By Corbin Hosler
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Mike Ramsey doesn’t even know who his best runner is.
That’s how balanced the Norman North girls’ cross country squad is this year. Several runners have won races this season, and Ramsey described it as a situation where “whichever girl decides to win today” will.
While the team’s best runner may be an open question, the Timberwolves definitely answered the question of who the best team in the state is after running away with the regional title on Saturday.
North had the top three finishers in Saturday’s race, while also bringing across the race’s seventh and 11th-place finishers in a unchallenged victory.
Belle Wallace led the way, winning with a time of 11:26, while teammates Isabella Rose and Abbey Mace finished second and third with times of 11:31 and 11:32 respectively. With Sheridan Spellman in seventh and Rachel Chrisman in 11th, the T-Wolves finished with a historically low score of 24 points, easily besting second-place Edmond Memorial, which scored 69 points. Norman High, led by Hayley Redwine’s fifth-place result, finished in fourth place.
Ramsey didn’t need many words to describe a team that is a clear favorite to win the state title next week.
“This is just a special group,” he said. “They’re all so good and they push each other. It’s just a great group of girls.”
The regional, run at NHS’ home course, produced much faster times than the other Class 6A regional hosted in Tulsa on Saturday. In that race, Sand Springs’ Cheyenne Walden won with a time of 11:43, a pace that would have been enough for just sixth place in Norman. If those times hold at next week’s state meet at Edmond Santa Fe, the Timberwolves would handily walk away with a title.
But they know they aren’t there yet.
“We have to be careful and be ready,” Mace said. “We know other teams have the same goals we do, and a lot of teams don’t bust out until the state meet.”
On the boys’ side, it was another win for North, as Ben Barrett easily outpaced the competition, winning with a time of 15:53, a full 24 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Chris Ebert of Edmond Memorial. Edmond Memorial won the meet with a score of 44, while North was second with 71 points and NHS came in third with 100 points.
The North girls aren’t the only ones chasing records next week. The NHS boys have placed in the top five of the state meet four years in a row, something no other team has done before, and coach Scott Monnard said his team has what it takes to make it five in a row.
“This is the time of the year that a lot of teams take that next step, and I felt we were one of those today,” he said after the meet. “Our goal is a top-five finish, and if we run a smart race we can do that. We feel good about our chances.”