By Chuck Reherman
SAND SPRINGS – Yukon knew being sent to the east side of the state for the class 6A east regional meet would present a challenge for the Millerettes.
YHS met the challenge head on and easily earned their way into the state meet.
The Millerettes finished fourth overall in the east regional at Case Park in Sand Springs, finishing behind the top three ranked teams in the state. The No. 6 ranked YHS will compete in the state meet on Saturday at Edmond Santa Fe High School and take aim at cracking a top three spot. The 6A girls event will run at 8:30 a.m.
Yukon finished a solid fourth with 113 points, 42 ahead of fifth place Mustang. The top seven teams in each regional qualify for state. YHS was only 19 points out of third (Broken Arrow with 94). Jenks won the regional title with 42 points.
YHS had only one top 10 finisher, but three more finished in the top 26 to earn their fourth place spot.
It was the toughest course the Millerettes had run this season, which included two water hazards, plus several hills and a long ridge to battle.
“I thought we ran well,” Millerette head coach Rod Zimmerman said. “It was a pretty tough course with the up and downs and the creek crossings, but overall I feel they handled it really well. Fourth place is kind of where I felt we were likely to be, so that wasn’t really a surprise.
“Jenks, Owasso and Broken Arrow and all really good teams and there was a lot of speed even when you get into individual runners over here,” he said. “There is a lot of speed over here when you get into the individual race. The girl from Bixby (Cayden Dawson) ran like an 18-flat in their conference meet last week and that is moving pretty good over there. I was surprised that she got caught by a Broken Arrow runner (Payton Hinkle) who won the regional title.
“I felt our times were a little slower than we have run the last couple of weeks, but then again, it was a much tougher course. We are built and trained more for a flatter western course than a hillier eastern course. I felt that could the case over here. The state meet will be a lot flatter course with just that one dip at the mile mark.”
Avery Stanley had the lone top 10 finish for the Millerettes, running seventh in a time of 19 minutes and 41.61 seconds, finishing 10 seconds ahead of eighth place finisher Jillian Skalicky of Bartlesville. Stanley was five seconds behind Riann Barber of Jenks, who finished in sixth place.
Harper Barlow had the second best finish for the Millerettes, placing 20th in 20:47.29. Kailan Parks was 21st in 20:56.06, Elora Jones was 26th in 21:09.65 and Bri Abbott rounded out the YHS scoring with a 39th place in 21:44.66.
Emily Schneider, who ran 40th in 21:52.65 and Lauren Brown, 54th in 22:49.32, rounded out the top seven runners.
“We told the girls not to change up their stride when it came to crossing the creek or running the hills, just go with it,” Zimmerman said. “Luckily, they didn’t get the rain, they might have gotten. Last year that creek was full and this time it wasn’t very deep.
“I thought Avery would be in the top 10 area because the individual runners here are ridiculously fast,” he added. “So to be in the top 10 in that range is a really good race over here. The course did narrow pretty quickly and it looked like she did get boxed in early in the race. I didn’t want them to get out real fast, but there are some courses that narrow and you have to get out fast and get a space. They did that and what you have to do is when it narrows like that is to not get boxed in, but sometimes it happens.
“Harper ran a really good race and Kailan also ran well to be our second and third runners. We have to go out and run like we did today at the state meet. We know Jenks, Owasso will be up there and then we will be in there in Broken Arrow and Edmond North. Broken Arrow was in reach of us today, so I think you are looking at if we can get up in front of Broken Arrow and Edmond North and get as close as we can.
“We will come in this week and back way off things and let them get their legs back under them. The goal is to feel good when we go in Saturday and if they run as hard as they can, we will be there.”