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KHS earns spots at state XC meet

October 23, 2019 - 00:00
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Lady Jackets take runner-up, boys 7th at Class 4A regional Saturday

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    KHS SENIOR runner Ashtin Witt took 12th place in last Saturday’s 4A cross country regional at Enid. She helped the Lady Jackets to a regional runner-up finish and will be a key to the team’s success at this Saturday’s state meet in Shawnee.

Ashtin Witt had never medaled in a regional meet.

Until Saturday, that is.

The Kingfisher High School senior ran to a 12th place finish at the Class 4A girls cross country regional championship held in Enid.

Her placing helped KHS to a runner-up finish at the meet, just three points behind Weatherford, which automatically qualified the Lady Jackets for state.

“I was so proud of how Ashtin got it done for us,” said KHS cross country coach Kerri Lafferty, whose team entered the regional as the defending state champ that’s currently ranked No. 6.

“For Ashtin to get into that top-15 was huge for us to make a move past some teams.”

Witt finished in 13:30.8. Though not a personal record (PR), it was six seconds faster than a year ago.

In fact, most KHS runners were slower than they were a week earlier on the same course.

“The weather was so much different this week,” Lafferty said. “It was much windier, especially the last 300 meter stretch that we had to run straight into the wind.

“Our times were not indicative of how well we ran.”

Though slower than a week ago, Kingfisher’s runners who were a part of the 2018 title team, like Witt, were still faster than a year ago on the same course.

Zoey Evans led Kingfisher once again as the junior was fourth overall in 12:39.2. That’s nine seconds faster than her sophomore campaign.

Katon Lunsford was the exception. She was sixth this year in 13:02.6, but was able to run it in just under 12:59 last season.

“She’s battling some congestion right now,” Lafferty said of the sophomore. “We’re hoping she can get over some of that this week.”

Dani Ramirez finished 34th overall (30th toward the team points total) in 14:35.8 and Allyson Scammahorn was 35th (31st), just one second behind Ramirez.

Weatherford won the meet with 77 points.

As has been the case in most of the Lady Eagles’ meets this season, Kennadi Price, the defending state champ, won the meet and freshman teammate Jordan Hoffman was second.

Kingfisher had 80 points, five fewer than third-place Community Christian.

Weatherford is currently ranked third in 4A, KHS sixth and Community Christian fifth.

“We were able to out-perform a team ranked higher than us and go so close to Weatherford,” Lafferty noted. “That’s why I tell them anything can happen on any given day.”

Lafferty needs only to point to last year’s state meet when KHS surged past top-ranked Plainview to win its first-ever crown.

“Anything can happen at state,” Lafferty said. “Anything. You just never know how anything is going to play out on that day.”

The state meet is Saturday at Gordon Cooper Technology Center in Shawnee.

Kingfisher’s boys will be there once again.

The top-seven teams from each regional automatically qualify for state.

KHS was seventh Saturday.

The Jackets scored 170 points, easily out-distancing eighth-place Mann-ford’s 258.

Jon Henry was 10th individually in 17:36.6 on the 5K course.

“He closed really strong and even beat some Weatherford kids he hadn’t beaten this year,” Lafferty said.

Weatherford also won the boys regional title with 64 points, two fewer than Community Christian.

KHS also got a 19th place finish from Jayden Newkirk and 29th from Joel Munoz.

“I was just extremely proud of how well they all ran,” Lafferty said. “I’m so excited for them to get to go back to state this year.

“They’ve worked really hard for it.”