Deer Creek's A.J. Antonelli runs to a third-place finish in the Class 6A State cross country championship meet at Edmond Santa Fe on Saturday morning.

Deer Creek girls and boys finished on the podium Saturday morning at Edmond Santa Fe in the 6A Oklahoma Cross Country State Championships. The girls finished third and, for the second straight season, the boys finished as the 6A cross country state championship.

It’s the program’s 8th cross country state title.

Last season, the boys won the 5k race with a score of 66 as they had runners finish second, seventh, 10th, 18th and 29th. Deer Creek bested that score this season — posting a 47 as they had runners place third, fifth, sixth, 13th and 20th.

“I can’t take any credit,” said Deer Creek head coach David Riden. “Like I told them last night they just executed our training plan like assassins. Sometimes boys get a bad rap for being all over the place but they’re just really good kids that believed in the plan and believed in themselves. They ran well all year and it’s just really gratifying to see them be able to finish that and show everybody that they’re good.”

Coach Riden says most of the training that the team does consists of interval training but they also add in plyometric strength training and a mixture of other things.

“I think what I’m always so proud of our kids is that they’re like students of the training,” he said. “So when we’re doing it, they’re not just like ‘oh whatever.’ They go out, and all the different variances that we take, they are consciences about learning them.”

AJ Antonelli was the first runner across the finish line for Deer Creek. He placed third individually on the day, allowing him to walk away with two medals.

“It is great, this is what I worked for all season,” Antonelli said. “I just thought of my teammates out there. We put in so much work throughout the whole summer and I just wanted to enjoy it and have fun.”

Antonelli ran the 5k in 16:04.05 — just two seconds behind Spencer Hales from Bartlesville High School. The first place runner was the defending state champion Gabe Simonsen, from Mustang High School, who ran the race in 15:39.89.

The Deer Creek girls came in as the defending state champions and finished third on the day, their fourth time placing at the state run.

“I’m proud of both groups,” Riden said. “The girls started the season with our top three girls from last year injured and we only got two of the three back, and got them back in October. For that group of girls to still climb onto the podium I was pretty proud of them.”

Deer Creek finished with a score of 137 which was 50 points behind their score they put up last season. However if they had posted their 87 score again they would have still come in second as Jenks High School finished first with a score of 53.


Memorial boys see podium finish


Throughout the season, Edmond Memorial assistant coach Chris Lowrey has preached to his runners that if all seven of the them stepped up on the same day good things could happen for them. 

On Saturday they did as the Edmond Memorial boys Cross Country team placed at the podium, finishing third at the 6A Cross Country State Championships.

“We were like the Washington Nationals on the road, nobody expected anything,” said an excited head coach David Sammons after the race. “We thought they were capable of it but we were such a young team all year we just didn’t know if we could get all seven on the same day. But they stepped up at the right time and on the right day, all seven of them did, so we were elated to get third.

Of the Bulldogs seven runners, three were seniors. On Saturday, the seniors led the Bulldogs as Noah Plum finished 11th and Jackson Watts finished fourth. 

“Our deal was we don’t have a frontrunner,” Sammons said. “And Jackson [Watts] stepped up to fourth place and he hadn’t been fourth in any meet all year except today. But you just have to do it one time.”

Sammons said the strategy was to run as a pack as they had done all year, and on Saturday that led to the entire team running personal best. As a team, the Bulldogs were just eight points out of second as they posted 93 and Westmoore posted an 85.

“We’ve seen glimpses of ‘hey three of you ran real well and the other four have got to be closer.’ Or we’d run two real well but the other five have got to be closer’. They bought in to believing ‘hey we can do this if we pull together,’” he said. "A seven man unit is what it is,” But the good lord blessed them and they stayed healthy, I guess you can kind of say they peaked at the right time.”

Mustang’s Gabe Simonsen won the individual state title, Deer Creek won the team title, and Westmoore followed them for second, all three schools are in the Central Oklahoma Athletic Conference. Of the 14 teams that ran in the state meet, nine of them were from the COAC.

