NORMAN — While much of the attention at Saturday’s state cross country meet will be focused on the Norman North girls, who are the favorites to win the team title, they aren’t the only ones aiming for a big finish.
North’s Ben Barrett may make it a clean sweep for the Timberwolves. Barrett won the regional meet going away, and has emerged in his junior year as one of the most dominant runners in the state.
“He’s going to be one of the best runners to ever come out of this state by the time he’s done,” coach Mike Ramsey. “He’s got what it takes to win the next two years.”
It’s been a meteoric rise for Barrett, who said it wasn’t until the beginning of his sophomore season he realized how good he could be.
“It took me a while to be competitive, but then I realized if I worked hard I could be good at this,” he said. “Now, I’d like to win.”
It’s an achievable goal for Barrett, who finished 13th a season ago even while struggling through injuries. Now that he’s accomplished his first goal of making it through the season healthy, the only thing that remains is chasing the title.
NHS seeks fifth straight top-five: Norman High’s cross country teams may not be running for a state title, but they are chasing history. The Tigers are the only team to place in the top five of the state meet four years in a row, and will try to make it five years running on Saturday.
After an encouraging performance at the regional meet, coach Scott Monnard said it’s a goal he believes the Tigers can meet.
“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.”