Three Yukon boys, two girls advance to state cross country

For the first time in 13 years, the Yukon boys cross country team will not be competing in the 6A state cross country meet.

The Millers finished one spot out of the state qualifiers Saturday at the 6A east regional cross country meet in Tulsa at Mohawk Park.

Yukon took eighth and was seven points shy of seventh place.

Owasso brought home the team prize.

“While I think there is always room for improvement, I do think we competed well,” Yukon coach Matt Parent said. “Because of recent rains, the course was pretty muddy. That accounts for the overall slower times for most of the runners. We were decidedly the eighth seed going in because of the teams from the west side that were moved east. We needed something good to happen to capture seventh. We came so close. It just didn’t get done this year.

“The biggest challenge for us going east is the state sending four west side teams east and two traditional east side teams west.  This was the first time since I’ve been the head coach that this was done this way.  In fact, several of the girls’ coaches on the east side weren’t happy about it at all, saying that three of the top four girls’ teams wound up in the east regional.  The traditional approach would be to have a one through four seed stay in their region, and everyone else would be fair game.  It is what it is though.  We gave it our best shot and fell a few points short.”

Even though the Millers won’t be there as a team, three individuals qualified for state.

Kolby Mccoy with a 28th place finish and a time of 17:57.6, Seth Cortez at 33rd place and a time of 18:01.7 and Kohl Kimmel with a 35th place finish and a time of 18:06.8 willrepresent the Yukon boys cross country team Saturday in Edmond at the 6A state meet.

“Kolby McCoy, Seth Cortez and Kohl Kimmel did qualify for us as additional qualifiers,” Parent said. “The top seven individual times from non qualifying teams move on to the state meet as well.  We were actually about .6 seconds away from grabbing a fourth additional qualifier too.  Jonah Hanscom lost out by a fraction of a second.  His brother Noah, who has been battling strep throat and mono over the last two weeks, missed by just a few places also.  He ran as well as his body would allow.  It is his senior year, and he at least wanted to try.

“Kolby’s time was slow, but he placed about where he was seeded.  He has been looking great in workouts, so we should see one of his best times next week at state.  Seth keeps improving.  This is his first full season of cross country.  He works hard at everything he does, and consequently, he keeps getting better.  Kohl qualified because of sheer determination.  He came screaming down the final stretch, passing runner after runner.  He finished the race in a dead sprint.  Because of that, he grabbed one of the last qualifying positions.  He was doing everything he could do to help the team out and was rewarded for it. I look for all three of ours to run their best races of the year.  We will put in about three hard days this week, and then we will taper off, allowing them to feel fresh.”

Rounding out the remaining four Millers boys is Jonah Hanscom with a 37th place finish and a time of 8:07.4. Noah Hanscom (who was battling an illness) took 46th with a time of 1:18.7. Kyle Crow finished 60th with a time of 18:36.1 and Cade Pope placed 78th with a time of 19:36.8.

Edmond North’s Parker Jackson took first with a time of 16:24.1.

“There is a lot to be learned even though we didn’t qualify the whole team for the first time in quite a while,” Parent said. “Some of our guys now see why it is so important to run throughout the summer.  The OSSAA says that I’m not allowed to meet with the team or work them out in any way until July 15, and while that covers me, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t allowed to run.  I think they are seeing that not getting into proper shape and not conditioning the body for the speed of a 5k before school starts puts us ‘behind the 8 ball’ so to speak.

“We’ve been able to pull it out several times over the last few years, but it is just tough. In any case, we do have a presence at the state meet. This will be the 15th year in a row for us to qualify someone to the state meet, and that is significant. We will have several back from this year’s team.  Hopefully, we will cut down on the injuries and sickness we’ve had to face this year. We hopefully will be wiser about our approach to the season next year, and we will have an incoming group of eighth graders that had a stellar season and were led by some incredibly hard-working kids. All this points to a bright future for Yukon cross country.”

Girls cross country sends two to state

It won’t be the entire team, but the Yukon girls cross country program will be represented at the 6A state cross country meet Saturday in Edmond.

The Millerettes finished in ninth place out of 15 teams Saturday at the 6A east regional cross country meet at Mohawk Park. Yukon was 30 points out of seventh place, which is where the girls needed to be to qualify as a team.

“Overall, I am happy with the way they performed at the regional meet,” Yukon coach Rodney Zimmerman said. “Going in, we knew it was going to be a tough regional, but it seems that way every year. We have some teams every year that we have to beat to get into the state meet and in three of the last five years, we have done that.

“The east regional turned out to be pretty tough on the girls’ side with the caliber of teams that were there, but we still felt we had the ability to qualify. In the end, we came up short, but I believe the girls went out and performed the best they could and that’s all that can be done. We are a young team and there are things they learn from the experience that will help in the next few years.”

Elora Jones and Avery Stanley will represent the Yukon girls in the state meet. Jones took 10th place in the individual standings with a time of 20:34.1 and Stanley finished 28th with a time of 21:30.0.

“Both Elora and Avery have had good seasons and have consistently been our first and second runners,” Zimmerman said. “I felt like with the way they have run this year that they would be additional qualifiers if the team did not qualify. Elora ran a strong race and was able to beat other runners at the end to finish 10th, which is great in the east regional. Avery started off with Elora and kept contact with her for much of the race, but I could tell she was struggling towards the end. She was able to do just enough to stay in the additional qualifying group.”

Rounding out the remaining five Yukon ladies was Asley Baker with a 52nd place finish with a time of 22:52.8. Josie Gray took 61st with a time of 23:23.6. Ashley Brinkley finished 62nd with a time of 23:24.8. Cristen Rupel placed 68th with a time of 23:57.2 and Avery Turner took 72nd with a time of 24:15.0.

“We would really like to see them (Elora and Avery) break that 20-minute mark at the state meet,” Zimmerman said. “That would be a big deal and a good way to close the season. The most important thing I am looking for is for them to run strong and stay competitive throughout the race. If they do that, then I believe the times will take care of themselves.”

Broken Arrow’s Payton Hinkle took first with a time of 18:48.9.

“We always would rather have the entire team in the state meet,” Zimmerman said. “We weren’t able to make that happen, but we always want to have additional qualifiers if we don’t qualify as a team. It’s good to be represented on Saturday. It is important to the program to be represented this year because both girls are coming back for several more years and can bring experience back to the team and use that as leaders to help continue to develop the program to where we want to go.”

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