…Eagle Runners Few in Number for 2021

A good returning nucleus of runners for the Waurika girls’ cross country squad has head coach Joe Masoner optimistic about another successful season.

The Waurika boys and girls cross country squads will open the season Saturday at the Duncan Invitational.

Last season the Lady Eagles finished sixth in the Class 2A state meet and were third in the regional hosted by Waurika.

As a team the Lady Eagles never finished lower than fifth during the regular season.

The Lady Eagles are the defending team champs at the Healdton meet and had runner up finishes at Velma-Alma, Walters and Geronimo a year ago.

Coach Masoner welcomes five of the runners that were part of the 2020 squad to the 2021 edition of the Lady Eagle cross country squad.

One of those five will not be able to run this year, but the other four returnees – Tallin Mora, Aubree Showalter, Jaci Gholson and Liberti Simmons – will be counted on to carry the squad during the season.

Mora, a senior for the Lady Eagles, was one of the ringleaders a year ago with six top-ten finishes during the season. She was fourth at the regional and finished 23rd at the state meet.

Showalter, a sophomore, had a top-10 finish at the Healdton meet for the Lady Eagles.

“Those four will be learned on hard to set the pace for us,” said Masoner about the 2021 edition of the Lady Eagles.

The fifth runner for the Lady Eagles will likely be Jaden Adams who is running cross country for the first time this fall.

Masoner will be counting on a pair of freshmen to help push the top five runners.

Sadie Smith and Destiny Foster, who have plenty of experience at the junior high level, will be competing for the varsity in their freshman season.

Coach Masoner has some lofty hopes for the team that graduated six members of the 2020 team.

“I feel we should be one of the top teams in the state by the end of the season,” said Masoner about his expectations for the coming year.

With a mixture of youth and experience, those expectations are certainly reachable for the Lady Eagles this year.

For the first time in a while the Waurika boys will not be able to have enough runners to be entered in the team competition.

Waurika had four seniors on last year’s squad and three other members of the 2020 team chose not to run cross country this fall.

Trent Arellano, a junior, and Alex Gomez, a sophomore, are the only two Eagles out for cross country they year.

“Alex has been working hard all summer,” said Masoner. “Both of them will have a chance to qualify as individual for the state meet.”

Despite being a freshman last year, Gomez had one top-10 finish at the Healdton meet. He was 30th in regional competition for Waurika.

Arellano has been running cross country the past two seasons for Waurika.