REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION OF THE MCCURTAIN GAZETTE AND BRAD REESING –
BEAVERS BEND STATE PARK – It took former Eagletown student Clint Buck a few minutes to catch his breath after the conclusion of the Owa-Chito 5K raceSaturday morning.
But Buck had good reason, as he sprinted the last quarter of a mile to beat Nashoba’s Quartermain Briggs by less than one second in tightest finish at the race in at least 20 years.
Buck, who is heading into his senior year at Mena High School, and Briggs, who will be a freshman at Clayton High School, were literally shoulder to shoulder as they galloped down the slope and across the Lower Mountain Fork River for the final time.
They were still even when they made their last right-handed turn, with just 35 yards left to the finish line in the powerhouse area of the park.
Buck, who was on the outside of that turn, gained a small advantage at that moment and motored in with a time of 19:10.101. Briggs was a whisker behind at 19:10.335.
Buck said his time was pretty good for a run “in the summer.”
How long were he and Briggs shoulder to shoulder?
“The entire race we didn’t get more than five to six feet from each other,” Buck replied.
His dead sprint at the end is customary.
“Every time,” said Buck. “I try to give it my all when God gives it.”
Shay Tisho, from Cherokee, N.C., won the women’s division by close to a minute. Tisho, who will be a junior in high school, finished at 20:23.
“It was kind of hard, pretty challenging,” said Tisho. “The hills got me.”
Tisho, who lives in the western portion of North Carolina, said the humidity is a big adjustment. Her father’s family (Steven Tisho) is from Broken Bow and she visits here about once a year.
Quartermain Briggs, who was third at the ORES state track meet in the mile in the spring, has been training in the last month and cut 1:10 off his time on the same course. He thought a small bump on that final turn may have been the difference, but he plans to win it next year.
Jenny Ellison, from New Boston, Texas, received a medal for being the oldest participant. She had a time of 46:49 and enthusiastically waved to the crowd during the awards ceremony.
Buck, who went to elementary and middle school at Eagletown, started running in the ninth grade. Those legs helped take him on a trip to Australia, where he represented Arkansas in a 5K and the US in the Gold Coast marathon. He placed 62nd overall in a field of 4,000 in that marathon down under.
This was Buck’s third appearance in the Owa-Chito. Buck’s late father, Robert Buck, was an annual winner in the canoe races at Owa-Chito with his brother, Brian.
Clint Buck would later team up with his best friend, Anthony Kennedy of Mena, Arkansas to win one of the canoe races later Saturday. Kennedy also ran in the 5k and placed 3rd in the 16-19 age division.
Clint Buck and Anthony Kennedy gave it their all to win the Owa-Chito Canoe Races at Beaver’s Bend State Park in Hochatown, Oklahoma after both just finished the 5K race, claiming medals in both events for both boys.