FVC cross country gold for McConkay and Hinkle
Two Broken Arrow runners – Senior Blake McConkay and freshman Payton Hinkle – captured gold in their respective boys and girls events in the Frontier Valley Conference Cross Country Championships at Bartlesville on Wednesday.
“Blake and Payton are dedicated workers and humble leaders,” said Shane Messinger, BA Tiger Cross Country coach. “They put in every mile needed to be successful and prove to be great examples of leadership. When you mix a high level of hard work with unyielding dedication they are what you get, as many of our runners are.”
Overall, Broken Arrow’s boys and girls teams each placed third in the conference meet. The boys fell three points shy of second place. The girls finished in a tie for second, but lost the tie breaker.
“Last night was the tightest overall team placing I have seen at that meet,” Messinger said. “Our kids ran with the purpose of everyone improving themselves to make the team place as high as possible.”
While, McConkay and Hinkle both came away with individual championships, the crossing of the finish line was much different for the two runners.
“The last mile or so I started to put some ground on some people,” said McConkay, who finished fourth in last year’s conference meet. “Last year, I had a pretty competitive race at the conference meet. This year, going in, I knew I had a shot to win.”
McConkay ran a 16:40 to earn gold.
Messinger described Hinkles’s race as “close,” but went on to add that “she just has that edge of desire and fight” to finish. Hinkle ran an 18:58 in nabbing first place by just a few strides.
While Hinkle has had her share of victories this season, it’s still rare for a ninth grader to cross the line first at the conference meet. The last to do it was Cheyenne Walden of Sand Springs, a four-time FVC champ, who is now competing for Oklahoma State University.
“It’s amazing seeing Payton do that as a freshman,” McConkay noted. “She led the whole race, but had to push it at the end. It was closer than a lot of her races, but I never doubted she was going to win.”
Regionals is next for the Tiger runners. That meet is set for Oct. 20, but the location has yet to be determined.