“It makes COAC conference look so tough,” Sammons said. “The two regional champs, Mustang won the regional over at Sand Springs, and of course Deer Creek won the one at Norman. Out of the Norman regional all 7 teams that qualified were from COAC conference. Then we come to state and it’s like ‘my gosh this is like COAC conference again’. So we know each other real well.”





Edmond’s State Meet Results


No. 3, AJ Antonelli, Deer Creek, 16:04:05

No. 4, Jackson Watts, Memorial, 16:11:43

No. 5, Gilbert Velez, Deer Creek, 16:15:48

No. 6, Jack Reed, Deer Creek, 16:18:89

No. 8, Max Wheeler, Santa Fe, 16:25:49

No. 11, Noah Plum, Memorial, 16:33:76

No. 13, Tyler Goza, Edmond North, 16:35:04

No. 14, Drake Wagner, Deer Creek, 16:35:54

No. 19, Simon Larrimore, Memorial, 16:44:35

No. 22, Landon Harrod, Deer Creek, 16:49:41

No. 23, Colton Beckner, Deer Creek, 16:51:63

No. 33, Joshua Tacker, Memorial, 17:02:24

No. 35, Hayden Wolfe, Deer Creek, 17:04:54

No. 38, Blake Rice, Memorial, 17:08:29

No. 39, Zach Hall, Santa Fe, 17:11:16

No. 42, Martin Samwell, Santa Fe, 17:12:16

No. 46, Jack Carter, Memorial, 17:15:58

No. 48, Yadon Bowman, Edmond North, 17:20:06

No. 51, Jackson Davis, Memorial, 17:22:18

No. 52, Cole Mcelmeel, Santa Fe, 17:22:56

No. 55, Jaden Redmond, Edmond North, 17:23:60

No. 59, Connor Mayfield, Santa Fe, 17:26:02

No. 73, Caleb Haymore, Santa Fe, 17:38:69

No. 74, Cameron Barron, Santa Fe, 17:39:43

No. 75, Carson Royse, Edmond North, 17:40:83

No. 81, Mason Nader, Edmond North, 17:50:28

No. 97, Jackson Louderback, Edmond North, 18:08:63



No. 12, Britton Russell, Santa Fe, 19:39:04

No. 18, Kendall Edelen, Deer Creek, 19:51:64

No. 24, Tally Smith, Edmond North, 19:59:44

No. 28, Mia John, Deer Creek, 20:15:38

No. 29, Jolie Strawn, Deer Creek, 20:15:69

No. 30, Kiley Keene, Santa Fe, 20:17:28

No. 40, Somer Rhodes, Memorial, 20:38:25

No. 46, Camryn Kirkland, Edmond North, 20:48:98

No. 47, Aubrey Byers, Deer Creek, 20:49:49

No. 53, Hannah Jackson, Edmond North, 20:56:20

No. 59, Zenaida Burgos, Deer Creek, 21:07:65

No. 62, Amber Chen, Memorial, 21:12:20

No. 66, Elizabeth Nowlin, Edmond North, 21:17:86

No. 67, Blake Tarzia, Edmond North, 21:22:42

No. 73, Amelia Larson, Santa Fe, 21:36:82

No. 76, Audrey Hill, Santa Fe, 21:41:09

No. 77, Cali Dorman, Deer Creek, 21:45:12

No. 78, Veagan Jones, Memorial, 21:46:35

No. 83, Elise Hale, Santa Fe, 21:59:30

No. 85, Lauren Crouch, Memorial, 22:05:89

No. 88, Sarah Butler, Santa Fe, 22:08:36

No. 90, Emma Singletary, Memorial, 22:16:18

No. 91, Baylee Thien, Edmond North, 22:16:50

No. 92, Kylie Boggs, Edmond North, 22:17:56

No. 99, Marin Rhodes, Memorial, 22:48:92

No. 103, Claire Hall, Santa Fe, 23:06:54

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