Sandite Cross Country gives best performance of season at Fayetteville

By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

The Charles Page High School varsity cross country teams traveled to Fayetteville, Arkansas this past weekend for the prestigious Chile Pepper Festival and several Sandites posted remarkable times and personal records in the 5K race.

Varsity Girls 5K

17:35.54 Cheyenne Walden 2nd Place
21:03.66 Tiqvah Soap 185th Place
21:30.42 Alexis Davis 230th Place
23:04.64 Sara Abbet 417th Place
23:10.52 Elizabeth Watts 424th Place
24:11.93 Chezney Kelley 496th Place (PR-1:42.67)

Varsity Boys 5K

17:24.19 Aden Baughman 243rd Place
17:56.24 Kaegan Murray 361st Place
17:59.24 Landin Green 373rd Place
18:16.33 Jacob Garbey 418th Place
18:18.66 Nelson Yazzie 424th Place (PR-0:50.34)
18:42.78 Ian Baustert 482nd Place (PR-0:19.22)
18:51.36 Jaden Weiser 502nd Place (PR-0:22.04)

Three-time State Champion Cheyenne Walden's seven-straight victory streak came to an end, but not due to a substandard performance. In fact, she was a mere half-second away from beating her personal record. In a field of 629 runners, she placed second with a time of 17:35.54, just a few steps behind Blue Springs South junior Victoria Findley who finished in 17:33.09. This is Walden's second time competing at the event, and she also placed second last year in an otherwise undefeated season. Her time was the sixth-best in the eleven-year history of the event. Prior to 2005, the girls only ran a 4K at the Chile Pepper Festival.

Overall, the Lady Sandites took 43rd place of 86 teams with an average time of 21:17.0. They improved by 21.8 seconds over last year's performance when they placed 42nd of 71 teams. Junior transfer Tiqvah Soap placed 185th with a time of 21:03.66. Freshman Chezney Kelley placed 496th with a personal record of 24:11.93, shaving nearly two minutes off her last week's performance.

The varsity boys improved by 0:32.2 seconds over their last year's performance for a team average of 17:58.9. They placed 66th of 99 teams compared to 64th of 84 teams last year. Sophomore state qualifier Aden Baughman led the team with a 243rd place finish out of 757 runners. He finished in 17:24.19, followed by freshman Kaegan Murray in 361st place with a personal record of 17:56.24. Sophomore Nelson Yazzie, senior Ian Baustert, and freshman Jaden Weiser all set personal records.

Both the boys and girls teams had their best performances of the season by significant margins. Prior to Fayetteville, the boys' best performance of the season was 18:02.6 and that was at Broken Arrow on a 300 meter short course. Their best true 5K was at Holland Hall with an average time of 18:49.9. The Chile Pepper marked a 0:51 second improvement over Holland Hall. The girls' best 5K of the season was also Holland Hall where they finished in 22:20.0. They knocked 1:03 off that time. Both performances were their best since last year's Regionals. 

The cross country season is rapidly coming to a close with only two races left before the State Championship. The Sandites will return to action on Tuesday the Eleventh at the Frontier Valley Conference race at Bacone College in Muskogee.