The most decorated runner in Oklahoma is from right here in Sand Springs.
Cheyenne Walden holds four individual state cross country titles, making her only the fifth female runner and only the sixth runner in Oklahoma high school history to accomplish such a feat. She holds records all over the place, and most of her current records beat her previous records. But it is perhaps her passion for the sport of running and sportsmanship in general that are her most outstanding qualities.
Walden’s family moved to Sand Springs from Cleveland when she was in ninth grade. At that time, she had never run competitively before. She met Charles Page High School cross country coach Chris Corbin and runner Morgan Long at the Bedlam 5K in Tulsa’s Blue Dome district in 2013. They introduced her to the sport of cross country, and she joined the Sand Springs team. Walden finished her first one-mile cross country race in Enid in second place, but she’s won every race she’s entered in Oklahoma since then.
Sand Springs Mayor and Charles Page High School cross country coach Mike Burdge said Walden’s impressive level of focus is one of the things that sets her apart from other runners. Burdge said he first noticed her focus level at practice when the cross country team members were running. Walden’s mother happened to pass by on the opposite side of the road Cheyenne was running on, and she was so focused on her run that she didn’t even notice.
“What’s amazing about Cheyenne is her impressive focus,” Burdge said. “She didn’t even see her mom pass her.”
Walden’s accomplishments in cross country are truly exceptional. In addition to a nearly perfect running career, setting numerous records and being only the sixth runner in Oklahoma high school history to hold four individual state titles, Walden won the Gatorade Girls Cross Country State Runner of the Year award four years in a row. She also finished 34th at the Nike Cross Country Nationals Final. Despite all of that, Walden said her proudest accomplishment is being a part of the first Sand Springs cross country team in history to go to state. Sportsmanship comes naturally to her.
“When she wins, she hands out water bottles to runners coming in behind her, hugs them, all of that,” Burdge said.
She said she loves working with youth cross country runners in Sand Springs. Walden volunteers at the cross country summer program every year.
“All the kids love her and know her,” Burdge said.
Although running is her passion, she also enjoys rock climbing, babysitting, swimming at the lake and volunteering.
Walden has committed to join Oklahoma State University’s cross country program next year. She hopes to become the top freshman runner in the Big XII conference and make the national cross country team. She also aspires to compete in the 2020 Olympics.
Beyond all of that, Walden’s goal is to be an elementary school physical education teacher, so she can inspire children to love sports and healthy living and to dream big.
“It’s just exceptional to overcome all that she’s overcome…she’s an amazing individual,” Burdge said.
From all of us here at We Are Sand Springs, congratulations, Cheyenne, and best wishes for the future!