Pawhuska High School’s Tristen Tucker will try to run his way back to the Oklahoma Cross Country State Championships this Saturday in the 2A Regional at Enid’s Chisholm High School.
Tucker was the only local runner to qualify for last year’s state meet. The PHS senior placed 31st in the Class 2A championships at Shawnee after earning a qualification with a 24th-place finish in the 2015 Chisholm Regional.
A late-season downsizing of the PHS squads from Class 3A to 2A had detrimental effects on the results of several Pawhuska runners. Especially the Lady Huskies’ Aubrie Walker. who placed 38th at the 2014 state 3A Meet as a freshman, but narrowly missed qualifying as a sophomore in 3A.
Saturday’s Regional at Chisholm is to include teams of runners from 36 Class 2A schools — with separate races for the boys, who go 5 kilometers, and girls, who will run a 3500-meter course. Seven-member teams can be entered, but only points from the team’s top five finishers areincluded in the scoring.
In addition to Pawhuska, Osage County’s Woodland Cougars/Lady Cougars are also in the 2A Regional field. Chisholm also will be the site for Cross Country Regionals for Classes 3A and 4A, each involving around 16 high school girls’ and boys’ squads. Similar 4A-3A-2A Regional sites are to be at Velma-Alma and Henryetta.
PHS will be one of 36 schools sending runners to Chisholm for the 2A Regional. Woodland High School and Tonkawa also are assigned to Chisholm’s 2A Regional. Other 2A schools in the Enid meet: Hooker, which has the No. 1 -ranked 2A boys team and the No. 2 team in the 2A girls’ rankings.
Other top girls teams at Chisholm will be: No. 7 BoiseCity, 9th-ranked Watonga, No. 10 Laverne and 21st-rated Beaver. Ranked boys’ teams include No. 16 Tonkawa, 17th-ranked Watonga and No. 22 Cherokee.
Class 4A races begin at 10 a.m. The 2A girls are scheduled to start at noon, followed by 2A’s boys at 12:45 p.m. Around 2 p.m., the 3A runners (first girls and then the boys) will take to the course.
Regional medals will be presented to the top 15 individual finishers in each of the classes. The first-place team gets a regional championship plaque.
The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association’s Cross Country Championships for 2A-3A-4A are to be held Oct. 22. That same day, regionals will take place for the state’s 5A and 6A cross country squads.
REGIONAL PREP RACES
Tucker turned in a first-place performance at Saturday’s Osage Nation 5K Buffalo Run held at Osage Hills State Park. The event was sponsored by Osage Nation Diabetes, Public Health & CHR Programs.
Another top-level workout for the local runners was Thursday. The Owasso Invitational Cross Country Meet at Tulsa’s Mohawk Park drew more than 300 male runners from Tulsa-area high schools.
Tucker finished a highly-respectable 43rd in the 5-k boys’ event. The senior’s time was 18 minutes, 36 seconds.
Several Lady Huskie runners also competed at Owasso, which included nearly as many entries as the boys’ race.
PHS sophomore Kaiti Moen came in 38th (25:12) and Aubrie Walker, who placed 81st (time: 27:03). Rayven Stone was the 102nd-place finisher (28:46) and Abby Nightengale was close behind in 103rd (28:49).
The Mohawk course, which starts and ends on the Mohawk polo fields, will be hosting the OSSAA East Regional Meet.