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Edmond North's Liesel Kehoe takes a different route in claiming Class 6A cross country gold

Owasso captures 6A girls team championship; Piedmont brings it home in 5A

By Michael Kinney

EDMOND - For most cross country athletes, it takes an entire season to prepare them to compete for a state title. 

Starting in August, they battle and compete just to build their bodies and endurance up to compete on the largest stage.

However, Liesel Kehoe decided to take a different route. In only her third meet of the season, the Edmond North sophomore won the 6A girls state cross country championship Saturday at Edmond Santa Fe.

“This is only my third meet, so it's been a little bit shorter than usual,” Kehoe said with a laugh. “But I've had fun for the short amount of time that I've gotten to run and I'm really happy that I'm back to being like healthy and like, kind of right back where I am.”

Kehoe ran the 5K course in a time of 17:14. She crossed the finish line almost a minute faster than Edmond Deer Creek’s Tabitha Fox, who took second.

“I really wanted to win state because I've been kind of trying for a while now and you know, the seniors are gone now,” Kehoe said. “I was like, this is my year.”

Edmond North’s Morgan Kirkland, Edmond Santa Fe’s Morgan Kirkland and Union freshman Ava Cornelius rounded out the top five.

While the Huskies landed two runners in the top five, it was Owasso who took home the 6A team trophy. They racked up 72 points, which was enough to hold off a surging Deer Creek, which had 83.

Edmond North (89), Edmond Memorial (113) and Jenks rounded out the top five.

“There were five great teams out here (Saturday),” Owasso coach Blake Collins said. “We talk a lot about not worrying about the outcome; just going out to put your best race out there.

"I think they did that, and it obviously worked out and we're ecstatic about it.”

The Rams were led by sophomore Quinn Thomason, who placed seventh overall. Rayna Kucharyski, Sandra Humes, Olivia Graham and Brooklyn Garafola all landed into the top 20 to help snare the program’s second title, after the first came in 2020.

“We knew we had a good team coming into the season,” Collins said. “But we honestly don't talk about it all that much.

"It's one race at a time, and I know it's cliche, but it's really just kind of doing the little things every day. So, we knew it was a possibility, but not a for sure thing by any means.”

In Class 5A, it was Piedmont which ran away with its first-ever cross-country championship. The Wildcats posted a team score of 41 points, which was 31 ahead of Bishop Kelley.

“Very special for them; it's been a long road,” Piedmont coach Kelly Beck said. “We’ve had a couple of third-place finishes, second place finishes.

"Last year, we kind of thought we might win. They were fantastic.”

Lily Scheck paced Piedmont with a time of 18:58.14. That was good enough for a third-place finish for the sophomore. Freshman Claire Collins, sophomore Emily Caldwell and senior Rachel Caldwell finished in seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively.

While Bishop Kelley missed out on its sixth consecutive team championship, they did have the top individual performer in 5A. Sophomore Gwyneth Meyers took home her second title after running an 18:54.37, edging Elgin’s Audrey McElhaney by less than a second.

“It's just always really rewarding to work hard and get it to pay off,” Meyers said. “I'm really proud of my team because they also worked hard.”

In 2A, it was Hooker who took the girls championship with a resounding 41 points. They were 113 points ahead of second place Velma-Alma.

Kamryn Baggs of Laverne ran a two-mile course in 11:52 to take first individually.

Other team champions include Byng (4A) and Regent Prep (3A).