Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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Jake Thomas (Left) and Alex Varner (Right) will compete Saturday at the Class 4A state cross country meet in Edmond. (Provided photos)
By Jeff Harrison
Managing Editor

It’s been a long time since a local runner competed in the state cross country meet. This year, two runners will be there.

Tuttle’s Jake Thomas and Bridge Creek’s Alex Varner both qualified for state as individuals Saturday during the Class 4A West regional meet in Norman.

The 4A-6A regional meet was held at Irving Middle School in Norman. The top seven teams and the top seven individuals not on a qualifying team qualified for the State Meet.  

Thomas placed 12th overall with a time of 17:55. He was the third individual qualifier, finishing behind Madill’s Jose Delacruz, the regional champion, and Chase Busick of Harding Charter Prep. The sophomore is Tuttle’s first state qualifier since 2008.

“I just really wanted to make state so I just ran as hard as I could,” Thomas said. “I knew I was towards the front of the pack during the race, but I did not realize I was 12th. My whole family was there supporting me and it just felt so great to make it.”

Varner was the fifth individual qualifier. The sophomore finished in 18th place with a time of 18:07. He is believed to be one of the school’s first state qualifiers.

Both runners are newcomers to cross country. Varner took up the sport as a way to stay in shape for track. Thomas did the same for baseball.

Varner is thrilled with his success this season, but says he has a lot to learn.

“I’m completely new to distance running so I’ve just been going out there and trying to do my best,” Varner said. “My confidence is growing but it’s by no means huge.”

The Tuttle boys placed 13th overall at the regional meet. Jake Hardin was the next runner in for the Tigers, placing 80th with a time of 20:34. Seth Shelton (21:44), Lane Turner (24:56) and Shelton Legg (24:56) rounded out the team scoring.

Plainview won the boys team title with 69 points. Anadarko was next with 81 points.
The Lady Tigers had two runners compete at the regional meet. Miranda Stonebraker placed 62nd with a time of 15:03. Alexi Welsh finished 74th in 15:29.

Bridge Creek’s Casey Tripp also competed in the 4A boys regional. The freshman placed 42nd with a time of 18:57. He was the 12th individual, not on a qualifying team, so he did not make the state meet.
Kara Book was unable to attend.

The Plainview girls claimed the team and individual regional titles. Darian Barnes won the race with a time of 11:58. The Indians won the team title with 26 points, finishing well ahead of second-place Weatherford with 123.

The 4A-6A state cross country meet is Saturday at Edmond Santa Fe High School. The meet begins at 10 a.m. with the 6A girls’ race. The 4A boys race will be 12:45 p.m.

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