the top 20. Kyle Crow had the best time, running 15th in 18 minutes and 3.50 seconds. Tyler Birmingham ran 18th in 18:11.37.
Eli George ran 22nd overall in 18:19.86, Max Marler was 27th in 18:27.86 and Coy Pope rounded out the scoring finishing 27th in 18:30.38.
Jonah Hanscum, 37th in 18:51.28 and Cade Pope, 45th in 19:14.10, rounded out the top seven.
“Kyle and Tyler exceeded where I thought they would be,” Parent said. “They really shot out to the front 10-12 runners for the first mile to mile and a half. I thought that they may fall back a bit over the second half of the race, but they both really held their own throughout. They showed me a lot and I was really impressed.
“Eli, Max and Coy rounded out our scoring five,” he added. “They were all dead on with where I thought they would be. All three are in prime position to make even bigger gains over the next month.
“I think right now, we are just going to continue doing what we’ve been doing while adding more volume to our workouts. I like where we are right now. We are improving and are making steady progress. We run at Choctaw on Friday this week. The temperatures are supposed to be down by then, so hopefully we continue our progress. It should feel a bit better at least.”
In the JV division, Aron Tahdoonnipah ran a fifth place time of 18:46.28 and Caleb Ankrom sixth in 18:47.08 to lead Yukon to a fourth place finish.
Chris Gerberm 24th in 19:46.67, Jean Villebre, 26th in 129:47.95, Blake Gerber, 27th in 19:48.76 rounded out the scoring.
“We still have about nine to 10 runners that are in the picture for a varsity position,” Parent said. “As people get in better shape, these spots should become clearer. In any case, I’ve been really pleased with our progress and work ethic so far.”
The Millerettes had one top 10 runner and three more in the top 20 to key the third place finish with 87 points.
Santa Fe won the meet with 34 points, Owasso was second with 43 and Carl Albert fourth with 87.
“I was pretty happy with the girls overall,” Millerette head coach Rod Zimmerman said. “Everyone started well at the beginning of the race and ran pretty good paces for the most part. Elora (Jones) and Avery (Stanley) ran well, they both started out this first meet about where they finished their year last year and should improve as the year goes on.
“The Freshman group ran good for their first 5K and as they get in better shape and learn more about how to run the race their times should improve a lot over the next few weeks,” he said. “I liked the effort they gave and that will take them a long way.”
Jones finished eighth in 21:37.99 and Stanley was 12th in 21:55.98. Rena Henson ran 18th in 22:18.39 and Kailan Parks was 19th in 22:19.65.
Emily Schneider rounded out the scoring with a 30th place finish in 23:33.94. Harper Barlow, 34th in 24:01.82 and Lydia Laverty, 38th in 24:34.99 rounded out the top seven.
In the JV division, Bri Abbott ran a sixth place time of 24:02.40. Avery Turner was 15th in 28:32.08. Lauren Brown was 21st in 27:04.82. Avery Cunningham was 36th in 30:37.76 and Elizabeth Ketcher was 44th in 31:16.60.
“Bri has been practicing well and we were looking forward to seeing how she raced in the JV division,” Zimmerman said. “She earned a varsity spot next week and we think she will help the team out quite a bit as the season progresses.”
Yukon will travel to Choctaw Friday to compete in the Jacket Run at Choctaw Creek Park. The meet starts at 10:30 a.m.