Emily Helms finished her cross country career at Mustang High School as one of the most decorated runners in 6A history.
She won her second consecutive 6A state cross country title this season, shattering the course record at Edmond Santa Fe High School by 17 seconds in winning with ease.
That course record had been set earlier in the season by Helms' teammate, Kyra Fuller of Mustang.
Helms narrowly missed winning three consecutive state titles, finishing second two years ago as a sophomore in the state meet. Only Brianna Cloud of Jenks has won three 6A cross country championships.
“It's been a great four years,” Helms said. “Each year I have had people push me to get to where I have gotten to be.
“I couldn't ask for a better high school career. I have had incredible support from my friends, family and my community. I have had the best coaches anybody could have asked for.”
Mustang coach Mike McGarry said Helms is a gifted runner, but what separates her from most is her work ethic.
“Emily works really hard, pushes herself really hard,” McGarry said. “She is gifted, but she hasn't taken that gift and wasted it.”
Even though Helms was the best runner on Mustang's squad, she always put her team first and tried to make her teammates better, McGarry said.
When she would finish a race, Helms would go back and start cheering for the other Mustang runners still on the course, he said.
Helms would be the first to finish the team's daily workout, then would jog back and begin running alongside a teammate to help motivate them, he said.
“She is just that type of a person,” McGarry said. “We are going to miss her points for sure, but almost really more important, we are going to miss Emily as a person.”
Next year, Helms will be running cross country for Oklahoma State University. She gave a verbal commitment to the Cowgirls last week.
“It just seemed like a great family atmosphere and that is how my high school is,” Helms said of OSU. “I felt like I was part of a family there. I am excited to see where they can take me in my running career.”