Jefferson’s Brady Sigler was a proud coach, but not a totally surprised one.

His top runner, Riley Thornton, finished as Class AAA boys’ runner up at Saturday’s state meet, edging East Jackson standout Shane Shelafoe, who had beaten Thornton in each head-to-head meeting previously this year.

“I was slightly surprised but not greatly,” Sigler said of Thornton’s finish.

Thornton, who set the tone with a faster first mile than expected, recorded a time of 16:27.90 in his second-place showing, eight seconds behind state champion Devan Crow from North Hall (16:19.19). Shelafoe took third with a time of 16:33.05. Crow and Shelafoe were the top two ranked runners in Class AAA for most of the year.

“His training, it got better every week and he’s gotten closer to those elite guys every week,” Sigler said of Thornton.

Sigler also pointed to a key moment in the race. When Crow surged on the last mile of the race, Shelafoe tried to keep pace with Crow, while Thornton didn’t. Shelafoe was unable to stay with the North Hall star. Thornton, due to staying back and not expending that energy, had enough in the tank in the end to overtake Shelafoe.

But Sigler also said that Thornton steadily improved over the course of the season.

“I think he’s just improved that much,” Sigler said. “His time on that course was outstanding.”

For the rest of this story, see the Nov. 7 edition of The Jackson Herald.

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