By Evan Grice
As the Piedmont cross country teams prepare for the regional meet this weekend at Norman High School, they are facing a good news-bad news situation.
On the one hand, all of the runners, both male and female, have experience running the course which they did earlier this season at the OK Runner Classic.
However, the Lady Wildcats could find themselves down two members this weekend as they face an uphill climb to qualify for the state meet as a team.
“Right now our girls team is running great in my opinion,” Piedmont coach Todd Johnson said. “But, we could be without both Kasey Rein and Kylie Burris this weekend, which would make it impossible for our girls to qualify as a team. It’s hard enough to earn a place in the individual spots. We’re praying that Kylie can balance her schedule with band on Saturday and be able to run with us.”
“If we have at least five or more girls running, then we can qualify as a team.”
It’s a much different story on the boy’s side as the Wildcats are brimming with confidence both as a team and individually following their second place at the Suburban Conference meet last week.
“I really like our boy’s chances at regionals,” Johnson said. “They’ve constantly been improving and chasing down their goals this season. A lot of them had a personal best time at the conference meet, so they are going into this weekend with a lot of confidence.”
Having already run one race at the Norman High course, Johnson said that it helps his runners know what to expect and not be taken by surprise by anything unusual.
“Everyone on our team knows the course is a flat, fast course,” he said about the terrain. “We usually run better later in the year at this course than we do at the first of the year. Having the familiarity with the course really cuts down on the uncertainty which can happen at a course the kids aren’t as familiar with.”
Johnson added while his squad is well aware that Deer Creek are the heavy favorites in the team competition, he wants them to worry about themselves instead of everyone else in front or behind them.
“Deer Creek is the team to beat, and we know that,” he said. “We can’t just focus on beating individual runners, we have to focus on beating other teams. It’s the same in each division. If we focus on running together and running our best times, then everything will work itself out in the end.”
Among the other teams Piedmont will be going up against are Duncan, Altus, Carl Albert, Chickasha, Shawnee, El Reno, Western Heights and many others who will be looking to earn a berth into the state meet for Class 5A.
The girls will run at 2 p.m. on Saturday while the boys are set to start at 2:45 p.m.
Should the Wildcats and Lady Wildcats qualify for the state meet, it will take place next weekend at Edmond Santa Fe High School.