The Grove Cross Country team sent two athletes to State this season, junior Rory Geer represented the Lady Red, while freshman Jackson Kernan ran for the Ridgerunners.
Geer, who had been averaging around a 21:56.84 time for the 5K race, would run a 22:34.91 to finish in 36th overall. Besting the field was Bishop Kelley's Ella Eureste a sophomore who clocked a 19:15.66 time. Claremore's Laynie Nichols finished her senior year in second with a time of 19:25.25. Bishop Kelley would also claim third place, junior Abigail Hills finished in 19:33.27.
"Rory had a rough start. She forgot her bib number," said Grove Head Cross Country Coach Warren Brumley.
Geer was in the groove and stretching when she was greeted by family at the race. When Geer went to line up for the race, she removed her pullover to find that she didn't have her bib on and was therefore not eligible to race. Geer sprinted 200 yards to retrieve her bib and then back to the starting line. Moments after her return, the race started.
"Her adrenaline was pumping. She came by me at the 150-200 meter mark and she was winning the race. Rory doesn't run well from the front," said Brumley.
Geer continued the race and was met with exhaustion.
"She had nothing at the end. She was in fifteenth at the mile point," said Brumley. "That adrenaline kicked in and she just didn't have anything left to finish with... It was one of those things that cost you."
Brumley said that the weight room has made a difference in Geer's performance.
"She's strong this year," said Brumley. "She had been running better."
Brumley expects leadership from Geer next season, as more female athletes come out for the team.
"It'll be her senior year, it's time for her to step up," said Brumley.
On average, Kernan has been clocking in at 18:11.40. But at State, Kernan finished the 5K at 17:42.07 making him the third fastest freshman and finishing in 42nd overall. Winning the meet was Santa Fe South's senior Christian Arenivar, who ran a 15:45.04. Guymon's Dereje Himbago, a junior, finished at 16:09.08 to place second and in third was Trevor Sallee, a senior from Guthrie, with a time of 16:29.29.
"Jackson ran a really good race. As good as he could have," said Brumley. "The second freshman got him in the last five minutes. A lot could change for [Kernan] next year."
Keenan's solid performance is what was expected of him during the race, as both he and the winner, Arenivar, ran very similar times to what they had run on the course a month prior.
"It was extremely hot, but Jackson ran about the same, maybe 5-10 seconds off, but that's okay because the kid that won it ran about the same, " said Brumley.
More athletes are expected to be moving up from the middle school boys teams to the high school team.
"If they'll come out, team-wise, the boys team next year, will be better. But in the next two to three years, we could be pretty good," said Brumley. "I think the improvement is there. The nucleus is there. I'm expecting big things in the next two to three years."