By Chuck Reherman
EDMOND – After the 2019 state meet, Yukon head coach Rod Zimmerman talked to his runners about setting a goal for the next state meet of earning a top five finish.
The Millerettes came within five points of that goal.
Yukon finished sixth overall in the 2020 Class 6A State Cross Country Championships at Edmond Santa Fe High School Wednesday, finishing five points behind Broken Arrow for that top five. And, the Millerettes were within 12 points of earning a top four finish.
The state meet was originally scheduled for the previous Saturday, but the ice storm and damage to the course forced it to move to Wednesday.
It is a course that the Millerettes know well. But an 8:30 a.m. start in the low 50-degree weather with a steady wind blowing, may have caused the team to run a little slow than they normally would have. But it was also that way for many of the teams.
“The girls ran well today,” Zimmerman said. “A year ago we sat down after the state meet and talked about setting a goal for this year. Together we said that we wanted to be in the top five. They were within five points of meeting that goal.
“I know we have a couple of girls that would have liked to have ran faster today but with the way 2020 has gone, with having runners quarantined at different times due to exposures to others who were positive for covid and the ice storm last week that postponed the meet we have to be happy that we had a state meet,” he said. “With all the challenges of 2020 we had a great year the girls competed well all year and got faster throughout there year and they were competitive today.”
Avery Stanley continued to run her pace for the season and finished eighth overall (seventh in the team points placing), running a time of 19 minutes and 27.15 seconds. Stanley had set her sights on breaking the 19 minute mark (which she did in the COAC meet). But she did get caught up in a pack of runners early.
She was able to work her way up to 10th place midway in the race. She passed Norman North’s Jade Robinson and Jillian Skalicky of Bartlesville in the final mile to earn her eighth place finish and garner All-State honors for the second year in a row.
Harper Barlow had the second fastest time for the Millerettes, running 24th overall (21st in points), Kailan Parks was 40th (36th in points), Elora Jones was 49th (42nd in points) and Bri Abbot rounded out the top five finishing 62st (54th in points) in 21:28.22. Rena Henson, who missed the regionals last week with an injury was the sixth runner, placing 69th (60th as a displacer) in 21:46.11 and Lauren Brown rounded out the top seven with a 102nd place finish (90th in displacer points (in 23:10.25).
“Avery ran well,” Zimmerman said. “You had the Bixby girl and the Broken Arrow girl that got out front early and Avery was out with the second pack and that is where she needed to be. She kept up a good pace with them and has learned how to finish a race over the past year. She made up some spots in the last 400 meters.
“Harper was almost two minutes faster this year than last year and finished 63 places better than last year,” Zimmerman said. “Kailan ran her third fastest time ever and was right at her time last year at the state meet. We never got Elora completely healed up after she got cut off in the Owasso race but she has gone out every meet between then and now working hard for the team and was still close to what she ran last year also.
“Bri ran about a minute faster than last year and finished 34 places better. Rena is one that has had an injury this year, but she worked as hard as she could to help the team today and was having a good year until her injury. Lauren came out and ran hard also and had a great year, she had struggled the last two years, but we were happy for her and how well she did this year.”
Barlow was within 14-hundreths of a second in finishing two places higher and just a little over a second behind a top 20 finish.
“It looks like there are a few places were there was a runner or two close at the finish if they could have picked off a few of those maybe,” Zimmerman said. “That would have given us that top five finish, but it’s sounds easy on paper but isn’t always that easy though.”