PHS cross country squads prepare for Regional meet

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital

Members of the Pawhuska High School cross country teams are striding toward upcoming Regional competitions which will opportunity to qualify for state.

Huskie and Lady Huskie runners will participate in the Oklahoma 3A Regional meet scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 17, at Chisholm High School in Enid.

Last week, PHS’s Tristen Tucker and Aubrie Walker earned medals at the Zebra Cross Country Meet in Claremore — where the local runners managed top-20 finishes despite facing fields filled with larger-school entries from Tulsa, Vinita, Ponca City, Pryor and Jay.

Tucker, a junior, finished 11th in the varsity boys’ division by completing the 5-kilometer course at Claremore’s Walnut Park in 18 minutes and 14 seconds. Jake Ingle of Grove clocked a 16:41 winning time for the boys and Claremore’s Katelyn Alexander, with a time of in 20:22, was first in the girls’ division.

Sophomore Walker — who qualified for state as a freshman — clocked a 5-k time of 22:45 en route to a 19th-place finish in the girls’ division. Another returning state qualifier for Lady Huskies, senior Haley Mouser, missed competing at Claremore after spraining an ankle.

Pawhuska cross-country coach Jodi Culver said runners on both local teams have improved steadily over the past month.

“I expect that progress to continue,” the first-year coach added. “We’re hoping to send several to the state meet.”

Also running for the Huskies at Claremore were Levi Youngwolfe (20:24), Taylor Walker (20:43) and Devan Mathes (23:10). Other Lady Huskie runners included Abbie Nightengale (27:15), Lexi Bighorse Pawhuska (30:21) and Mackenzie Fortney (34:18).

PHS teams also competed Sept. 24 at the Cleveland Tigers Meet, Culver said. The Lady Huskies placed sixth as a team at Cleveland while the Huskies quad finished seventh.

Walker was fifth, overall, in the girls’ race for PHS. She completed the 3200-meter Cleveland course in 14:27. Mouser finished 17th with a 15:31. Tucker placed sixth among the boys as he had a times with a time of 17:27 over a 5000-meter distance. Both winners at the Cleveland race were from Berryhill. Daniel Mazzer won the boys meet in a time of 15:39 and Adrena Mazzer (11:47) finished first for the boys.

Other Lady Huskie results from the Tigers’ meet were: Abby Nightengale (18:43), Lexi Bighorse (19:42), Abby Cox (20:24) and McKenzie Fortney (22:19). Boys’ division runners also included: Levi Youngwolfe, 28th in 19:07, Taylor Walker 36th in 20:03, Mattheu Rector (21:28), Devin Mathes (21:28), Brycen Swann (22:03) and Ryan Parks (24:40).

Members of the Lady Huskie team who ran 1600 meters in Cleveland’s junior-high division included Bailey Henley, who placed 23rd with a time of 7:59, and Shelby Laird, who ran a 9:51.

Earlier in the season, PHS runners competed in cross country meets at Ponca City, Tonkawa and Owasso.

This year’s Class 3A state championship meet will be held Saturday, Oct. 24, in Shawnee. In the 2014 finals, Walker placed 36th on the 3200-meter course at Shawnee. She set a personal-best time of 13:47.43 after qualifying with a ninth-place finish (14:10.38) at the Chisholm Regional. Mauser qualified 23rd at Chisholm with a time of 15:05.72. She did not compete at the 3A state meet because she was scheduled to take a college entrance exam that day.

The Lady Huskie finished seventh as a team at the Regional and the PHS boys placed eighth. Tucker was the top finisher for the Huskies (23rd, 19:55.18) and Rector (26th, 20:16.66) was close behind.