The Guthrie High School cross country teams traveled to Edmond Santa Fe High School over the weekend to run in the Class 5A State Cross Country State Championships and came away with two Top 5 finishes and three All-State selections.
All season long Guthrie Head Coach James Strahorn has said the field is stacked in 5A and whoever ran the best on the final day would go on to win state. His squad had five runners run personal bests and four runners finish inside the Top 15, but both teams fell short of making the podium.
The Bluejays finished in fourth place, while the LadyJays finished in fifth place, making the Guthrie program one of three schools to finish with both teams inside the Top 5.
“Only three schools had both teams in the Top 5 and we were one of them,” Strahorn said. “Piedmont, Bishop Kelley, and us. We have two Top 5 teams and that makes us one of the best programs in the state. There are 40 5A schools and both of my squads are inside the Top 5 and that’s something to really be proud of.”
The Bluejays were led by senior Trevor Sallee, who finished in third place with a time of 16:29. Sallee’s third place finish was good enough to earn him All-State honors and gave the Bluejays its first runner to finish in the Top 3 since 2011.
Mason Barney finished in 14th place with a personal best 16:58. His 14th place finish earned him All-State Honorable Mention.
Sophomore Grant Mayer (28th), senior JD Coonfield (31st), senior Loren Huskey (50th), freshman Braden Hall (73rd), and sophomore Jaxon Harden (89th) all helped push the Bluejays into fourth place. Strahorn says Guthrie’s Top 5 average time of 17:14.36 would’ve been on par with some of Guthrie’s best cross country teams in school history.
“The time the boys ran this year would’ve took runner up last season,” Strahorn said. “The time was equivalent to Coach (Clay) Tarter’s 2009-10 back-to-back state championship squads. The field was just stacked and everyone ran really well which is all you can ask for as a runner.”
The LadyJays were led by senior Mercy Dement, who came in fourth place with a time of 19:42. Dement ends her career as a three-time All-State selection.
Tori Wells picked up All-State honors, finishing in ninth place after running a personal best 20:21.
Senior Alessandra Isella (30th), sophomore Kaitlyn Leaty (39th), junior Abigail Brown (41st), senior Sierra Warner (70th), and sophomore Josie Throckmorton (71st), gave the LadyJays a fifth place team finish.
Although the LadyJays finished in fifth place, they actually ran faster as a team than they did a season ago when they finished state runner-up.
“This team actually ran faster than last years team across the board,” Strahorn said. “Last year they averaged 21:30 and this years team averaged 21:05, so across the board they were 25 seconds faster.”
The Guthrie programs finished short of making the podium but Strahorn says the success his two squads have had this season and the effort they’ve put forth all year is something he will cherish.
“Every team that beat us deserved to beat us because they all ran really well,” Strahorn said. “There is nothing more that I could’ve asked for from them because I know they all laid it out on the line. We did exactly what we needed to do every week. The kids really gave me everything in every single practice this season. They gave it their all and as a coach that is all you can ask for.”
Guthrie loses Trevor Sallee, JD Coonfield, Loren Husky, Mercy Dement, Tori Wells, and Alessandra Isella to graduation. Strahorn says they helped get the program back to the grand stage and will be missed next season.
“These seniors started out at the bottom, they really did,” Strahorn said. “We’ve been through all the ups and downs together and they have laid a foundation for the future for us. They have made our program successful and made us better each and every year.”
Guthrie will send Sallee and Barney to the Meet of Champions this Saturday in Midwest City before Strahorn takes seven athletes to a Nike event in Houston, Tx in three weeks.