By JUSTIN KENNEDY
Tahlequah finished behind Bartlesville, Broken Arrow, Norman and Jenks — twice. And Tahlequah cross country coach Jason Proctor couldn’t have been happier.
The Tahlequah boys cross country team logged a sixth-place finish at the Holland Hall Invitational over the weekend. The Tigers collected 153 points, which was 11 points behind Broken Arrow in fifth place.
“It was a very good test for us,” Proctor said. “We faced some very tough (Class) 6A competition.”
Jenks White won the title with 58 points, and Jenks Maroon was second at 78. Norman North (106) and Bartlesville (126) rounded out the top four.
“We walk away with a clearer understanding of where we are entering the midpoint of our season,” Proctor said. “With are satisfied with (Saturday’s) results, yet quick to remember that our focus is still down the road.”
Zech VanFleet led Tahlequah with a fourth-place finish overall. He ran the 5,000-meter race in 16:19.
VanFleet set “a new personal record of 16:19 while establishing himself as not only one of the best runners in 5A but in all of Oklahoma,” Proctor said.
Also for Tahlequah, Mohamed Bassime (17:46) came in 27th, and Aaron Eversole (17:53) logged a 30th-place showing. Braxton Hood (18:22) was 44th and Seth Martin (18:26) was 48th.
“Aaron has been running really well as of late,” Proctor said. “And his senior presence has been very good for our younger team as they train day in and day out.”
On the girls side, Tahlequah finished sixth. Gracie Medellin led the Lady Tigers with a seventh-place showing at 12:33 in the two-mile race. Amy Hembree (10th, 12:47), Lindsey Chaffin (35th, 13:36), Ale Medellin (39th, 13:43) and Madison Reed (56th, 14:14) rounded out Tahlequah’s top five.
Both Tahlequah teams will compete in the Tiger Invitational on Saturday at Tahlequah High School.
Also over the weekend, the Sequoyah girls cross country team won at the OBU Invitational in Shawnee. Kayla Davis came in sixth place overall to lead Sequoyah, finished in a tie for first with Marlow. Kyla Holmes and Taylor Henry were also in the top 10 for Sequoyah.
For the Sequoyah boys, Terrance Nofire finished second overall while the Indians finished fourth as a team.