Lady Trojans Cross Country Team Runs To Program’s 15th State Championship

By Mike Moguin
GTR Sports Writer

Courtesy Jenks High School Athletic Department
CHAMPIONS: From left, Coach Rachael Graddy, Ryann Barber, Delaney Ferguson, Shelby Kihega, Anna Bowler, Gabby Vargus, Tarryn Lowry, Paige Twiehaus, Avery Mazzei, Deborah Mazzei, and Coach Lindsay Taylor celebrate after winning the Class 6A girls cross country state championship in November.

Twins Avery and Deborah Mazzei have been running together for a long time. So, you can bet they train with each other on a daily basis.
“We’re always holding each other accountable,” Deborah said.
The girls encourage each other to be consistent at doing their calisentics on a daily basis.
The Mazzei sisters were key in helping Jenks win the Class 6A girls state cross country championship on Nov. 2 in Edmond.
Avery Mazzei was runner-up with a time of 18:30.44, finishing less than half a minute behind Payton Hinkle of Broken Arrow, top individual medalist at 18:03.44.
Deborah Mazzei was fifth, timed at 19:18.76.
The Lady Trojans won the meet with 53 points. Owasso was second with 91.
Other runners scoring for Jenks were Shelby Kihega (13th, 19:39.96), Ryann Barber (16th, 19:50.21) and Tarryn Lowry (27th, 20:14.42).
“It feels pretty great,” Avery said. “We just give all the glory to God and we are thankful that we have great coaches that help us and push the team, and that we have such a young team of great girls.”
“It is really nice because we all wanted the same thing – to win state,” Deborah said. “And so it was really nice being able to push each other and to keep that goal in mind all season long.”
The state championship is the Lady Trojans’ 15th in program history and first since 2012.
“It is definitely awesome,” Deborah said.
“It’s a great honor that we’re able to see our names on the trophy and on the wall and that we contributed to the victory,” Avery said. “We also like that the other girls on the team got to experience this.”
“We were able to bless everyone on the team,” Deborah said. “Because we’re all working together. We helped them win. They helped us win. So, together, we all blessed each other.
“It was so cool. We always want to run together and compete, and like push each other” Deborah said. “It’s really nice to be close to each other and doing really good.”
“It’s a lot better than what we did last year,” Avery said. “We were definitely closer to each other this year than we were last year and we trained closer together better.”
The Mazzei sisters, who also run track in the spring, come from a running family. They have three older siblings – one sister and two brothers – who also run.
Running together while growing up as twins has been nice, both sisters said.
“We always get to run with each other, we always have someone to run with,” Deborah said. “We’re always together. We always have each other to do everything with, so it’s so nice. We really enjoy it.”
“If I don’t do something, she’ll encourage me to do it,” Avery said. “Then if she doesn’t, I’ll encourage her to do it.”
“Or even if we’re just running and is having a really hard day, we’re like, “Come on Deborah,’ or ‘Come on Avery, you got this,’” Deborah said.
With two more years ahead, this duo hopes to bring more state titles to the Trojan trophy case.
“If we can get first or second again and get multiple teammates in the top 10, it would be so cool,” Deborah said. “We hope to do the same thing in track.”
“We want to help out as much as we can, because the better we do, it will help out our team,” Avery said.
Both girls also said they love their coaches.

Trojan Quick Hits
As of submission of the story, the Trojan football team was preparing to meet Owasso in the Class 6AI state final, which is scheduled for Dec. 7 at Wantland Stadium, located on the campus of the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.
Jenks is in the state final for the second straight season. It lost to Broken Arrow in last year’s title game. It finished the regular season in third place in District 6AI-1 and overcame a three-game losing streak in September with regular season finish of 6-4.
The team is now 8-4 after a pair of dominating wins over Mustang (55-28) and Moore (48-20) in the playoffs. The Trojans will be seeking to knock off the Rams (12-0), who are ranked No. 1 in Class 6AI.
The teams have not played since 2017, the year of Owasso’s last state title. Jenks will be gunning for its first state championship since Keith Riggs took over the coaching reins from the legendary coach Allen Trimble, 14th in a 24-year period and 17th overall.