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Redemption for Stillwater's Keegan Thomas as he claims Class 6A boys individual cross country title

Edmond North captures 6A team championship; behind Reese Fricke, Piedmont wins it all in 5A

By Michael Kinney

EDMOND - As a junior, Keegan Thomas just knew he was going to win his first state cross country title. 

Everything leading into the 2021 state championship meet was going his way and he felt like the trophy belonged to him.

But when the meet concluded, the Stillwater distance runner was in fifth place.

Thomas was once again in a position this year to earn the 6A title, and this time around, he made the necessary changes to walk away as the top runner in the class Saturday at Edmond Santa Fe.

“I was little disappointed in my performance (last year at state) because I went from winning my regional by a couple of seconds to then getting fifth to some guys that I knew I could beat,” Thomas said. “But I learned from that experience. I learned to not wear tights in my race.”

With just shorts and a jersey on this year, Thomas posted a winning time of 15:23.78. He was 14 seconds ahead of Edmond Memorial’s John Cherry.

While Thomas was happy to win the championship, he wasn’t pleased with his time. The senior feels he runs his best when he is pushed by tough competition.

“My start wasn't quite what I wanted; I had a bunch of people ahead of me that I knew shouldn't be," Thomas said. "So I wasn't really able to take the lead until mile one, which was fine.

"But mile one wasn't as hard as I wanted it to be. Neither was mile two. Then I just kind of cruised it out. After that it was fine, but I definitely can run harder.”

Edmond North grabbed the 6A boys team championship after garnering 66 points. Owasso (97), Mustang (100), Deer Creek (120), and Edmond Memorial (122) finished in the top five.

In Class 5A, it was Piedmont which earned the program’s third state championship (2018, 2020, 2022). The Wildcats' 51 points were 40 points better than second-place Bishop Kelley.

Guymon (106), Santa Fe South (151) and Coweta (156) rounded out the top five.

Reese Fricke led the charge for the Wildcats. After finishing in 14th place as a junior, he came back to take home his first individual championship. Right behind him was teammates Dade Humes and Nelin Kimery, who took second and third, respectively.

Fricke is also the first runner from Piedmont to win a title, which was on his mind as he came down the final stretch.

“I was super excited. So much pressure, so many nerves,” Fricke said. “It was an incredible feeling coming down the stretch by myself.

"You know, we've had a lot of fast guys come through our school. We've gotten multiple team champions, guys that have been faster than me who’ve gone to the collegiate level. It shows that I can keep up with these guys.”

Fricke ran the 5K course in a time of 15:57.21. He said the key was to break the competition down early.

“I think I ran great,” Fricke said. “Going into it, I had a plan and I carried out that plan and it worked out super.

"That plan was to take it out hard, the first mile, and try and show people that they don't want to keep up with me. It worked out perfectly.”

Other boys cross country teams to win a state championship Saturday include Lincoln Christian (4A), Regent Prep (3A) and Hooker (2A).