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Tahlequah’s Tori Pham Athlete Spotlight Presented by Stuteville Ford

Tahlequah’s Tori Pham

Tori Pham has taken on more of a leadership role as she’s gotten older over the course of her high school cross country career at Tahlequah.

“I feel like my leadership has improved the most this year,” Pham said. “I was pretty quiet my first couple years on the team, but now I help lead practices and enjoy being the free taxi service, because I’ve seen how attending practices helps us develop as a team and as runners.”

Pham, who ran a personal best time of 20:28 last year as a junior at the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival in Fayetteville, Arkansas, was an all-state finisher in 2022.

“I’m hoping I’m on track to beat that after running a 19:41 three-mile at Rogers State earlier this season,” she said. “I’m going to go beyond my best to try to finish top 10 at the state this year.”

In her most recent outing, Pham had a time of 20:50.57 at the Missouri Southern Stampede in Joplin, Missouri in mid-September. She finished 11th in the 2023 opener (Tahlequah Early Tiger Cross Country Invitational) with a time of 22:45.54..

Pham wants to see continued improvement from herself and teammates.

“As a team, we’d like to qualify for state and see widespread improvement. We have a young team this year, and I’m excited to see what they can do,” she said. “I am very dedicated to things I set my mind to, which has allowed me to get faster every year, resulting in a top 15 all-state finish last year.”

Tahlequah coaches Elzy Miller and David Spears have had the biggest impact on Pham and her running career. She was a part of Tahlequah’s school-record 4×800 meter relay team in track.

“Coach Miller and Coach Spears are a big inspiration because it’s obvious they love the sport and watching us get better, and their enthusiasm is contagious,” Pham said. “My teammates are also an inspiration every day as they push themselves to finish tough workouts in brutal conditions.”

Pham, who plans on attending college but is undecided on a major, is hoping to go somewhere that will offer affordable study abroad options so she can see the world. She’s in the top one percent of Oklahoma ACT scores, an AP Scholar Award winner, as well as a winner of the National Rural and Small Town Recognition Awards.

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