The Gore and Central high school cross country runners will try to earn state berths as individuals at Saturday’s Class 2A Regional Meet, which will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday in Henryetta.
Gore’s Hallie Kinion will be one of the favorites to not only qualify for state, but come home as a regional champion.
“That’s the goal,” Gore coach T.W. Estes said. “She’s been training really hard. We kind of expect with the three (regional) meets, where they’re at (Henryetta, Waurika and Enid’s Oklahoma Bible Academy) and who’d she be running against that she has a pretty good shot at it — as good a shot as you could ask for. She’s been running well, and she’ll have to run well — and she needs to.”
Two other Lady Pirates will be running the two-mile course with Kinion — Amelia White and Gracie Bruce.
“This is her first year running cross country,” Estes said of White. “She actually just started running track with us last year — and loved it. She’s a good runner. She was on our 800-meter relay team that qualified for state. Hallie kind of talked her into it (running this fall for cross country). She’s really enjoyed it and liked it. She’s getting better every week, but she’s just young at it and new to it. The opportunity is there.”
For Bruce, she’s just enjoying running — period.
“She runs at all our meets,” Estes said of Bruce. “She’s just out there because she enjoys it, and the opportunity is there.”
As for the Central Lady Tigers, the good news is they will have five runners — Alyvia Warner, Paris Campbell, Ryleigh Pierce, Rileigh Ford and Camryn Gilliam.
“I’m pretty confident in where they’ll be for Saturday,” Central coach Courtney Bair said. “They’re really putting in the extra training these last couple of weeks. I feel like my girls are ready.”
The bad news is that this year, the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association made a change to where instead of the customary five runners minimum is needed for competing for team titles, now a seven-member team is the minimum — which means all five Central Lady Tigers runners will be trying to make state as individuals.
“As a team, I don’t have enough to qualify as a team,” Bair said. “They have made it now to where it has to be seven (runners) to actually qualify as a team. It’s always been five. We possibly could have qualified (as a team with five runners). So, individually, I’m looking at possibly a few having a chance to make it to state.”
The Lady Tigers have not ran competitively since Oct. 3 at the Checotah Crossroads Meet, but Bair believes the two-week break between that race and Saturday’s regional meet will end up being beneficial.
“As a group, our practices have been very competitive, as far as the girls competing with each other,” she said. “I even had a junior high girl who is a very good runner, and she’s been coming and practicing with us even my top runner. So, it’s been competitive practices.”