By Chuck Reherman
NORMAN – Starting a new streak.
After seeing a 13-year streak of not making the state meet last year, Yukon went out and did the one thing it needed to do to start another, qualify.
The Millers ran to a sixth-place finish in the West Regionals Saturday at the Norman High School cross country course. The top seven teams advance to state and the Millers finished comfortably in sixth place.
YHS did not have a runner finish in the top 25, but had their top five bunched together enough in scoring block that the Millers were able to finish ahead of Moore. YHS scored 184 points to 203 for seventh place Moore. Norman finished eighth on their home course with 277.
“We ran well enough to get the job done,” Miller head coach Matt Parent said. “I knew going into the race that sixth place was probably where we were going to finish. If we did something really well and someone fell off a little bit, that we had a chance at fifth. If we didn’t run that well, seventh is probably where we were going to be.
“With the events that everyone had to deal with, you do the best you can to get ready,” he said. “We had fall break and trying to get everyone to practice, then we came back on Tuesday and the rains came, so we did the best we could.”
Edmond Deer Creek won the regional title with 42 points, Westmoore was second with 47, Edmond Memorial third with 75 and Edmond Santa Fe fourth with 75.
Kyle Crow had the best finish for the Millers, running 31st overall in a time of 18 minutes even. He finished two spots ahead of Max Marler, who came in as the top runner for YHS. Marler ran 33rd in 18:13.
Tyler Birmingham had another solid finish, running 34th in 18:15, Coy Pope was 40th in 18:27 and Caleb Ankrom rounded out the scoring with a 46th place finish in 18:37.
Cade Pope ran 58th in 19:07 and Jonah Hanscom 59th in 19:14 to round out the Millers top seven.
“Kyle ran probably his best race of the year,” Parent said. “He’s a senior and wants to go out on top and did an awesome job picking us up a little bit. Tyler just jumped up in the middle of the pack and he didn’t back off.
“We were able to Kyle, Max and Tyler all finish on top of each other and that is what we have been able to do all year,” he said. “Right after that, Coy made a hard charge at the end and Caleb make a push to as our fifth runner.
“I am pleased, we are going back to state. It is the 13th time in the last 15 years and prior to our first time to qualifying, Yukon had qualified one time in 30 years.”
The Millers will have to make up ground to work their way into a top 10 finish at state and Parent is expecting the weather conditions to be better.
“It has been kind of becoming the regular thing that we do in making it to state,” Parent said. “I’m proud of our guys, we are probably going to have to dodge a few snowflakes in getting ready, but hopefully we can do something in the state meet.”
One other thing that has seemed to become a tradition is the head coach getting doused with flour following the meet.
“I was pleased with the meet, but maybe not enough to get floured,” he said. “But, as long as we make it to state, I can live with being covered in flour.
“We want to finish well enough at state to be able to celebrate again.”