Cross country begins new run at PHS
Following an absence of more than a decade, cross country returned this season to the athletic smorgasbord at Pawhuska High School.
Huskies and Lady Huskies long-distance runners have been competing on teams supervised by Stacy BigEagle, a local science teacher/coach who has provided valuable assistance to Pawhuska’s track-and-field program throughout her career.
“We had been trying to push it through for several years and I the response, so far, has been great,” BigEagle said.
More than two dozen students have turned out for the program, including a fledgling group of junior high girls.
“This is a sport that could bring in some kids who otherwise might never get involved in anything,” said the coach. “But, it also is something that will benefit athletes from the other sports, or anyone.”
PHS’s distance runners include wrestlers, as well as basketball and soccer players. Haley Mouser, a junior, is a state contender in the high jump and starts for the Lady Huskie soccer team. Other cross country participants from track and soccer include Karissa Hughes and Danae Laird.
The standout, so far, has been Aubrie Walker, a multi-talented freshman who also is currently a member of the PHS varsity softball team. She placed 13th overall in the squad’s debut last month at Ponca City and added another strong showing two weeks ago in Prague, where she completed the course in a time of 15 minutes and 41 seconds. Last Thursday, Walker took first-place honors in a meet at Foyil.
“Aubrie trains separate from the others since she has softball in the afternoon,” BigEagle said. “She’s off to a really good start.”
Pawhuska cross country athletes usually work out along a route that takes them along biking/walking trails around the school.
According to the coach, the PHS boys’ team currently is ranked No. 19 in Oklahoma Class 3A.
The seven top runners for the Huskies — junior T.J. Finn, sophomores Tristen Tucker, Mattheu Rector, Joe Lynn and Mike Lynn, and freshmen Tyrae Walker and Devynn Mathes — finished second as a team in the Prague meet. At Foyil, Tucker captured a second-place individual medal.
Eighth-grader Abby Nightengale also won a second-place medal at Prague. Other members of the Lady Huskies’ first team are sophomores Denver Wahwassuk and McKenzie Fortney.
The local runners were to compete Tuesday at Cleveland. On Saturday, Oklahoma State University will host an event in Stillwater.
PHS will take part in the Class 3A regional meet on Saturday, Oct. 18, at a site to be determined. The 3A state cross country competition is set for Saturday, Oct. 25.