Several Oklahoma cross country squads will travel to Fayetteville, Ark., on Saturday for the 24th annual Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival.
Among the Oklahoma schools that are entered include Bishop McGuinness, Deer Creek, Edmond Memorial, Edmond Santa Fe, Heritage Hall, Mustang, Santa Fe South and Stillwater.
More than 4,800 runners are expected to compete.
STATE MEET CARRIES PRESSURE
Mustang's girls captured the 6A pre-state meet on Friday at Edmond Santa Fe High School, the site of the state cross country meet on Oct. 27.
However, Mustang coach Mike McGarry said the pre-state meet is not a good indicator of how teams and individuals will run at the state cross country meet.
Runners have so much pressure and so much adrenaline at the state meet that you can't accurately predict how kids will perform, he said.
“The state race is just completely different,” he said. “You never know.”
There are seven girls in Class 6A that have posted times would be good enough to win the individual state championship, he said.
“There is not one clear-cut favorite going into state,” McGarry said.
Spectators at the Chili Pepper Cross Country Festival might do a double take when Heritage Hall runs by.
Among the Lady Chargers' top eight runners are two sets of twins: Liesl and Renie Dolese and Madison and Morgan Garrett.
“I'm getting a little better keeping them all separate,” Heritage Hall coach David Crynes said.
OKLAHOMA MIGHT COPY TEXAS
It is possible Oklahoma might do like Texas where the larger schools run a 5K in girls cross country and the smaller schools keep the shorter distance of two miles, said Ron Etheridge of the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association.
Oklahoma and Texas are the only states were high school girls don't run the 5K, the same distance as the boys, in cross country.
Many of the large school cross country coaches in Oklahoma want to go to the 5K, which is 3.1 miles. The large majority of small school coaches are against it, since more of their student-athletes play multiple sports.
Texas was the last school to change to a 5K for girls and decided on a split between its classes.
Etheridge said that could be the eventual result in Oklahoma as well, especially since the large school and small school cross country state meets are on different courses.
CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS CROWNED
Mustang's girls and Edmond North's boys captured Tuesday's Metro Athletic Conference meet in Bethany.
Defending 6A state champion Emily Helms was the girls' conference champion, nipping teammate Kyra Fuller.
Austin Mayer of Edmond North did the same against his teammate, Blake Crouch, on the boys' side.
In the Mid State Conference meet in Norman on Tuesday, Edmond Memorial's boys and Norman North's girls were the champs.
Alex Shook of Edmond Memorial defeated Norman's McKenzie Wahpepah-Harris by 10 seconds to win the boys' crown. Haley Redwine of Norman won the girls' race.
FRESHMAN PACING TECUMSEH
Tesa Potter of Tecumseh continues an impressive freshman season.
She has won four meets and finished second four times. Her biggest win was last week in the pre-state meet at Oklahoma Baptist University against 4A, 5A and 6A runners.
Shawnee's girls won the team title.