For the first time since 2004, the Guthrie LadyJays finished the cross country season on the podium.
The LadyJays finished in second place in the Class 5A state meet at Edmond Santa Fe on Saturday, their best finish in 14 years. Guthrie finished behind only Bishop Kelley High School, who finished with four top-10 placers.
It was a day of redemption for the LadyJays. After being disappointd with their performance in the regional meet last week, Guthrie pulled together and finished the season on a high note. Guthrie Head Coach James Strahorn says this was the best day he’s had since taking the Guthrie job.
“This was the best day of the year for us,” Strahorn said. “It’s the best day I’ve had since I’ve been here. To finish the year on the podium was pretty sweet. There was just this happiness and contentment after it was all over. The girls knew they had to battle and it was the perfect response after last week. They showed that they are a truly great team.”
Leading the way for Guthrie was Mercy Dement, who finished in second place with a time of 20:06.5. The finish gives her All-State honors for the second straight year.
“We knew there were a lot of good runners, not just teams, but individual runners in this meet,” Strahorn said. “We knew Mercy had an outside shot of winning it all, but to finish second after being in sixth place 2.5 mile mark, is just awesome. She has that next level of tougness that most runners don’t have. She pushed through and I am so proud of her.
Tori Wells finished in 12th place with a time of 21:07, followed by Allie Guggisberg who finished in 17th place with a time of 21:15.6. Sierra Warner finished 35th, while Abby Chalk rounded out the scoring with a 44th overall finish.
It has been quite the year for the girls cross country team. They’ve won many races and capped it off with a state runner-up finish. Strahorn says it still hasn’t quite hit him how well they did this year.
“I think in this moment, it’s starting to finally sink in,” Stahorn said. “After the race, I was on cloud nine and then on Sunday, I started to kind of feel lit, but when we got back to school I think I realized how special this was. These girls were two years old the last time we had a girls team on a podium at the end of the year.”
The Guthrie Bluejays, much like the LadyJays last year, finished with a fifth place finish. It was what Strahorn predicted before the meet started and they met the expectation. They finished just five points short of fourth place.
Trevor Sallee finished 13th overall with a time of 17:11.9. Mason Barney finished in 34th place, Loren Husky finished in 40th, JD Coonfield in 48th, and Grant Mayer in 60th.
Strahorn said it was a great finish for what was an up and down year for the boys cross country team. They now find themsevels in a simlar position to the 2017 LadyJays. They’ll enter next season with every runner back fresh off a fifth place finish at state. They will like to follow that same blueprint next year.
“I am so plased with how the boys finished,” Strahorn said. “They have so much going for them right now. They are the fifth best team in Class 5A and they bring everyone back next year. They are going to mature over the off season and come back next year looking to do what the girls did.”
If the Bluejays can follow that blueprint next season, it could be a special year again for the cross country teams. The LadyJays who weren’t even at the state tournament two years ago--and who finished second in the state this year--return all but one runner next year.”