By Chuck Reherman
EDMOND – After qualifying for the state meet by one point the week before in the east regionals, Yukon new getting close to a top 10 finish would be a monumental challenge.
The Millers finished right where they were seeded, placing 13th in the class 6A State Cross Country Championships Wednesday at Edmond Santa Fe High School.
Yukon had a strong finish in the regionals just to get into the state meet, passing runners in the final 100 yards to make up enough ground to edge Jenks out by the one point to qualify as a team. YHS would have had only three runners qualify as individuals had they not made it as a team.
The Millers finished 13th with 318 points, eight behind host team Santa Fe for the 12th spot. YHS finished 83 points ahead of Southmoore for the 14th place spot.
“There may have been an ice storm and a delay in the meet, but things seemed to go the way they were supposed to,” Miller head coach Matt Parent said. “Most of the teams, including us, finished basically where we were seeded. Had we gotten a break here or there, and had we been full strength, we would have finished a place or possibly two higher, but we finished exactly where we were seeded.
“At the beginning of the season, I thought to myself that we may not be able to make it to the state meet this year,” he said. “Things didn’t look good when you compared us to the majority of the upper level “state-type” teams. After a couple talks with our top 10-12 runners, I knew they wanted to get better. These guys worked extremely hard every single day. They did things the right way, and after a couple meets, it started paying off for them. They wanted to excel.
“At the regional meet, this group of guys seemed to will themselves into a state berth. I’m so proud of their accomplishments this year. This season has had some ups and downs, but these guys have learned an incredible life lesson. Hard work does pay off. If you don’t like where you are when you start, work and work and work some more, so that way you can be happy where you are when you finish. Again, this group has been an exceptional group to coach this year, and since so many are young, I am really looking forward to our future.”
Kayden Chaparro ran his best meet of the year and was the top finisher for the Millers. Chaparro finished 38th overall in a time of 17 minutes and 12.55 seconds. Max Marler finished 69th overall (65th in the points) in a time of 17:48.42. Jonah Hanscom finished 71st (67th in points) in 17:50.13. Brandon McCoy was 76th (72nd in points) in 17:55.76 and Caleb Ankrom ran 83rd overall (76th in points) in 18:04.95 to round out the scoring. Cade Pope (101st overall, 90th in displacer points in 18:35.27) and Austin Miller (104th, 92nd in displacer points in 18:43.77) to round out the Miller team.
“Kayden saved his best for last,” Parent said. “He ran his personal best at the state meet. He looked strong throughout the race. This is what I’ve been seeing for the last couple weeks too. He runs extremely hard in our practices. He takes care of the little things. He has made himself into a great runner for us. I’m really happy he was able to run a personal record at the final meet of the year.
“We had several of our guys that probably went out a little fast for the first mile,” he said. “It’s a natural thing to do. This impacted the back end of their race though. Our runners, 2-7, didn’t have any big PR’s, but they ran solid races. Four of our guys were in the 17’s with Caleb Ankrom running just barely outside of the 17’s. We did well.
“We had two seniors on our varsity, Cade Pope and Caleb Ankrom. Both of these guys put in so much effort. Both were a big reason we got it done this year. I can’t say enough about them. They will definitely be missed.”