YUKON — As he watched the runner in front of him stumble, then fall to the track, Deer Creek freshman Kyle Sander focused on getting to the line to hand off the baton to the team's anchor leg, Bryce Balenseifen, on the 3,200-meter relay.
But as Sander passed Tahlequah's tumbling runner, his foot clipped Sander's leg and knocked him to the ground as well.
Sander rolled, but bounced back up to make the handoff to Balenseifen, who finished off the Antlers' gold medal run at the Class 5A state track meet Friday at Yukon High School.
“I was just trying to get it to Bryce and let him take over,” said Sander, who followed Drake DiAngelo and Devin Turner in the relay. “I saw (the Tahlequah runner) struggling, so I sped up and tried to get past him. His foot came out and got my left foot, and I went straight down.”
Sander recovered and Deer Creek won by eight seconds, while Tahlequah, one of the favorites in the race, came in sixth.
The 20 points for winning the relay gave Deer Creek a boost in the team scoring as it hopes to defend its state title on Saturday. With 52 points on the first day, the Antlers hold a 19-point lead over second-place Duncan.