Typically, the Yukon boys cross country would be preparing to go run the regional meet in Norman this time of year, but with the new OSSAA rules, the Millers will have to compete in the 6A east regional in Tulsa.
The regional will begin at 12:45 p.m. Saturday at Mohawk Park and Yukon will have to finish in the top seven as a team to qualify for state.
“This year, the state organization decided to divide the teams differently than they have from any year before,” Yukon coach Matt Parent said. “Typically, there needs to be two or three teams from the west moved to the east because we have more 6A schools on this side of the state. This year, they moved four west side schools east and they moved two east side schools west. This inadvertently made qualifying for state much harder.”
Parent said he needs his runners to be at their best Saturday.
“In order to qualify, all of our runners need to run close to, if not, their best,” he said. “We don’t have a large span in between our number one runner and number seven. This will actually help us. However, we need at least four of our guys in the 17’s to give us a legitimate chance.”
The outcome wasn’t the greatest at the conference meet last week, but Parent said there are things he can use to get his team ready to go.
“At the conference meet, Seth Cortez really impressed,” Parent said. “He finished first on the team, but more importantly, he ran in the 17s for the first time. For us to be successful, we really need to do this again. The same can be said for Kohl Kimmel. He ran a solid race too, and he will be counted on heavily in the regional meet.”
Parent said he is not planning on changing much in his team’s preparation for the regional meet.
“We will continue with a couple hard days this week, but will be tapering off by Thursday to help their legs feel rested,” Parent said. “Our main focus will be on their mind. Every one of them needs to understand that they will hit their times at the same time.”
Parent closed by saying one of the biggest challenges his team will face this weekend is medical.
“Our biggest challenge will be overcoming sickness,” Parent said. “Right now, we have one of our top runners dealing with sickness. At the conference meet, we had two that were sick. We all just need to get healthy. We have a small window and it becomes really tough when dealing with sickness.”