Photo by Michael Kinney
The Jenks girls and their front runner Avery Mazzei made quite a season-opening statement at the Deer Creek Field Run this weekend in Edmond with their resounding and dominant team and individual victories.
With a team score tally of 21 points -- appearing as if they competed in a dual meet rather than a 13 school deep quality invitational -- the Jenks girls cross country team appeared every bit as the superiorly supreme team for the state of Oklahoma. Their top five runners all finished among the top eight individual places, while their entire top seven all broke 21 minutes on the Deer Creek High School's home 5,000 meter cross country course.
Jenks' talented sophomore, Avery Mazzei, won the race by a margin of almost a full minute with her final time of 18:40. It was her second consecutive win at the Deer Creek Field Run as she won last year's event as a freshmen with a 5K personal best performance of 18:11 before going onto a runner-up finish in the Class 6A state race to Broken Arrow's Payton Hinkle.
Speaking on Hinkle, it appears she started the race but was unable to finish and dropped out at some point on the course. Hopefully nothing too serious or any major injury that she's dealing with so that she can continue on for a successful sophomore season.
Mazzei and Hinkle's rivalry will certainly be a top storyline and create a lot of excitement for the 2020 cross country season as Oklahoma's two brightest youngest stars in the sport.
Another name to watch after the Deer Creek Field Run is Tahlequah ninth-grader McKenna Hood, who took runner-up honors behind Mazzei with a finish time of 19:34 to stay ahead of host school Deer Creek's top finisher in Tabitha Fox (3rd, 19:41). Hood could see more improvements after getting her first high school race out of the way.
The top 10 finishers were all underclassmen as freshmen and sophomores dominated the chase packs including a handful from Jenks in Mazzei, Ryann Barber (4th, 19:44), Deborah Mazzei (5th, 19:51), Emily Coffey (7th, 20:06), and Lidia Routh (8th, 20:31).
Jenks is normally a team that would travel out of state to meets in Texas and Arkansas to challenge themselves against tougher competition, but with the restrictions and uncertainty in the times of the coronavirus, they may have to settle with dominating the in-state competition week after week this fall.