ENID — Pawhuska High School senior Tristen Tucker will run in the Oklahoma Cross Country Championship Meet for a second straight year after posting the 17th-fastest qualifying time at Saturday’s 2A Regional hosted by Chisholm High School.
Tucker completed Chisholm’s 5000-meter course in a little under 20 minutes — 19:53.9. More than 100 runners represented at least 30 different high schools from central and western Oklahoma.
“Tristen was a little bummed about his qualifying time,” Pawhuska coach Debra Richardson said.
(Tucker’s Regional time was nearly 45 seconds faster in 2015, when the Enid school also hosted the qualifying meet.)
Richardson said she thought Tucker’s time was negatively affected by Saturday’s strong winds at Chisholm. The course also seemed rougher than most of the others the Pawhuska teams competed on this year, she said.
“The most important thing is that he qualified,” the coach added. “So, now he can go to this week’s state meet and improve on his time.”
Saturday’s Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association Cross Country Championships for Class 2A boys will start at 12:30 p.m. on the Gordon Cooper Technology Center campus in Shawnee. Girls and boys championships are scheduled throughout the day for Classes 2A, 3A and 4A.
Even though Tucker was battling a bronchial infection when he competed at last year’s state meet, he nonetheless managed to cut 48 seconds off his qualifying time. He placed 31st out of 121 runners at the 2015 2A State Meet, posting a five-kilometer time of 18:21.44.
Tucker was the only PHS entry to qualify for the state meet, although the Lady Huskies barely missed qualifying their entire six-member team.
“Six points. That’s how many our girls would have needed to qualify,” Richardson explained. “Basically, if one of our girls would have passed one of the girls from Tonkawa’s team, that would have done it.”
The seven (five- to seven-member) school teams with the top composite times qualify for state. Additionally, the top seven individuals in the the class who are not on a qualifying team also will qualify for state, the official rules state.
Pawhuska 8th place-finishing girls’ team had a score of 187, based on individual place finishes 17-33-34-51-52. Tonkawa, the seventh-place team qualifier, had a score of 181, with scoring finishers placing 26-27-37-43-48.
“Our girls were shocked when they found out how close they had come to qualifying,” Richardson said.
The coach said the experience should provide a valuable lesson for the future.
“For runners who think it won’t make any difference whether they finish in 70th or 77th or 80th place, this shows that it can actually mean a lot.” Richardson added. “If they had known they only needed to move up one or two spots, they could have done it.
“This gives a reason for why they need to keep moving up as far as possible, just in case,” she said.
Results for PHS girls at the Chisholm Regional included: 28. freshman Kaiti Moen 15:04.5; 62. junior Aubrie Walker 16:36.1; 63. sophomore Abby Nightengale 16:38.4; 90. sophomore Blake Allen 18:13; 91. sophomore Rayven Stone 18:20.6, and 95. senior Madelyn Priest 19:05.9.
Hooker (34) finished first in the 2A girls standings, with Boise City (52) taking second, Laverne (107) third and Watonga (114) fourth, followed by Texhoma (119), Balko (123) and Tonkawa.
Sharon-Mutual senior Harlie Schmeling finished first in the 2A girls’ race. Her time of 12:53 was approximately 27 seconds faster than the second-place individual. Of 104 total finishers in the 3.5-kilometer girls’ race, 2A’s seventh (and final) individual qualifier at Chisholm finished in 13th place, overall.
Also running for the PHS boys team at the Chisholm were: 56. sophomore Ryan Parks 22:36.3; 63. junior Payton McCarty 23:15.5; 83. junior Devynn Mathes 24:53.5; 87. senior Daneal Parks 25:17.7, and 101. freshman Hunter Hurd 30:45.4
Pawhuska’s boys squad placed 11th in the 2A team standings with a 248-point total (14-46-51-67-70).
Behind 1. Hooker (36) 2. Mooreland (79) 3. Boise City (97), Watonga, Buffalo, Beaver, Sharon-Mutuel, Laverne, Cherokee (203), Laverne (231), Tonkawa 233, 12. (263) Kremlin-Hillsdale
A sophomore from Boise City, Colten Brown, finished first in Chisholm’s 2A Regional boys’ race. His winning time of 17:43.5 was nearly 24 seconds faster than that of the runnerup, Mooreland freshman Collen Mclain (18:07.2).
Woodland junior Braden Clapp finished fifth in the Chisholm 2A Regional. His state-qualifying time was 18:47.6.
Woodland Lady Cougars runners at the Chishom Regional included 22nd-place overall finisher Piper Reese, a junior whose time was 14:53.9. Finishing 57th was Woodland sophomore Deserae Wood (16:24.8) and No. 83 was freshman Raychel Bennett (17:54.6).