Westmoore nets runner-up trifecta at 6A state meet
With the other favorites all falling back, Taylor Painter was at her best.
Illness made it impossible for Toby Bothwell to be his best, but he was still ever so close to being the state’s best.
As it was, the Westmoore teammates each garnered second-place finishes at the Class 6A cross country state meet at Mitch Park. And each felt a lot different about their runner-up status.
“I’m very thankful I came in second,” said Painter. “Last year I didn’t think this was possible. I feel like I am at my peak and I felt good running today. I think I hit the nail on the head.”
Though one of the top runners in 6A all season, Painter (nor champion Jacquelynn Skocik of Jenks) were expected to do this well at state. Norman’s Megan Johnson and Tulsa Union’s Sarah Daggett have been the state’s best performers all season and were clear favorites. Add to that mix Jenks’ Paige Barnes, last year’s 6A state champ.
But Barnes slipped to third, even with a great two-mile time of 12:03, because Skocik (11:49) and Painter (11:54) went under the 12-minute mark. Daggett fell to sixth, in 12:07. And a flu-ridden Johnson, who had posted sub-12-minute marks in all but two races, finished 35th in 13:04, more than a minute and 10 seconds slower than her usual times.
Painter got stronger rather than fading, posting her second-best time of the season. And Skocik had her best performance of her career.
Meanwhile, like Norman’s Johnson, Bothwell had the misfortune of getting the flu a week before the biggest race of his senior season. Nevertheless, having entered the race as the co-favorite with Ponca City’s Victor Others (the two split in head-to-head meetings this season), Bothwell nearly gutted out a state crown.
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