All through the regular season – including the regional cross country meet – the Waurika girls’ cross country squad has been on the cusp of accomplishing great things.
And, all the hard work and competition of the 2019 season paid off last Saturday at the Class 2A State Cross Country Meet held at the Gordon Cooper Technology Center in Shawnee.
The Lady Eagles, who finished behind Ryan and Merritt at the regional on Waurika’s home course, outdistanced those two teams in the state meet to earn fifth place – the highest finish ever for a Waurika cross country squad at state.
Watonga claimed the team title over Hooker by one point. Watonga finished with 52 points, while the Lady Bulldogs had 53. Cherokee was fourth with 119 points and Boise City was fourth with 134 points. Waurika claimed fifth place with 175 points.
“I was very proud of the high school girls this year,” said long-time cross country coach Joe Masoner. “They started working towards state in June in the weight room.”
The course was a difficult one last Saturday as the recent rains produced a somewhat muddy path for the competitors in the crowded Class 2A field which featured 154 runners.
Asia Smith led the way for the Lady Eagles earning 21st place with a time of 13:43.06 – her second best time of the season. Smith was a late addition to the Lady Eagles’ squad and she really made a difference for the Lady Eagles in the last part of the season.
Tallin Mora finished 34th with a time of 13:52.10 – also her second best time of the season.
Liberti Simmons, just a freshman for the Lady Eagles, earned 35th in her first appearance in the state meet with a time of 13:52.47 – her second best clocking of the season.
Lexie Streeter was 53rd for the Lady Eagles. She turned in a time of 14:08.62.
Rounding out the team scorers for the Lady Eagles was Faith Roberson. She finished 92nd in the race and turned in a season-best time of 15:07.12.
Also representing Waurika at the state competition was Hope Cummings. She finished 132nd with a time of 16:46.04 – also her best time of the season over a 3,200-meter course.
Kaci Reynolds finished not far behind Cummings in 140th place with a time of 17:33.54.
The fifth-place finish for the Lady Eagles was the highest team finish at the state meet in school history.
The Lady Eagles have qualified for the state cross country meet the past three seasons and have improved each year. In 2017, Waurika finished 14th and in 2018 the Lady Eagles were ninth.
Waurika also qualified for state in 2014 and 2013.
“These girls ran hard in practice and in meets,” said Masoner commenting on the 2019 season. “I was hoping for a regional title this year, but they gave themselves a chance.”
“The one thing about this group of ladies is they were determined to do better at state which they did by finishing fifth overall and beating the two teams that beat them at regionals,” added Masoner.
“I am super excited about next year getting everyone back next year except for Sara (Ballard),” noted Masoner. “We will add five girls moving up from the junior high team that will make us better.”
While the boys’ squad failed to qualify for the state meet, they claimed one meet title and performed well against some tough competition throughout the year.
“I am also proud of the boys’ team although we didn’t qualify for state,” said Masoner about the Eagles’ 2019 season. “The boys never seemed to get over the hump where their times started to go down.”
“They worked hard and ran close to each other which needs to be done to score well but only was able to do that in the front half of the pack in a couple of meets,” Masoner noted.
“It hurt not having Bryson (Hernandez) this year since he has been one of the team leaders the previous three years,” said Masoner. “We are losing half our team to graduation, but we will get some help from the junior high team.”
With the accomplishments of both teams this year, the Lady Eagles and Eagles have a lot to look forward to next fall for the 2020 cross country season.