By Brody Feldmann
Talk to the boy’s cross country coach Mike McGarry for 30-seconds about Gabe Simonsen, and you will learn that there are two guys in the state who are ranked in front of Simonsen.
McGarry and Simonsen both know it, and both talk about it. But on Saturday, Simonsen got his first look at one of the two runners who are in front of him during the Mustang Harrier, Steven Clark of Deer Creek.
“It gives me a lot more confidence to stick with the top guys at state. It was a confidence boost knowing that I have a better chance,” Simonsen said.
Simonsen knew going into the race that he needed to keep the race close, so he could put together a strong finish for a chance to win.
“I just told myself I had to stick close to him the whole race, or he would get too far away from me to get him at the end like I did,” said Simonsen.
That is exactly what Simonsen did he and Clark gave the spectators a great finish.
The two harriers kicked it on late and pulled away from the rest of the pack. At the finish line Simonsen stretched out his arms, stuck out his nose and clipped Clark by four tenths of a second.
“I started falling behind before the final stretch. But, at the final stretch, I knew I had to give it my all to pass him,” said Simonsen.
Simonsen finished the race with a 16:21.79, while Clark finished in 16:22.18.
“I just felt relieved. That race was hurting, and I knew that’s what it was going to take to beat him, and I was just happy with that,” said Simonsen.
Simonsen’s first-place finish helped lead the Broncos to a third-place finish with 58 points, behind Deer Creek (44) and Piedmont (46).
Parker Huckabay took ninth with a time of 17:07.81, Antonio Cervantes finished 11th with a time of 17:13.21 and Brendan Robeaux took 12th with a time of 17:16.25.
Colton Cable finished with a time of 17:59.66 and in 25th place while Kyle Bussell took 27th with a time of 18:14.19.
The Mustang girls team also took third place on the day with a team total of 68 points.
Jordan Thayer led the Lady Broncos with a ninth-place finish with a time of 21:37.29, Alexis Ray finished in 10th with a time of 21:41.96, Elaina Hinkle took 14th with a time of 22:09.81 and Heidi Askeland took 15th with a time of 22:30.14.
Mustang then had the final three girls finish back-to-back-to-back. Carrigan Mills took 20th with a time of 22:57.27, Rachel Hamel took 21st with a time of 23:06.19 and Annistyn Stanley took 22nd with a time of 23:09.09.
The Mustang harriers are back in action Friday at Edmond Santa Fe in the Pre-State meet beginning at noon.