By CHRIS EDENS
Oologah’s Tristan Owens ran away from the field for the 4A state cross country championship last Saturday.
The junior redeemed himself after finishing second last year by less than one second on the 5K course atEdmond. This year Owens’ beat the second place finisher by 29 seconds.
“I’ve waited for this for a year and a week. It haunted me being so close last year and I was so happy when I crossed the line,” Owens said. “Last year was the agony of defeat and this year was the thrill of victory.”
Owens took first with a time of 16.20. Zach Black from Sallisaw came in second at 16.49.
The Mustangs finished seventh as a team. Kyle Dunse took fourth with a time of 17.13 and Billy O’Dell finished seventh at 17.18. Cole Reeves and Justin Morgan ran personal best times to secure the team’s top ten finish.
“We barely made it at regionals and then to turn around and place in the top ten at state is impressive,” head coach Kyndall Chronister said. “We told them to go out like it was their last time to run. Two of them beat their own best times and three placed in the top ten. I’m really proud of them as a team.”
Maddie Brooks set a personal best time of 13.25. Brooks finished 37th at state in her first year running cross country.
One of the biggest challenges for Owens at state was not having another runner to push him. He spent most of the race focusing on the ATV that led the runners through the course.
“It was more of a mental challenge,” Owens said. “On the last mile I started thinking about the win and that motivated me to push to the finish.”