Alex Kirkpatrick\'s OK/AR All-Star Meet Journal

This past Saturday, some of the top athletes from our wonderful state of Oklahoma competed in the yearly dual verse Arkansas. With the girls' race starting the day off at 11:30- we were told to arrive at 10. Arriving a little before 10, walking across the starting line getting drenched by the downfall of the rain and having to shield my fragile body from the cold wind, I was already getting excited for the race. I was a little out of it from the cold and found myself under a nice warm tent. Looking around I realized I saw no familiar faces--- and then I saw it, a Rogers's hoodie. Needless to say, I left Arkansas's team tent. Pretty soon, Oklahomans were everywhere. I couldn't help but feel so much pride as the coach handed me an Oklahoma jersey.
A lil before 11, the whole girls team met on the line and we all walked/jogged the famous Arkansas course. Walking the course I realized that my true enemy was present—mole holes. They were everywhere within the first 200m of the starting line. Getting back to the start line, we all started to actually put on our spikes and stretch. We all assembled real quickly for a meeting with the coach and he told us how Oklahoma girls have dominated this dual and haven't lost in 7 or 8 yrs. So, we all made a mental check that we could not be the team to screw it up. Mothers then swarmed for pictures before we raced. All of a sudden we heard this loud "ARKANSAS!". Well, we couldn't let Arkansas win the chant loud game, so we yelled "OKLAHOMA!" right back at them WAY louder. It wasn't until then I realized how long it is to say Oklahoma. Now the start of the race was finally going to start. By now, the rain stopped and it was only chilly and windy. Perfecto weather. I do my little look down on the line and realize that all my old enemies from high school are now my teammates. So much confidence flooded me because I knew that Arkansas had nothing on the girls that surrounded me—they are just too good. The gun finally goes off. That had to be the fastest start I've been in so far. I kept my regular pace, which usually isn't slow- but it was that day. There was no need for me to get anxious though because right in front of me was Tayler Rigsby and Lauren Watson and they have to be the greatest runners in our state. Within the first 200m as I mentioned earlier, my enemy found me and got me good- I stepped right into the soft ground of a mole hole. It made me pretty mad because it is never your strong leg that goes into the holes—always the weak, injured ones. I felt my right knee with tendonitis tighten up- not good. It quickly subsided so it was forgotten about. Up the little slant, around the pond we ran. Then came our first little downhill--- you would think heaven, but my knee didn't like it. The race was amazing though—throughout the whole dual, you only heard Oklahoma or Arkansas. Two weeks ago, most of these girls I raced against, their parents are now cheering for me. It really was amazing to me. If your own teammate passed you- they would encourage you to keep it up and you would do the same also—we were all one team. We had only one goal- beat Arkansas- again. And accomplish that we did.
The guys did the exact same thing, but they just dominated Arkansas. Schwab kept the lead for the whole race winning with a time of 15:20. Right behind him though came Ownby. If I remember correctly, in the Top 10, I think 8 were of our team. The guys did so well. After the races were done, awards were handed to the top 25 finishers of both races and then the team winner was announced and more medals were handed out.
Both Oklahoma Teams did so well. I congratulate all of you that got the opportunity to race. It was really an honor to be able to run beside some of the greatest female runners of our state. Congrats to Schwab and Radcliffe also for the individual wins and helped our state to another successful year in the Oklahoma/Arkansas dual.