By Chuck Reherman
EDMOND – Yukon’s cross country team had not finished outside the top 10 in meets all season.
The Millers, though, had not competed in the Central Oklahoma Athletic Conference meet either.
Yukon, in what is the toughest conference in the state, ran to a seventh place finish Tuesday at the course at Edmond Deer Creek.
The meet, which is considered almost as a pre-state meet, saw the Millers not have a runner in the top 20 for the first time this season.
Edmond Deer Creek won the meet with 36 points, Westmoore was second with 73 and Edmond Memorial third with 82. The Millers finished seventh with 203 points.
“The meet went about as I expected,” Miller head coach Matt arent said. “We ran fairly well and definitely have some areas to clean up, but I’m pretty happy about what we did and where we put ourselves.
“I know I sound like a broken record, but I like where we are right now,” he said. “We have consistently been moving in the right direction. Placing seventh in this conference is actually a big deal for us.
“I told our kids to not worry about several of the top teams. We were competing with Moore, Edmond North and Stillwater. The latter two were actually ranked ahead of us. I made the guys look at their uniforms, and I wanted them to focus on having a “mini meet” within the meet. I guess it did the trick. We were able to beat all three of them, and the guys felt really accomplished about what they had just done.”
Max Marler had the best finish for the Millers, running 26th in a time of 17:26.97. Marler was closer to the front at the start, but got squeezed back at a point where the course narrows.
He was pushed back to 26th and maintained that spot, but couldn’t make any gains.
Kyle Crow had the second best finish for the Millers, running 35th in 17:45.85. Coy Pope ran 44th in 17:57.55, Jonah Hanscom ran 48th in 18:02.61 and Tyler Birmingham rounded out the scoring with a 52nd place finish in 18:07.30.
Cade Pope (60th in 18:19.24) and Caleb Ankrom (65th in 18:26.12) rounded out the top seven.
“Max, once again, led the team from start to finish, and Kyle Crow was second for us,” Parent said. “Those two have settled in pretty nicely for us. They have been pretty consistent. Lately, Caleb has been our number three guy. However, this meet was a little rough for him because of multiple soccer games played over a four-day period. He was pretty sore and very tired.
“I talked to the other guys about tightening things up a bit,” he said. “If they all would move up a place or two, it could make up the difference for Caleb. They were able to do just that. This will make us a stronger team in the future. Caleb should move back up next weekend, and as long as the others do what they’ve been doing, the team really benefits.”
In the junior varsity division, the Millers ran to a fifth place finish with two runners in the top 25.
“The JV division was controlled chaos,” Parent said. “There were over 300 runners in the division. This meet served as the last meet of the year for most of the JV kids, so this was their “state” meet.”
Austin Miller had the best finish for the Millers, running 15th in 18:20.99. Kayden Chaparro ran 22nd in 18:35.37 and Eli George ran 34th in 18:54.94.
Aron Tahdoonippah ran 39th in 18:59.40 and Andrew Daggs rounded out the scoring in a time of 19:03.77.
Hayden Griffin (51st in 19:35.95) and Michael Gartman (55th in 19:24.29) rounded out the top seven.
“We had quite a few run their best race of the year,” Parent said. “The JV was led by Austin Miller, Aron Tahdooahnippah, Kayden Chapparo, Andrew Daggs, and Eli George. Austin, Kayden, and Andrew ran fantastic times.
“I was really proud of them,” he said. “From the starting gun, Austin jumped out and ran aggressively. Once he hit the two mile mark, he was still running strong. I knew he had enough in the tank to finish it well, and he did. Kayden was also very impressive. He ran his best meet of the year too. He, like most of them, has really been working hard, and it showed.”
The Millers will wait to see their regional assignment and will have a week to prepare for to earn a spot in the state meet. The regionals will be held Oct. 26 and the state meet is set for Nov. 2 at Edmond Santa Fe.