PHS cross country teams both place at 3A Regional

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital

Solid showings at last weekend’s 3A Regional qualified two Pawhuska High School cross country runners for Saturday’s state meet in Shawnee.

Lady Huskie freshman Aubrie Walker was the ninth-fastest qualifier on the 3,200-meter girls’ course at Chisholm, site of one of the three Regional events. She will now advance to Saturday’s 3A State Meet, which begins at 10 a.m. on the grounds of Shawnee’s Gordon Cooper Vo-Tech School.

Also qualifying for the state cross country meet was PHS junior Haley Mouser, who finished 23rd at Chisholm. Mouser is a previous three-time state medalist in track and field medals, twice for high jump and once in a relay event. The Lady Huskies placed seventh among the girls’ squads at the Regional.

Pawhuska’s boys placed eighth in the team standings at Chisholm. Leading the pace for the Huskies were sophomores Tristen Tucker and Mattheu Rector, who finished 23rd and 26th, respectively.

“That’s pretty impressive for teams that were just started up this year,” PHS Athletic Director Bob Craig said. “Coach (Stacey) BigEagle did a commendable job and the cross country program appears to have a bright future in Pawhuska.”

In order to qualify for the state meet, a cross country runner must either be a member of one of the top 15 teams in the combined Regional results or be among the top 15 individuals who were not on one of the seven-member team qualifiers.

Walker’s time on the 3,200-meter girls’ course at the Regional was 14:10.38, which put her 47 seconds behind the first-place finisher, Falon Robinett of Chisholm (13:23.50). Mouser clocked in at 15:05.72. Just missing out as a state qualifier was Lady Huskie junior Karissa Hughes, who finished 43rd overall with a time of 16:17.81.

Also competing for the PHS girls was junior Danae Laird, who placed 51st with a time of 17:07.34, and sophomores Denver Wahwassuk (59th place, 18:43.62) and McKenzie Fortney (63rd, 20:32.62).

Regional girls’ team champion was Chisholm, whose top five runners’ times added up to one hour, 10 minutes and 55.74 seconds (for an average of 14:11.15). The five leading times for the Lady Huskies totalled 1:21:24.87 (averaging 16:16.98). Girls’ teams from Hennessey, Cascia Hall, Perry and Jones also qualified for state from the Chisholm meet.

First-place individual finisher in the Regional boys competition was Chisholm’s Tommy Grebe, who won by nearly 14 seconds with a time of 17:38.31. PHS’s Tucker completed the 5-kilometer course in 19:55:18, two seconds behind the 22nd placer and more than 10 seconds ahead of runner No. 24. Rector’s time (20:16.66) was eight seconds behind the 25th finisher while beating No. 27 by less than a second.

Other runners for the Huskies were: junior T.J. Finn, who took 33rd overall with a time of 20:53.97, sophomore Joe Lynn (45th place at 22:18.22), junior Trent Hughes (53rd overall, 23:26.94), freshman Tyrae Walker (55th, 23:56.56, 56) and freshman Devynn Mathes (No. 56, 24:00.78).

Chisholm also won the boys’ team scoring, posting a cumulative time of 1:32:25.84 (for an 18:29.17 average). The combined time of the Huskies’ top five was 1:46:50.97 (average: 21:22.20). Oklahoma Bible, Oklahoma Christian and Chandler were the Regional’s other team qualifiers.

This year’s PHS teams revived the local cross-country program after more than a 10-year layoff.