By Chuck Reherman
BETHANY – After top four finishes in the first four meets of the season, Yukon’s Miller cross country team was ready to “take the next step up.”
The Millers did it Thursday in the Paul Parent Jamboree.
YHS ran away to the title in the small meet, hosted by Southwestern Christian University on their course at Eldon Lyon Park in Bethany.
The Millers had their seven runners finish in the top 10, including a second through sixth place with their top five in running away with the meet. YHS finished with 20 points outdistancing second place Putnam City who finished with 57. The Miller JV ran third overall with 62 points, Putnam City North was fourth with 131 and El Reno fifth with 134.
“I was extremely pleased with how we ran,” Miller head coach Matt Parent said. “Slowly, but surely, we are getting there. We’ve had several weeks of good practice, and it is showing. I’ve been telling the guys that we are improving, but sometimes it’s hard for them to see it when the courses are long.
“Today showed them where they are,” he said. “The course was dead on, and, of course, the weather was ideal.”
Max Marler and Putnam City’s David Gamas battled through the first part of the course before Gamas started to pull away around the two-mile mark. Gamas went on to win the title in 17 minutes and 25.41 seconds.
Marler finished second in a time 17:49.26, the first time this season he has broken the 18 second mark. Kyle Crow finished third in 17:53.13, also the first time under 18 and Caleb Ankrom ran fourth in 17:52.34. It was also Ankrom’s first time running under 18 minutes.
Tyler Birmingham ran fifth overall in a time of 18:03.29 and Coy Pope rounded out the scoring with a sixth place time of 18:04.49. Jonah Hanscom (ninth in 18:14.24) and Eli George (10th in 18:14.76) rounded out the top seven.
“Max, Kyle, and Caleb did a phenomenal job,” Parent said. All three got into the 17’s for the first time. Max really went out and tried to hang with the eventual winner. This aggressive approach helped him to his best performance.
“Kyle looked great throughout the race, and Caleb had to overcome a little adversity when his calf started cramping with 1000 meters to go,” he said. “Tyler and Coy did phenomenal jobs as well. Both barely missed the 17’s, but it will happen for them.”
The Miller JV had one runner finish in the top 10 and six others in the top 20 to finish comfortably in third place.
Cade Pope actually finished ahead of two varsity runners, running eighth in 18:13.48. Austin Miller finished 12th in 19:00.95, Kayden Chapparo was 13th in 19:01.37, Andrew Daggs 14th in 19:11.10 and Blake Gerber rounded out the scoring with a 15th place finish in 19:23.91.
Hayden Griffin (17th in 19:27.42) and Chris Gerber (18th in 19:29.54) rounded out the top seven runner.
“Cade had his best race of the year,” Parent said. “I’m so happy for him, and Jonah and Eli had their best efforts of the year as well. I’m very pleased and very proud of our guys. Their hard work is really paying off.
“Next week, we will be off,” he said. “We will train through it and get ready for the conference meet the following week. Hopefully, we can continue the pattern of the past weeks.”