LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - It’s been a big week for cross country runners in Lawton, who competed in the first city championship meet Thursday morning.
One girl and one boy each earned the title of city champion Thursday morning. The day started with the varsity girls’ race, with Allyson Taylor and Lyric Swatzell, a pair of freshmen from Lawton High, crossing the finish line first and second.
"I could not really breathe. I don’t know what happened honestly,” Swatzell said.
"I think I did pretty good, I tried really hard to beat you, finally,” Taylor said.
On the boys’ side, MacArthur Junior Quincy McClellan accomplished his goal and took home his first gold of the season.
"I started off very, very tired but I just kept thinking about I want a metal badly and I don’t want to lose. People kept telling me there are people behind me the whole way through and it just made me run faster because I didn’t want anybody to catch up, I wanted to be in the lead the whole way,” McClellan said. “I kept saying I want to be city champion, I kept telling my grandparents, my mom and dad about it. I would have been sad about it if I didn’t win.”
The coaches knew the athletes would be excited about this event, which is the main reason they put it together.
"It gives them the option to come out and run against their teammates and also their teammates throughout the city that they see all year and they know,” said Eisenhower cross country coach Amber Bain.
They’re also hoping it helps build more interest in cross country.
"Everyone that knows what we’re doing is super supportive but cross country isn’t a widely advertised sport. The kids don’t really love running a 5k but once they get out here and they see it’s not as hard as they think it is in their heads, they really enjoy it. The more kids we get actively involved in it then the more parents and community see what we’re out here doing and the more support we’ll have for the sport,” Bain said.
But the event is not just about fun and exposure, it also serves as a helpful tune-up as runners prepare for regional championships.
“It helps you know what you need to do and get better at it so you can beat your time and just get better,” Swatzell said.
”It gave me so much more confidence, I feel much more confident that I am ahead of everybody here and I am in good shape so I can keep that mindset for regionals so I can make sure I do place for state and do good and get medals,” McClellan said.
Coach Bain said they intend to hold this event every year going forward.