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High school cross country: Mustang girls make history in 5K race

Defending Class 6A state champion Emily Helms said, “I think it is a great accomplishment that we won the first 5K in Oklahoma.”
by Ed Godfrey Published: September 19, 2012

Clay, however, worries that fewer girls might participate in cross country.

“The majority of the schools who really have to beg kids to come out and run will find it harder to get girls if it goes up to three miles,” she said.


Edmond Santa Fe will host the state cross country meet for the first time because a swimming pool and aquatic facility is being built at Mitch Park in Edmond, the normal site of the event.

“It's tight in a couple of places, but it's fair to the runners,” Mustang coach Mike McGarry said. “I think it's smoother than Mitch Park, which can have some rough places.”

The only trouble spot at Santa Fe is a place where runners must cross a road and go through a large gate where “it kind of squeezes you down,” McGarry said.


Both Edmond Memorial and Edmond North appear to have strong boys' cross country squads this season. Memorial edged the Huskies by one point in Friday's Dogpack.

Edmond North coach Kent Douglas thinks this is his best squad in four years, when the Huskies finished as state runner-up.

“We don't have a front-runner per se,” said Douglas, although seniors Austin Mayer and Justin Smith, members of that state runner-up team, lead the way. “They just run as a pack. One through six looks pretty good.”

Edmond Memorial have won both meets that the varsity boys have entered.

“I don't know where we're at,” Bulldogs' coach David Sammons said. “I know we have four pretty good runners. We are still looking for that fifth, sixth and seventh man.”

Seniors Alex Shook and Seth Hammon, both members of Edmond Memorial's 2-mile relay state championship squad, are the Bulldogs' top runners.


Even though Emily Helms of Mustang finished second overall to Alex Davis of Plainview in the Dogpack, she bested the 6A field and avenged a loss the previous week to Jaci Smith of Edmond North in the OK Runner Classic in Norman.

Smith finished fourth in the 5K at Edmond Santa Fe. Helms knows everyone is gunning for her since she is the defending 6A state champion, but she is chasing Davis and Regan Ward of Beggs, who have posted better times.

Ward is the current state record-holder in the 2-mile run. Davis broke the state record three times last year only to see Ward eclipse it at the Meet of Champions.

Helms said both girls push her to run faster, although they don't race against each other very often.

“I am not the fastest in Oklahoma, and I understand that,” Helms said. “I am racing against them mentally sometimes. They're in my head. I am chasing them down. I am trying to close that gap.”

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