With July wrapping up in less than two weeks, yearn for the beginning of fall sports is at its greatest.
By the time the first pitch is thrown at a softball game, it will have been nearly three months since Rogers County fans got their high school sports fix.
Well, what better way to pass the time than by looking back at the most recent athletic season?
In no particular order, these are some of the top moments from high school teams in the area.
Purdunn wins state long jump title
It wasn’t even close.
Kiah Purdunn made sure of that.
The Oologah sophomore leaped her way to the Class 4A state title with a jump of 17 feet, 6 inches at Frank McNabb Field in Catoosa on May 4.
It was more than a 2-foot improvement from her performance at the 2018 state meet, where she recorded a 15-01.50 leap for a 10th-place finish.
Furthermore, her jump beat runner-up Aubree Depron of Bridge Creek by 4.25 inches.
Purdunn also placed second in the high jump with a 5-04 outing, finishing 2 inches behind Kingfisher’s Ally Stephenson.
Verdigris girls reach 9th title game in 11 years
Winning consistently over a significant period of time is a difficult task for any team, but Verdigris girls soccer makes it look easy.
The Lady Cardinals made their ninth state championship game appearance in 11 years, dropping a 3-1 decision to Clinton.
Aubrey Lechlider and Lauren Bulcroft led the way, combining for 55 goals while helping Verdigris to a 14-6 record.
Fourteen of those goals came during the Class 4A playoffs, in which the Lady Cardinals outscored opponents, 14-6.
Bulcroft netted Verdigris’ only goal in the title game.
Inola student places at national event
Caden Thompson isn’t a high schooler, but he certainly deserves a spot on this list.
After winning school, county, district, state and regional competitions, the 11-year-old from Inola competed in the Elks Hoop Shoot national finals, where he placed fourth.
Thompson hit 24 of 25 free throws before losing a five-shot tiebreaker for third place.
Less than a month later, he schooled yours truly in a free-throw contest, 25-13.
Claremore runner becomes nationally relevant in 800
In arguably the best race of the spring, Claremore’s Jack Vincent clocked a time of 1 minute, 53 seconds in the 800 meters at the Reasor’s Track Classic in Tahlequah on April 5.
The junior’s official time of 1:53.80 catapulted him into the Top 20 of the national rankings. It was deemed the 18th-fastest time in the country.
He edged Sand Springs’ Aden Baughman, who clocked in at 1:53.83.
Although Vincent’s time was by far the fastest in Class 5A this year, he was unseated as the state champion by Daniel Nickell of MacArthur back in May.
He made up for the disappointing finish, though, retaining his 800-meter crown at the Great Southwest Classic in Albuquerque, N.M., on June 8 with a time of 1:57.46.
Vincent won the event in 2018 in 1:56.76.
Wiseman completes comeback with late PK
With Claremore’s playoff life hanging in the balance, Alex Wiseman knew what he had to do.
The sophomore hit a dagger to the top left corner of the net on a penalty kick with 4:17 remaining, giving the Zebras a 3-2 win over Will Rogers on April 16.
Claremore trailed 2-1 with less than 13 minutes remaining. Luke McHugh score the other two goals for the Zebras.
Wiseman and McHugh’s heroics gave Claremore the edge it needed in the standings to make the Class 5A playoffs, where it lost to eventual state champion Bishop Kelley, 5-0, in the first round.
Claremore honors 1999 championship team
Members of Claremore’s 1999 state championship baseball team reunited at American Legion Park during the Four-State Festival on April 12 to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of the historic season.
That team, which defeated Carl Albert, 3-2, for the Class 5A title and compiled a 39-7 record, is widely considered one of the best in school history.
Each player and coach who attended was recognized one-by-one near the pitcher’s mound.
Former coach Ron Bradley and his son Ryan, as well as Greg Stone, provided their thoughts on the occasion to the Progress following the ceremony.
Wild 6th inning sends Zebras to state
Once the train gets going, it isn’t stopping.
That phrase applied to Claremore baseball on May 2, when it scored eight runs in the sixth inning, winning its third-straight regional title in the process.
Jake Gilmore broke a 1-1 deadlock with a 2-RBI double, and the Zebras just piled it from there behind six hits.
Cooper Dotson capped off the scoring spree with a 2-RBI double of his own.
With a 9-1 lead backing him up, pitcher Matt Wofford finished McAlester off in the seventh inning with his seventh strikeout.
Carl Albert defeated the Zebras, 14-0, in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs a week later.