Crossing the finish line: How the Mustang Broncos adjusted to new philosophies on route to five golds, first-ever state championship

Spring Sports, Track & Field, Track & Field

Trey Hunter

May 21, 2024
The Mustang Broncos celebrate their Class 6A state championship victory on Saturday, March 11, 2024, at Western Heights High School. (Photo provided)

OKLAHOMA CITY – Mustang athletic director Robert Foreman checked in with first-year coach Shannon Atkinson a few times throughout the fall and winter, looking to gauge the track and field teams’ chances this spring.

Atkinson and his staff never wavered on their squads’ potential. They expressed their championship aspirations and as each meeting passed, they were even more convinced of how everything would shake out.

“We told him our goal was to get them to the state championship as a team and get them on the podium,” Atkinson said. “We weren’t sure during that first visit if we could actually win the team title, but about midway through the offseason, you could see the excitement start to build.”

As Jordan Atkinson (Jr.) crossed the finish line to capture the 200-meter dash state title and as teammate Kamyah Penn (So.) followed in seventh place on March 11 at Western Heights High School, the Broncos immediately began to celebrate.

MHS had officially pulled away from the second-place Jenks Trojans to secure its first-ever Class 6A team state championship.

“We had a feeling that if Jenks didn’t go crazy in the mile, we had it wrapped up. We had been placing better than we had predicted in a lot of areas and then Jordan does what she does and goes out there and completely dominates with Penn scoring behind her.

“At that point we started the celebration because we knew there was no way they could catch us.”

Atkinsons’ 200-meter win was one of five individual golds taken home by the Broncos on Saturday. She finished with a personal best and new school record time of :23.75 in the finals while Penn clocked in at 25.06.

Atkinson also won her third straight state championship in the 100-meter dash, clocking in at :11.74 in the finals, which was good for a new school record and stands as the nation’s best time in the event this year.

Jordan Atkinson (Jr.) won the state championship in both the 100-meter and 200-meter dash on Saturday, May 11, 2024, at Western Heights High School in Oklahoma City. Atkinson’s performance helped lead the Mustang Broncos to their first-ever team state title. (Photo provided)

Emily Cloutier (Sr.), who set the Oklahoma state record in the pole vault earlier this season, capped her high school career with a state championship. She cleared the 12’08” mark, which was over one foot higher than second place Alisondra Pope of Moore.

“It got to the point this season where it became evident Emily was chasing something nobody else was chasing,” Shannon Atkinson said. “She wasn’t showing up to meet concerned about who she was jumping against, she would show up concerned about only the bar.

“Meets would pretty much shut down so everyone could watch to see how high she could go. She is just a phenomenal athlete.”

Kassidi Watkins (Jr.) won her second state championship in the long jump, hitting the 20’01.5” mark on her best jump of the day. She won the state title as a freshman with a jump of 18’10”.

Emily Cloutier (Sr.) captured the 6A state championship in the pole vault on Saturday, May 11, 2024, at Western Heights High School in Oklahoma City. She set the Oklahoma state record in the event earlier this season. (Photo provided)

“She is one of the best ever in the state and continues to grow in that event,” Atkinson said. “She went from being a state champ to struggling as a sophomore to coming back as a junior and becoming one of the nation’s best. She is an awesome athlete, staple of the program, and I don’t even think we’ve seen the best of her yet.”

Lauren Coleman (Sr.), Watkins, Penn, and Atkinson, who went undefeated during the entire season, put an exclamation point on Mustang’s championship victory, finishing with a :46.67 in the 4×100-meter relay to win Mustang’s fourth event.

“They were just dominant all season,” Shannon Atkinson said. “Lauren and Kassidi were solid as the first two legs all season and Penn showed she is really someone people need to keep an eye on. And then by the time it got to Jordan it was over. She only had to come from behind in one race this season.”

Atkinson was also thrilled with the team’s final event.

Although Watkins, Moriah Young (So.), Jaylin Adams (Sr.), and Jordan Atkinson placed third in the 4×400-meter relay, they posted one of the best times in the state at 3:54.68, putting an “exclamation point” on Mustang’s championship victory.

“We told them it was time for a curtain call,” Shannon Atkinson said. “The top three times were the fastest in Oklahoma this season. Getting third with a 3:54.68 is insane.

“But usually by the time our meets get to the 4×400, everyone is wiped out and ready to go home. Not this weekend, they were obviously on their feet and excited to celebrate the team championship.”


The Broncos placed in seven events, including the discus throw, high jump, 400-meter dash, 800-meter run, 100- and 300-meter hurdles, and 4×200-meter relay,

Watkins added an eighth-place finish in the 400-meter dash to her pair of gold medals in the long jump and 4×100-meter relay. She finished with a time of :58.97.

Cloutier also added to her medal count with a T-6 in the high jump, clearing the five-foot mark. Rachel Spencer (Jr.) finished fifth, clearing the same mark on her first try. Lauren Young (Fr.) also finished T-6.

Adams, who is heading to the University of Tulsa, finished in the top five of both hurdles events. She finished third in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of :44.46 and fifth in the 100-meter hurdles, clocking in at :14.95.

Kassidy Watkins (Jr.) won her second state championship in the long jump at the Class 6A State Championship Meet on Saturday, May 11, 2024, at Western Heights High School in Oklahoma City. Watkins also won a state title on the 4×100-meter relay team and placed T-6 in the high jump. (Photo provided)

Arionna McElroy (Sr.), who was fresh off helping lead the Mustang slow pitch softball team to a state championship earlier in the week, took home a bronze medal in the discus throw. She launched a toss of 134’04” on her third throw.

Kendall Howell (Sr.) scored distance points for the Broncos, finishing sixth in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:17.18. The 4-200-meter relay team of Coleman, Young, Ateezah Churchwell, and Penn finished fourth, clocking in at 1:41.16.


Atkinson was quick to point out how hard the team’s assistant coaches worked throughout the year. He was also quick to praise the support his squads received from parents and the booster club.

“I’d like to thank and highlight Tyler Thompson, Darius Thompson, Elijah Edwards, Lyn Hepner, Luke Roush, Ashley Pipkin, and Natasha Heupel. They are all good people with big hearts.

Arionna McElroy (Sr.) placed third in the discus throw at the 2024 Class 6A State Championship Meet on Saturday, May 11, 2024, at Western Heights High School in Oklahoma City. McElroy also helped lead the Mustang slow pitch softball team to a state title earlier in the week. (Photo provided)

“I think that is what is most important aside from their coaching abilities. They are all fun to be around and we definitely enjoyed sitting around after practices and chatting about life outside of track and having our celebratory Dr. Peppers. They mean a lot to me, and I definitely appreciate and love them.”

He also credited the state title to his athletes’ parents.

“The parents and booster club were just amazing. We would love to continue having that type of support as we continue to grow the program.

“You can’t win a state championship without great athletes, parent support, and a great coaching staff.”

Published by trey hunter

Trey Hunter is the owner and publisher of the Mustang Sports Review. He graduated from Mustang High School in 2006 before graduating from the University of Central Oklahoma with a journalism degree in 2011. He has covered Mustang sports for multiple publications as well as high school sports and professional basketball for other outlets. Contact Trey for story ideas or reach out with information. PHONE: (405) 659-9898 EMAIL:

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