Special to The Sun
Deer Creek’s state champion distance ace Bryce Balenseifen didn’t just win the Oklahoma Track Coaches Association Meet of Champions at Edmond Santa Fe on Nov. 9, he blew away any challengers.
The top 10 winners in each of the five classes at the State Cross Country Championships qualified for the Meet of Champions with 47 girls participating and 52 boys. All competitors received plaques and also t-shirts in addition to being provided competition jerseys.
In addition, the top 25 finishers in each race received medals and will represented Oklahoma in the annual Oklahoma/Arkansas Dual Nov. 16 in Rogers, Ark.
Balenseifen, fresh from his state championship run in the Class 5A competition, broke out of the gate quickly, as usual, and then ran away from his challengers, finishing the 5K course in a splendid time of 15:47.05, well ahead of Jenks’ Cody Jones, who was second in 16:04.38.
Blake Crouch of Edmond North was 16th with a time of 16:47.97 and Balenseifen’s teammate from Deer Creek grabbed the final qualifying spot. Both are eligible to represent Oklahoma in the dual against Arkansas.
Other area participants who received plaques include Austin Roberts of Oklahoma Christian and the Edmond Memorial duo of Gabe Thompson and Harrison Pierce.
In the girls division, Jaci Smith of Edmond North was the top local finisher as she grabbed the fifth-place medal with a time 11:49.13. She was joined on the Oklahoma squad for the Arkansas trip by Deer Creek’s Sheri Snyder, who was 19th with a time of 12:33.48 for the 3200 meter run and Brianne Kirchgessner, also of Deer Creek, who finished in 12:36.41, good for 23rd.
Other state qualifiers from Memorial, North, Santa Fe and Deer Creek elected not to participate.