By Chuck Reherman
Early in the week, Yukon’s cross country teams were set to go compete in the class 6A State Championships on Saturday at Edmond Santa Fe.
Mother Nature had other plans. The state championships set for today have now been moved to Wednesday following the week’s ice storm. Concerns about the course, where several areas of the course have downed tree limbs that have to be removed.
The schedule for the state meet will remain the same. The class 6A girls will run at 8:30 a.m., followed with the boys at 9:15 a.m. with the class 6A boys. The awards ceremony will start at 10 a.m.
The ice storm has put somewhat of a halt to workouts by the YHS teams, although runners have been working out on their own and both coaches are hoping to get a couple of workouts in before the state meet.
“Yeah, moving the state meet to Wednesday could help,” Millerette coach Rod Zimmerman said. “At least get us back into a routine and hopefully back to normal at their homes if we can start getting some electricity back. Luckily we were able to meet today (Wednesday) and do a little light running in the gym just to get moving.
“They have to go compete together as a team, have each other’s backs and push each other to leave it all out on the course to finish the season,” he said. “It will help us in the fact that we will be running on a course that we are familiar with. I think it is important, they know where they are at distance wise during the race. Sometimes if it is a course you are not familiar with it can cost you some time.”
The Millerettes after a fourth place finish in the east regionals last week, will have those three teams that finished ahead of them and three from the west to contend with to earn a top five finish. Jenks won the east regional title with Owasso and Broken Arrow finishing second and third. From the west, the Millerettes will have to contend with Norman North, Edmond Santa Fe and Edmond North. Norman North won the west regional title with Santa Fe placing second and Edmond North third.
Avery Stanley, who has been the Millerettes No. 1 runner all season, will be looking to have a stronger race than she did in the regionals. She finished seventh at regionals in 19 minutes and 41.61 seconds on an extremely tough course. It as the slowest she has run in the last three meets, but Zimmerman expects her to be back down in the low 19s or even the 18s for the state meet.
YHS also ran the regionals with one of their top four runners, Rena Henson, who Zimmerman is hoping to have back for state. Harper Barlow, Elora Jones Kailan Parks and Bri Abbott ran the regionals and turned in good times.
“Rena was on our injured list and we are playing that by ear,” Zimmerman said. “If she is back and feeling good by state we will put her in the line-up. If not, we will go with the group we ran at regionals. It depends, it is a day to day and right now it is 50-50.
“We have to run like we did in Conference and at regionals to get into the top five,” he said. “At state, you are looking at a Jenks up front. Owasso will be close, then Broken Arrow, Edmond North and us, it all just depends on how it pans out. Broken Arrow was in reach of us at the regionals. I’m thinking if we can get in front of Broken Arrow and Edmond North and get as close as we can. We will back way off things and let them get their legs under them and let them feel good going in. If we run as hard as we did in the regionals, I think we will be okay.”
The ice storm has also slowed the Millers progress of getting ready for the state meet, but head coach Matt Parent said most of his team have been working out on their own or together to keep in shape for the state meet.
“They’ve been checking in daily,” Parent said. “The only one who hasn’t done much is Brandon (McCoy). The others have been running outside even in the crap weather. It would have helped if we had school one or two days this past week, but what can you do.
“I would’ve rather stayed on schedule, but Mother Nature had a different plan,” he said. “Running on Wednesday is really the best option. We will adapt and try to get another high intensity workout in on Friday along with a couple easy distance days going into Wednesday. That’s about all we can do at this point. Hopefully all seven will click at the same time and will have saved our best for last.
The Millers earned their way into the state meet by one point in the east regionals and will be challenged to have a chance to finish in the top 10.
YHS is ranked No. 13 going into the state meet. Of the teams in the state meet, 10 of them will be from the west. YHS will have to contend with teams from Southmoore, Santa Fe and Choctaw from the West and Bartlesville from the east to earn a top 10 finish. Mustang the No. 2 ranked team in the state edged No. 1 ranked Edmond Memorial for the east regional title. Edmond Deer Creek beat Westmoore for the west regional title.
Freshman Brandon McCoy had the best time for the Millers in the regional meet in 17:18.36, which was 30 seconds faster than he had run all season. Parent is looking for Max Marler, Cade Pope and Kayden Chaparro to turn in their best times. The Millers should also have Jonah Hanscom back for state after he missed the regional meet.