By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Enid cross country coach Joe Miranov’s observations haven’t changed much in his 20-plus years on the job.
“At Enid, we always seem to need that No. 5 girl ... someone who can kick it in,’’ said Miranov about the EHS girls team which returns three starters and has added tennis standout Gabrielle Dick to its ranks.
As the Pacers and Plainsmen prepare to open the season with their own invitational meet today at Crosslin Park, Miranov has no idea who that No. 5 girl might be.
“It could be anyone on the team right now,’’ Miranov said. “I can’t say one person is better than anyone else. It will be interesting to see who steps it up in the meet Thursday.’’
One problem is some of those candidates didn’t come out until the first day of school Tuesday. Miranov said it might be until the end of the season until those runners are in cross country shape. The rest of the team has been working for six weeks.
Miranov was happy to welcome Dick, who was second in No. 2 singles at the 6A state tennis tournament.
“She’s running up there with the other three (Tyler Berge, Arely Ramirez and Abby Resendiz),’’ Miranov said. “The neat thing about her is her great attitude. That comes from being a great competitor.’’
Berge, Ramirez and Resendiz all worked hard in the off-season.
Resendiz was 15th at regionals and 63rd at state last year. Berge was 29th and 83rd. Ramirez was 68th and 111th.
“They all know what it takes to get to state,’’ Miranov said. “Maybe they can push the other girls out.’’
With the questions about the No. 5 runner (top five scores count toward team title), Miranov said it would “be a hard climb’’ to qualify for state.
“We want them not only to be recreational runners, but competitive runners,’’ Miranov said. “We have a long season to do that.’’
Rounding out the team are senior Courtney Anderson, sophomore Morgan Cline, sophomore Irene De la Torre, senior Kirstyn Mazza, sophomore Cristal Rangel, senior Ellanah Schneider, senior Guadalupe Vega and sophomore Morgan Voelzke.
Miranov hopes to be in the top five at his own meet, which includes teams from Hennessey, Stillwater, Ponca City, Sand Springs, Woodward, Perry, Thomas and Kremlin-Hillsdale.
The girls will be running one mile instead of the usual two miles.
Wallace, Lack lead boys
The boys have been led by sophomores Garrett Wallace and Gavin Lack. Wallace saw some varsity time last year.
“They have been putting in the mileage, 40 or 50 miles a week,’’ Miranov said. “That’s a big plus for us.’’
Junior Nate House and sophomore Jake Taylor, who were regulars on last year’s team which failed to qualify for state, are running 3-4. They are behind Wallace and Lack because they have been training “only sporadically.’’
Freshman Ethan Atwood has shown promise.
“That’s our top five right there,’’ Miranov said. “We have to see what happens on Thursday.’’
Miranov hopes Wallace and Lack can run in the 11:30 range for two miles Thursday. The normal boys race is 5K (3.1 miles).
The Plainsmen, to qualify for state, will need to find four to six runners who can run consistently in the 18:00s over the 5K course.
“That’s not out of the question,’’ Miranov said. “But they have to start putting in more effort in practice to do that.’’
Like the girls, some of the boys runners didn’t report until Tuesday.
Rounding out the boys team are Landon Fenley, Troy Gray, Caleb Long, Suzuki Matthew, Adam Ross, Nathen Sargent, Chandler Stanley and Adam Tobar.
Miranov said the course is in good shape, except for being “soggy in three places.’’
“Racing in hot weather could take its toll,’’ Miranov said. “For some of those kids, if they can finish, we’re going to say ‘good job.’’’