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Tahlequah Girls Cross Country Preview – Presented by the Craft Addict

By Nick Hampton 

The last couple of seasons have been a roller coaster ride for Tahlequah girls’ cross country coach Elzy Miller who acknowledges that graduation cost them a quality runner with the loss of All-Stater Lily Couch and 2022 will be a bit of restructuring year.

“Our leader this year will be senior McKenna Hood. She was an All Stater as a member of our state championship Class 5A two-mile relay team in 2021 and was a member of our academic state championship cross country team which had a 4.0 GPA. She has a conference cross country championship to her credit as well and is a recipient of the Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership award,” said Miller. “Outside of running and academics, McKenna was also an All-State pick by the state choir directors’ association (OKCDA).”

In addition to Hood, the Lady Tigers will also welcome back junior Tori Pham who Miller says had a great summer and will fill the number two slot on the team this year. There is also a group of seniors who are four-year members of the team that will give Tahlequah some depth in Emma Maxwell, Salendia Melo, and Kristin Campbell.

The Lady Tigers will take part in several meets leading up to the Metro Lakes Conference meet October 11 followed by regionals and the state cross country meet October 29.

The Tigers will return to Class 5A this season after some Covid-related enrollment numbers in bigger schools forced them to run in Class 6A last year which was a whole new world for Miller and his team.

“The biggest difference is in numbers,” said Miller. “The big schools like Jenks and Broken Arrow may have 60-80 girls on their roster. We have run maybe 30 on our roster at our peak so it just gives them a lot more depth in addition to the many summertime running programs that are available in the metro areas.”

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