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Yukon girls advance to cross country state

Yukon’s girls cross country team placed fifth out of 12 teams at the regional cross country meet, automatically qualifying it for a spot in this weekend’s 6A State Championships. Photo / Michael Kinney

NORMAN — Heading into the regional cross-country meet, Yukon knew the conditions weren’t going to be nice. After several days of constant rain, the ground at Irving Middle School was not going to make it easy on the runners.
However, this was also something that wasn’t new to the Millerettes.
Earlier in the season, they had faced similar conditions on a road trip to Tulsa for the Owasso Invitational. According to Yukon girls coach Rodney Zimmerman, that was a factor in how the Millers performed Saturday morning.
“I think it does help. That meet, and then even with these freshman girls that joined us last year when we went to that Guthrie meet where it rained so much, they went there and they ran after our varsity. So, they’ve gotten to experience some sloppy courses a couple of times the last few years,” Zimmerman said.
“I think those two things do help you when you get in a situation where you’ve got to go run well to qualify for a state meet.”
Facing a deep field, the Yukon girls placed fifth out of 12 teams. That automatically qualified them for a spot in this weekend’s 6A State Championships.
“We did pretty good. It’s tough conditions with all the rain we got the last couple of days,” Zimmerman said. “They ran through some puddles and some muck, which we warned them was going to happen, but overall I think they handled it pretty well.”
The Deer Creek girls won the regional title with 85 points. Moore (100), Norman (101) and Edmond Memorial (113) were right behind the Antlers.
Yukon’s 124 points was six more than Putnam City West, which took sixth-place. Edmond Santa Fe came in seventh.
The top seven teams advanced to state.
“Obviously with this group that was one of our main focuses throughout the year,” Zimmerman said. “As coaches, we know this group’s coming in, we’re getting them together so we know we’re capable of doing this. It’s just getting them that experience, have them buy into the fact that they can accomplish those things, run together and do well, and then go out and do it.
“Load off our shoulders when we can see those results posted and we’re there,” he said.
Westmoore’s Annabel White claimed the individual title. She finished the 5k course in 20:24.
Avery Stanley paced the Millers with a fourth-place finish. Her time of 20:37 was two seconds ahead of fifth-place Ginger Pierce of Westmoore.
Elora Jones ran a 21:39, which was good enough for 21st overall. Kailan Parks, Rena Henson and Harper Barlow all finished inside the top 45 as well.
“In this regional with it being so tight, we could have easily had a team go from second to ninth in this deal,” Zimmerman said. “The point spread there was not real great. It’s pretty tough. I think we’re 24 points out of second place and finished fifth. Pretty tough place, so to come in and finish fifth is huge.”
The Millers are expecting another tough field at the state meet.
“You’ve got to really make sure here this next week, that they’re taking care of themselves,” Zimmerman said. “Hopefully we can get a couple of good days of practice in Monday and Tuesday. Then we’re going to, it looks like weather-wise, be in the situation where this week back off. They’ll already have gone through that. They just need to come mentally prepared and ready to go out and run.”
The 2019 Class 5A-6A Cross Country State Championship set for Saturday at Edmond Santa Fe High School. The 6A girls will kick off at 10 a.m. with the boys hitting the course at 10:45 a.m.

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