Norman High and Norman North have long histories of cross country excellence.
Ten years ago, the NHS boys won a state championship. Four years ago, the NHS girls won it all.
Though the North boys have yet to win a state cross country title, the North girls reigned supreme in 2013 and finished second only last year.
This, though, is a bit of a down season for the Tigers and Timberwolves.
The two programs, and four teams, competed in separate Class 6A regionals last Saturday and, for a change, qualified just two of their teams.
Needing to place top seven in their respective races to go to state as a team, the NHS boys made it with a seventh-place finish at Mustang and the North girls made it with a fourth-place finish at Mohawk Park in Tulsa.
The NHS girls came up just short, placing eighth at Mustang, while the North boys placed 10th at Mohawk.
It was the same for Noble, which qualified its girls team, but not its boys in the Class 5A race at Mustang.
Meanwhile, Community Christian is sending both its teams to the state meet, qualifying each in the Class 4A regional that took place in Waurika.
Bearing toward state
If one Transcript area team is in a position to do real damage at the state meet, which arrives Saturday at Edmond Santa Fe, it appears to be the Noble girls, who didn’t just qualify, but edged out Santa Fe South for a second-place finish, behind champion Piedmont, the No. 1 team in the state.
Cross country scoring is determined by the sum of the place-finishes of each squad’s five fastest runners.
Piedmont very nearly finished with a perfect score, its runners finishing first, third, fourth, fifth and seventh; yet because Elgin’s Audrey McElhaney, who finished second, was running unattached without a team, Piedmont’s finishes for scoring purposes were first, second, third, fourth and sixth, adding up to 16, one place short of a perfect 15.
A race for second place, Noble won it with a score of 74, fueled by top-10 finishes from Erika Pena (8th, 22:07.56) and Leah Hickok (10th, 22:23.92), along with Kenzie Heeke (14th, 22:55.63), Autumn Hickok (19th, 23:45.36) and Emma Nabors (23rd, 24:10.78).
Noble entered the regional meet ranked No. 4. Bishop Kelley and Coweta are ranked second and third, behind Piedmont.
Community Christian’s cross country program is thriving.
Saturday will mark the the third straight year the Royals will bring both their teams to the Class 4A state championship race.
A year ago, the CCS boys were state runners-up, while the girls finished fourth.
Saturday, the boys will race coming off a third-place regional finish behind Cache and Byng, the Nos. 3- and 4-ranked teams in the state, while the girls will come off a fifth-place showing behind Byng, Madill, Plainview and Cache.
The CCS boys were led by Carter Craig’s eighth-place finish in 18:10.25, while the CCS girls landed two top-10 finishes, Haley Smith in third place in 12:36.52 and Kendal Gilleland in seventh in 13:15.46.
The CCS boys will enter the state-title race ranked No. 8, while the girls will arrive ranked No. 13.
Ones to watch
The Norman North girls will enter the state meet ranked seventh and the NHS boys 10th.
North’s Kinley Kite, just s sophomore, could be near the front after posting a seventh-place finish (19:20.73) at the regional meet.
Though the NHS boys squeaked into the state meet as a team, two different Tigers will get there off top-10 individual regional finishes: Michael Parker, who placed seventh in 17:16.73 and Phin Bonner, who placed ninth in 17:18.47
Though the NHS girls, North boys and Noble boys did not reach the state meet as a team, all will be represented at Edmond Santa Fe on Saturday.
Qualifying as individuals, Rose Crawford, Charlotte Gentry, Lanie Bundy and Emily Finocchiaro will carry the NHS girls flag.
Jack Lindley will be competing for the North boys and Brayllen Freeman will represent the Noble boys.