By Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
Cheyenne Walden continues to impress, leaving competition in the dust everywhere she goes. She just set a new season-best two races ago at Fayetteville, then beat it by more than 23 seconds Saturday morning in Owasso. Walden not only took first, but did so with a substantial 36 second lead on her closest competitor, Rilee Rigdon of Bartlesville. This is Walden's third Regional title. Last week she claimed her third Conference title, and she's also a two-time State Champion and is the clear favorite to win it again.
Five other Lady Sandites also set season-best times at Regionals. Alexis Davis improved by 8 seconds, Nia Byrd improved by 1:16, Elizabeth Watts improved by a minute, Julia Lewis improved by 1:04, and Madelynn Adams improved by 1:26.
Overall the Lady Sandites took 8th place of 14 teams. Bartlesville claimed the Regional team title with 3 top 5 finishers.
Freshman Aden Baughman led the boys team for the third time this season with a 42nd place finish and a season-best time of 17:06.52--a 1 minute improvement over his previous season-best set at the Frontier Valley Conference 5K.
Four other boys set season-best times. Jacob Garbey improved on his best time by 54 seconds. Austin McCaskey improved by 8 seconds, Brayden Hardesty improved by 23 seconds, and Brendan Williams improved by 39 seconds.
Overall, the boys took 10th of 16 teams. Jenks took the Regional team title with 2 top 4 finishers. Ethan Beyer of Norman North narrowly claimed first place with a time of 15:24.45, barely a second ahead of Jenks's Matt Young.
Both teams fell short of qualifying for state as a whole, but Walden, Davis, Byrd, and Baughman will each travel to the State Championships as individuals.
Last year Walden won her second consecutive state title with a 17:56.3 time and a 15.4 second lead on fellow Sandite Morgan Long. Davis took 21st place with a 19:53.6 finish. Byrd took 91st with a 22:22.8 finish.
Baughman is a Freshman so this will be his first appearance at the State Championship. He is the first male qualifier from Sand Springs since Andrew Coleman took 55th in 2012.