EDMOND — Sophomore sensations Payton Hinkle and Avery Mazzei each had reasons to celebrate Saturday.
Hinkle, Broken Arrow’s top runner, and Mazzei, the pace-setter for Jenks, pulled away from the pack early at Edmond Santa Fe High School and turned the Class 6A girls state cross country meet into a two-person race. Thanks to a burst with about a mile left in the 5K race, Hinkle pushed through for the championship, finishing with a time of 18 minutes, 3 seconds.
Hinkle became the first Tiger to win an individual state cross country championship.
“Very humbling,” Hinkle said. “I have such an amazing team and coaches that helped me get here. I’m so grateful for them.”
Mazzei’s time of 18:30 was good for second, her best state finish and a performance that keyed the Trojans to the team championship.
Jenks finished with 53 points. Owasso was second with 91 and defending champion Edmond Deer Creek was third with 137.
“It’s so awesome and so blessed to say we won state together,” Mazzei said.
Sister Deborah Mazzei also earned all-state honors as she finished fifth with a time of 19:18. Other scorers for Jenks were Shelby Kihega (13th, 19:39), Ryann Barber (16th, 19:50) and Tarryn Lowry (27th, 20:14).
Jenks claimed its 15th team championship, a state record for girls programs, but the first title since 2012.
“They ran strong. They looked the best they’ve looked all year and, of course, that’s a great way to finish,” Jenks coach Rachael Graddy said.
The girls race began at 10 a.m. with temperatures just south of 40 degrees. The cold but calm conditions, paired with the adrenaline from the state meet, invited a quick pace by the field.
“I do really well in cold weather,” said Hinkle, who shaved nearly 50 seconds off her state runner-up time from a year ago.
After placing second in 2018, Hinkle said she was ready to claim the top spot this time around.
“It was a lot of motivation,” Hinkle said. “I wanted to win so much this year.”
Sapulpa’s Stailee Heard finished third, followed by Cayden Dawson of Bixby in fourth. Sierra Williams and Kennedie Rhein were sixth and seventh, respectively, to pace Owasso, which was the state runner-up for the second year in a row.
Edmond Deer Creek repeated as team champion on the boys’ side.