CURRENT MAGAZINE:

A narrative of one of the best races I have ever watched, run by our very own Cheyenne Walden:
“It’s after six o’clock on a Saturday evening – May the 7th of 2016. It’s been in the low 80’s all afternoon, sunny with a light breeze, the sun has gone behind a large mass of clouds, we walk across the track to the infield for the Girls 1600 meter race, do most of the talking as we approach the heating area. Last race sis, to which Cheyenne says I’m racing for third, with a questioning look, whatever you say, is my response. She says she is tired and ready to go home. You’re just one mile from going home. We been up for over 12 hours and she has ran three miles at a 5:30 pace or faster. She ran an 800 leg of the 3200 relay at a PR pace of 2:14 then won the 3200 with an 11 flat, took 3” in the 800 meter with a 2:21. So now she goes at the mile to qualify for four events at state. First girl in Sandite history to do so, give her my last encouraging words as we separate and she moves to the heating area, don’t allow myself to think anything but positive thoughts.
It’s time. They move out onto the track and take their places. Cheyenne is in lane 7, the plan is to go out fast through the first turn so she can move to the inside after the turn and there is five of the best six female runners in the state here. I look at her as she steps up to the line, she has her hand on her watch leaning in to the start, the fatigue has left her face and those blue steel eyes are now focused. Her race face is on, everything else in the world is now somewhere else, it’s showtime.
Runners to your mark…and the gun goes off, and so do the runners. 
Cheyenne puts the pedal to the metal with intent, the first goal is to get out quick and get to the inside, and she does so with perfection. Moving to the inside after the first turn with a good meter of space between herself and the next four runners, and they close that space as the girls move down the back stretch, rounding the number two turn there is a tight pack of five girls with Cheyenne at the inside at the front, right where she likes to be and should be. Coming up the home stretch they are tight and in perfect cadence step for step. Yell out her split, 1:16, and tell her to breathe and stay loose, if she hears, there’s no response. I know she heard, the people in the top row heard. But we both know no response is necessary, just execution. Rounding the first turn of the 2″ lap nothing has changed from the home stretch, still tight and stride for stride. As they go down the backstretch of lap two with Cheyenne on the inside and 8 inches ahead of the others. Round number 2 turn and into the home stretch finishing lap two. I look at the pack and yell out Cheyenne’s split 2:41 she no longer is racing for third. She is running this race to win, but the girls are all four there and everybody’s looking hungry, into the number one turn of lap three and the lead four have moved out a little more, there’s four at the front, five and six have fallen back almost two meters. Down the back stretch Cheyenne is still where she needs to be but it’s still anyones race. I’m sure everybody’s thinking it’s going to come down to the kick as they round number two turn and come into the home stretch. Still inside and out front as they come by the finish line and yell out her split 4:05 and tell her it’s time to go get out there. There’s a wisp of a grin at the corners of her mouth as she gives me an abbreviated nod, which is more response than I’ve ever gotten at this point in any race. l am encouraged. They round number one turn to start the last lap and Cheyenne is upping the ante, and everyone is trying to answer. She pulls ahead on the back stretch by less than a meter, but by the time they enter number two turn the pack is back to its tight four. Coming out of number two turn everybody hammers down but Cheyenne was noticeably first to go. 
She sets the pace and pulls away, inches at first then in the last 50 meters she pulls more ahead, by the looks on all of their faces I can see there’s not going to be anyone at her shoulder when she crosses the finish line. She crosses the finish a meter or two ahead and wins. The first four girls take a few steps after they finish and spread out, hands on knees looking at the ground gathering oxygen. I walk out to Cheyenne as she stands up with that grin on her face, and there’s hugs all around. I even got one. As congratulate her I’m thinking, I’ve just been a small part of a big history. Too cool. I give her her time, 5:17, as she moves out to congratulate everyone else and welcome the last runners in. The Owasso coach walks up to me and asks if she ever gets tired. I said yes she’s tired, she just never quits. He said they thought they had a chance seeing she had ran three races already, but not so, if I had of been in his shoes would have thought the same thing. She once again has surprised us all. The depth of her spirit is amazing. The little Indian pony has once again surprised all the thoroughbreds. Cheyenne, you put the fire out I’ll call in the dogs…let’s go home, it’s been a great hunt.”
Mayor Mike Burdge
To read more about Cheyenne Walden, check out this issue’s Senior in the Spotlight article on page 8 of the magazine and coming soon online!