MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Prep Sports

October 25, 2013

Cross country: Warner girl wants a team celebration

Ask Warner’s Kailey Kilpatrick what thrilled her most about last week’s Class 2A cross country regional and she has a dual answer.

“It was good to win the regional as an individual,” the freshman said. “But it was also good to win it as a team.”

The Lady Eagles head into Saturday’s state meet at the Gordon Cooper Technology Center in Shawnee as one of the favorites to win the state championship. Warner finished 10th at last year’s meet and have had one goal in mind for this year.

“We went to state last year, but we’ve never been this competitive,” Kilpatrick said. “This year we are hoping to win state but last year we were hoping to place.”

While the team was confident about its chances advancing to state, there was the thought about being regional champs that drove the Lady Eagles.

“You always go into the regional hoping you have a great shot at winning,” said Warner coach Mindi Peters. “I don’t know that we every expect everything. But the girls have been running really extremely well and we knew that if we went out we did what we’re capable of doing, we would win.”

And it’s that belief that Peters said has driven the girls to improve on their times throughout the year and to not lose sight of what’s at stake.

In a typical cross country meet, the winning team will have three runners place in the top 10, one between 10-and 20 and the fifth somewhere outside the top 20. On Saturday, all five Lady Eagles placed within the top 18.

“That’s a big deal,” Peters said. “That was very exciting.  The girls have worked extremely hard and have continued to improve their times.”

With all the runners starting at once, Kilpatrick knew not to go out too fast. She kept her focus on the course and it wasn’t until late in the race that she was aware the individual title was hers.

“I didn’t know until the end,” Kilpatrick said. “I just kept running until I crossed the line and didn’t worry about who was behind me just to get my time down.”

On Saturday, Kilpatrick’s goals are the same as they were for the regional.

“I’m hoping we win as a team,” she said. “But I’m also hoping to win as an individual but most important, winning as a team.”

Three of Kilpatrick’s teammates cracked the top 10 and had five in the top 18. Becky Kauffman was seventh in 13:32 and Britney Hammans was eighth in 13:46. Jessica Kauffman took 14th in 14:06, Ally Davis 17th in 14:16 and Lessley Davis 18th in 14:20. Baylie Short was 26th in 15:03.

The 2A girls lead things off at 10 a.m. with the 2A boys at 10:45 a.m., the 3A girls at noon and the 3A boys at 12:45 p.m.

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