Jenks girls cross country opens preseason, ready to defend title

Jenks girls cross country opens preseason, ready to defend title

Last fall, the Jenks girls cross country team crushed the competition, as it captured the 6A Girls Cross Country State Championship in dominating fashion.

The Jenks girls will be the favorites to bring home the gold again in 2020, as all seven varsity starters return to defend their 2019 title.

Avery Mazzei, Deborah Mazzei, Shelby Kihega, Ryann Barber, Tarren Lowry, Paige Twiehaus and Gabrielle Vargas will lead a deep and talented group of runners in 2020.

Jenks officially opened preseason practice last week with workouts from 7 to 8:30 a.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at the Jenks High School Track and Field Complex.

“We probably had our best tempo run ever to start the preseason,” said Rachael Graddy, Jenks High School girls cross country coach. “Not just the varsity girls, but all the way down. Everyone is holding each other accountable.”

Graddy is entering her fourth year as head coach, but there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the 2020 season.

“I feel like this is the most prepared coming into a season we have ever been based on the varsity girls we have coming back and the leadership we have, but I also feel like it is the most unprepared we have ever been because of the pandemic and not knowing what is going to happen,” Graddy said.

The girls are required to wear masks when they arrive to practice every morning but allowed to remove them when working out on the track. They are not allowed to congregate in the locker rooms, and they are running in groups of four and distancing themselves from each other, as they work out.

The girls cross country regular season is officially scheduled to begin Aug. 22 at Deer Creek High School in Edmond.

The Jenks High School cross country coaches give instruction last week during preseason practice, while wearing masks. Photo/Kyle Salomon

Kyle Salomon

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