By Michael Kinney
NORMAN– Whenever cross country runners prepare to take on a course, there is one variable they can’t control, the weather.
Rain, heat and cold all have a chance to make an appearance during any cross country meet in Oklahoma. However, Saturday at the 6A Regional Meet in Norman, the biggest culprit the runners had to fight were high winds, which were a detriment to many of the athletes who showed up to the Norman Sports Complex.
However, even that was not enough to keep Yukon from doing what it came out to do. The Miller boys and girls’ cross country teams both placed in the top seven to earn a spot at the state meet Saturday at Edmond Santa Fe.
“That’s big,” Yukon coach Rodney Zimmerman said. “I really felt we had a really good shot coming into today, so I’m glad it’s worked out that way.”
The Yukon boys took third overall in the 6A regional with 111 points. They only trailed Edmond Memorial (62) and Norman (69).
Norman North (111), Mustang (115), Westmoore (133) and Edmond North (171) rounded out the top 7 teams that advanced to state.
Elijah Ankrom paced the YHS boys with a time of 16:54. He was 29 seconds behind Jed Helker of Edmond Memorial.
“I think I ran well,” Ankrom said. “Started out in a pack and then just sort of ended up by mile two, three, I just started taking off and moving on.”
Ankrom admits fighting the high winds didn’t help him.
“Coming in, trying to shoot between 16 and half and 17 was pretty much the goal because it is pretty windy out here and the course is not my favorite course,” Ankrom said. “It’s got a few hills and so it’s a tough course. But, shooting around 16:45 roughly, trying to hit between there and just make it a good race.”
Yukon’s Kolby McCoy also finished inside the top 20. His time of 17:06 was good enough for 10th place.
On the girls side, freshman Elora Jones racked up a third place finish as she finally got the competition she had been looking for.
“It feels pretty good,” Jones said. “I’m glad that I had competition here to push me and I know I’ll have competition there (state). I feel like I might PR there.”
With the state meet expected to be fun in much colder temperatures than they have had to deal with this season, Jones sees that as a positive.
“I do, yeah. The weathers supposed to be colder than, so, I usually run pretty decent in the cold as opposed to the heat,” Jones said. “So I might do better there.”
As a team, the Millers earned seventh place with 191 points. Norman, Mustang, Edmond North, Westmoore, Norman North and Edmond North were the top six teams that advanced to state.
Jones was the only runner to place in the top 20. But Asley Baker, Desiree Walker and Savannah Yancy all finished inside the top 55, which was good enough to secure a spot.
“Our girls typically really like this course, even we usually have some of our better times out here,” said Zimmerman. “Even if it had been 80, 90 degrees today they’d have ran fairly decently out here. Typically in the past, we had a really good week of practice.”
The 6A state cross country championships will start at 10 a.m. Saturday at Edmond Santa Fe.