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McDonald remembers '71 disappointment

When BAHS shared XC title with Kelley By DOUG QUINN Sports Editor dougq@baledger.com Dec 3, 2009 McDonald remembers '71 disappointment PIECE OF HISTORY — Larry McDonald, a member of Broken Arrow High School's 1971 cross country team, holds the trophy - which belongs to co-winner Bishop Kelley. A duplicate trophy is being constructed for BAHS. DOUG QUINN/BA LEDGER Facebook Twitter Email Print Save When Broken Arrow High School won the boys cross country state championship this fall, Larry McDonald cheered. In spirit, McDonald was at the state race in Edmond. Pastor at Clearview Baptist Church, McDonald had a church function. The Tigers’ fate was on his heart that afternoon. A phone call from BAHS coach Shane Messinger interrupted a meeting with two church members but, “it’s something I wanted to know.” The good news flooded McDonald with emotion and memories. Nearly 30 years ago, McDonald was running for the state championship. He and the 1971 Tigers won the Class 3A title that day – well, kind of. BAHS and rival Bishop Kelley tied after the two-mile race with 43 points each. Larry Lipford led the Tigers with a second place finish in 10:19 while McDonald was fifth in 10:30 and Ralph Myers eighth in 10:44. Gene Beckwith was 13th and Barre Kerr 15th. Also running for BAHS were Rick Sommers and Tomy Towry. What transpired, though, was a mystery. “I remember the coaches and association were in a huddle,” McDonald said. “The came out of that meeting and declared we were co-champions.” That was bittersweet. The Tigers were champions – the first team title in school history – but McDonald said he and teammates didn’t want to share. “It was something we didn’t understand,” McDonald said. “To this day, I still don’t know what happened in that meeting.” McDonald admitted his feelings were hurt that day. “Yes,” he said, “there were some ill feelings.” He recalled the little, if any fanfare, the cross country received at school two days later. “There wasn’t a pep assembly,” McDonald said. “The only thing we got was a story in the Ledger.” McDonald, who graduated in 1972, ran track at Eastern State College for two seasons and then competed at Southwestern State. When he returned to Broken Arrow in 1976 to teach and coach, McDonald got another jolt. “That trophy was missing,” he said, shaking his head. “It was damaged and thrown away.” McDonald, son of Harold and Nita McDonald, got busy with a career and raising a family. He never forgot the events of that day in 1971. Flash forward to 2007 when McDonald returned to Broken Arrow to pastor his current church. He met BAHS cross country coach Shane Messinger that and the church fed the BAHS cross country teams a couple of times during the 2008 season. The contemporary Tigers’ championship set McDonald into motion to get a duplicate trophy. Kelley Athletic Director Mark Chambers, a Broken Arrow resident, loaned McDonald that school’s original trophy. BAHS Athletic Director Ken Ellett said Midwest Sporting Goods in Oklahoma City has begun constructing a look-alike trophy.

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