This is the time of the year Yukon has been waiting for. After a long season, the cross country teams are set to start the postseason Saturday as they compete in the regional round.
Both the boys’ and girls’ squads will be running at the 6A-5A West regional, which is taking place at Irving Middle School (125 Vicksburg Ave.) in Norman.
The 6A Girls will run first at 10 a.m. The 6A boys are scheduled to start at 10:45 a.m.
After back-to-back strong showings, Yukon’s girls coach Rodney Zimmerman says his Yukon squad is ready for the action.
“They are looking good moving toward the regional,” Zimmerman said. “They have had two good meets in a row and have practiced well.”
Compared to the East regional, the West is packed with talented and deep teams for both boys and girls.
Many of the teams are familiar to Yukon and includes many of the COAC teams.
On the girl’s side, that includes No. 3 Edmond Santa Fe, No. 4 Deer Creek, No. 5 Edmond Memorial and No. 7 Norman.
The only teams from the West side of the state ranked inside the top 10 that are not in the Norman Regional are No. 9 Mustang and No. 10 Edmond North. Both were sent to the Sand Springs Regional.
“Competition at Regionals will be about like it was at the conference meet,” Zimmerman. “At that time, we had 10 of the top 15 teams in the state. Now, we take out Edmond North and Mustang, since they are going to the East Regional and add Putnam City West. It will still be a really tough meet.”
Even though Yukon is not ranked, Zimmerman figured they would be put in the West regional.
“There are a lot of good teams on this side of the state, and they needed to send a few of them over to the East,” Zimmerman said. “The way they had us ranked I felt we would probably stay on this side.”
Despite the deepness of the regional, Zimmerman says his Millers can have a solid day.
Led by Avery Stanley, Rena Henson, Kailan Parks and Elora Jones, they have a good chance to advance to the state meet.
“If they run near their PRs (personal records) or better they will have a successful regional meet,” Zimmerman said. “The goal is to make sure we are in the top seven and move on to state as a team.
“I am looking at all of them to have a strong day. They have become better together throughout the year and I am looking for them to continue competing well together as a team.”
For the 11th-ranked Yukon boys, the competition will be just as tough.
No. 1 Deer Creek, No. 3 Edmond Memorial, No. 5 Norman, No. 6 Westmoore and No. 8 Edmond Santa Fe will all be tough challenges for the Millers.
At the conference meet, Yukon coach Matt Parent believed his team had a shot to be sent to the East regional. But it seems the OSSAA didn’t have the same mindset.
Regardless, Parent liked what he saw from his team last time out when they placed seventh at the COAC.
Max Marler, Kyle Crow and Coy Pope led the charge.
“I thought we ran well. We had a little adversity with (Caleb) Ankrom in that he went to San Antonio (that) weekend,” Parent said. “He played (soccer) games every day, and then drove back in late Monday night. So he wasn’t going to be able to perform at his best, but everybody else picked up the slack and we know that Ankrom will be back in his normal position (this) week.
“So right there, basically I’m hoping that you’re looking at another 20, 25 point improvement just off one kid.”
The top seven teams will advance to the 6A-5A State Cross Country Championships, which are scheduled for Nov. 2 in Edmond.