YUKON — Deer Creek’s time as a Class 5A school might be limited, but the Antler track teams are going out strong.
The fast-growing community on the west side of Edmond could be destined for 6A as soon as next year. But that’s in the future.
Deer Creek has now produced five Class 5A track and field championships in the last three years, with the boys team winning its third straight and the girls team winning its second in a row Saturday at Yukon High School.
“It’s kind of hard to believe,” Deer Creek boys coach David Riden said. “We have kids who are hungry and ready to step in. Our seniors and juniors and the ones who graduate do a good job of setting the bar and preparing them.”
And both teams had their championships sealed up before the start of the 1,600-meter relay, the event’s final race.
The Deer Creek girls used their depth and individual successes to score 110 points, with Shawnee coming in second at 59.
Deer Creek’s Jade Orange won the 100 meters in 12.22 seconds, and Sheridan Snyder won the 800 in 2:22.92. Those were the Antlers’ only gold medals the entire weekend, yet they seemed to be scoring in virtually every event, especially the relays.
“I know a lot of people didn’t think we’d be able to pull it off, but we did,” senior Lillie Martin said. “It’s an underdog type thing, but we like it like that.
“I couldn’t have asked for any better way to end my senior year. It’s amazing.”
The Deer Creek boys benefitted from a couple of relay victories. The 400 relay team of Kiwanis Roberts, Landon Huslig, Jackson Smith and Caden Sander won in 42.90. Sander and his brother, Kyle Sander, along with Huslig and Jackson Smith won the 1,600 at 3:21.99.
Individually, Bryce Balenseifen ended up with three individual gold medals. He won the 3,200 on Friday, then added gold in the 800 meters (1:52.98) and the 1,600 meters (4:19.77). The 1,600 mark was a 5A state meet record, breaking the previous time of 4:19.94, which stood for 21 years.
And Huslig rebounded from a disqualification in the 110-meter hurdles — an event he would have easily won — to win the 300 hurdles in 37.76.
And he helped close out the day with the win in the 1,600 relay to give Deer Creek 118 points, with Duncan second at 60.
“It was super-disappointing in the 110s, but I knocked the hurdle into his lane, and the rules are very clear,” Huslig said. “But Caden Sander came up to me after that and told me that the thing that sharpens champions is adversity. My whole team lifted me up, and I couldn’t let this all fall apart because of me.
“It was just awesome, just a great way to finish out my high school track career.”