Entering the state championship, Kayla O'Connell, a senior from Morenci, was ranked third in Division 4 and 42 seconds behind junior Jessica Madrid from Round Valley, who had the fastest time in Division 4. However, that did not stop O'Connell from winning her first state championship.
O'Connell, in the final race of her cross country career, crossed the line first at the state championship, running a 19:57.80, capping off an impressive high school career. Madrid finished just behind O'connell, finishing second and running a 19:59.20. Madrid will return next year with her sights set on capping her high school career with a state championship, like O'Connell.
Sophomore Madeline McBee from Glendale Prep Academy, who entered the state championship ranked fourth, finished third, running a 20:04.20. McBee improved upon her personal best in 2020 by 58 seconds, running a 19:39.90 as she won the Rose Mofford Sectional race. McBee should be in contention to win a state championship in the next two years.
Northland Preparatory Academy dominated the team race at the state championship, scoring just 54 points to win the team title. Northland averaged a 21:16 and posted an impressive 37 second 1-5 split, which ultimately catapulted this team to a win. Northwest Christian finished second and Glendale Prep Academy finished third.
Senior Gracie Tipton from North Phoenix Prep finished second at the 2019 state championships but did not compete in the event in 2020. In fact, Tipton only appeared in one race in 2020, which was The Phoenix Classic Showdown at Sundown on October 23rd. Tipton raced to a 18:53.00 and placed third. The performance was good enough for the second-fastest time in Division 4. Tipton would have been in the mix to win the state championship if she competed, but still wraps up an impressive high school career with the 38th fastest time in Arizona in just a race in 2020.
Senior Kirsten Denbleyker from Valley Christian was the fifth and final Division 4 girl to run a sub-20-minute performance. Denbleyker, who finished 9th at the state championship race, ran a 19:51.80 and placed 22nd at the Chandler City Meet. Denbleyker wraps up her high school career, having qualified for the cross country state championship all four years.