By Michael Kinney
It has been a pretty busy last couple of weeks for the Mustang Cross Country Team.
The Broncos have traveled to Arkansas for the Chili Pepper Invitational and have gone to Stillwater twice.
All of the travel and different meets were preparation for this time of the season. Tuesday’s conference meet was the start of the cross country postseason.
The 6A regional meet is next up. That will be held Oct. 21 in Normal at Irving Middle School.
The OSSAA State Meet is scheduled for Oct. 28 at Edmond Santa Fe.
The Broncos got a good look at the state course Oct. 6 when they joined teams from around the state at the Pre-State meet. It featured some of the top runners in each class as they got a chance to run the ground they hope to be competing for a state title on.
That includes Mustang’s Emma Downing. The senior ran a 19:26 to take fourth place overall.
“It was alright,” Downing said. “It was a good day. It was pretty muddy. There were fast people, so I got to run a pretty good time compared to the last couple of meets.”
Rilee Rigdon of Bartlesville won the girls title by running an 18:54 over the 5k course that had been hit hard with rains during the week. She was 14 seconds ahead of second place Elysia Burgos of Deer Creek.
Enid’s Alexzandria Hernanadez was just one second ahead of Downing for thing place.
However, according to Downing, the Broncos had other motivations besides posting their best score at pre-state.
“I just kind of wanted to remember the course,” Downing said. “I’ve ran it two years in a row because we always have state here. Just kind of remember where everything is, scope out competition. I Kind of tried to stay behind the pack today because I was pretty sore from working out this week. Just kind of watching, seeing what everybody was doing.”
On the girls’ side, no other Bronco finished inside the top 30. Heidi Askeland was 36th with a time of 21:20. Jordan Thayer was 42nd.
As a team, MHS finished in sixth place with 192 points. Norman High grabbed the title with 52 points, which was enough to hold off Bartlesville (57).
For the boys, Bartlesville won the team title with 63 points. That was seven more than second place Deer Creek.
Mustang tied for fourth with 119 points.
The Broncos were led by Cameron Mills. The senior took 9th with a 16:55. Freshman Gabe Simonsen was just eight seconds behind in 12th place.
MHS fans can probably expect to see even better times during regionals and state due to the strategy the Broncos said they took into pre-state.
“Coach is like hey, let’s try and get that underdog mentality so the other teams are not training as hard,” Downing said.