By Chuck Reherman
EDMOND – Going into Saturday, Yukon’s Millerette cross country team had not finished better than 11th in an Oklahoma State Cross Country Championships.
The Millerettes goal was to crack the top 10.
YHS did just that, running to a seventh place finish on the course at Edmond Santa Fe and coming home with an All-State runner.
Avery Stanley gave the Millerettes an All-Stater with a 10th place finish in sending the Millerettes to the seventh place spot, scoring 200 points. YHS finished seven points behind Moore for sixth place.
“I felt overall we ran pretty well,” Millerette head coach Rod Zimmerman said. “This is such a competitive race, like regionals, it is tough where you are at during the race. We had some big gaps between Avery and our next three and they we had a big gap from there.
“Finishing seventh is just fantastic,” Zimmerman said. “The best finish I can see since 200 is 11th, so we will take a seventh place finish with this young group. The girls were very responsive out there to what we were seeing and jersey they needed to go find. They were starting to make moves and do the things we had talked about.
“Avery passed two or three more people in the final 200 meters to move into 10th. I know our next group with Kailan (Parks), Rena (Henson) and Elora (Jones) they were making a push together to get through packs and Harper (Barlow) was making moves the last 6-700 moves to catch up and pass people.
“That makes a huge difference when they can go out and physically make those things happen. When you are running a 5K race and you are asking them to go and take care of the one ahead of you and the one behind them and to have a race where all seven of your runners are responsive to that is phenomenal because I have not been part of that as a coach where all seven of that can do out and do that.”
Stanley early in the race was as high as seventh place, but has slipped to 13th just past the 4K distance in the race. She made a hard push in the final 400 meters to pass two runners and caught another runner in the final 200 meters to finish 10th overall.
It was Stanley’s second time to run in the state meet. She struggled to an 82nd place finish in her first attempt at state as a freshman.
“I was in 11th in the last 200 meters and wanted to get 10th so I could get all-state, so I decided that if I did not go know I would regret it, so I just kept on going and passed her,” Stanley said. “I had to pass three girls last week to get into the top 10, so I knew I could do it.
“This race was a little tougher than last week,” she said. “There are so many good people here that I normally don’t run against and it is way faster than most races are because there are so many good people. I knew midway in the race I was going to have to push a little harder. I was in a group and I had a consistent pace and running in a group like that helped me keep up my pace.
“I think I ran pretty good overall. I beat the school record and had a PR, so that was a good day.”
Stanley ran a time of 19 minutes and 31.69 seconds to finish 10th (she was scored ninth in points). She had passed Westmoore’s Annabel White to take over 10th spot and finished five seconds ahead of her.
Parks ran the second best time for the Millerettes, placing 40th in points (49th overall) in a time of 20:52.32. Jones ran a 51st place time (42nd in points) in 20:53.93 and Henson was 52nd overall (43rd in points) in 20:55.10. Barlow rounded out the scoring for the Millerettes with an 87th place time (73rd in points) in 22:07.91.
Brianna Abbott (95th overall, 81st in points in 22:32.65) and Lydia Laverty (102nd overall, 88th in points in 23:00.56) rounded out the seven runners.
“The ones behind Avery packed up real nice and if we could have moved that pack a little closer to Avery that makes a big difference,” Zimmerman said. “That is something we will work in the future. They all made some good moves toward the end. I they all seven don’t make those moves, we could have dropped to ninth or 10th, so all those moves were extremely important to where we finished.
“Avery 12 months ago finished in the 80th spot and over the summer she decided to put in the distance time we asked them to do and that totally changed her season. If our young ones will follow that path, there is no telling what happens next year. We might even be making a run at first.
“Avery was able to go drag the team along. We had talked about when Elora runs well, the team runs well and not It’s when Avery runs well, the team runs well.
“The best thing about this group is that they all come back next year. Of the eight we ran on varsity, they are all back and if they come out and do the work this summer, we will make a run at finishing higher at state.”