Shiprock High harriers kick their way to the front of the pack
Shiprock High School sophomore Khadija Lapahie has harbored a secret since the beginning of the cross-country season.
The secret was telling herself she wanted to win an individual district title, but knew it would take a lot to get there.
Last weekend, at the 4A District 1 meet hosted by Shiprock, Lapahie’s hope came true when she finished in first place in a time of 20 minutes, 26.6 seconds for the individual girls’ district title.
“Honestly, I was wanting it since the start. But at the beginning of the year I wasn’t really into it. I was kind of scared and I wasn’t into myself as I was before,” Lapahie said. “The past two weeks I started getting my motive back.”
Lapahie, much like the rest of the team, was motivated by the absence of the team’s lead runner, Destiny Rockwell, who was sidelined due to an injury.
Lapahie said she realized that with Rockwell out, she had to quickly change her mental game.
“I was like ‘I got to start taking it more serious,’” she said. “With Destiny out, I have to help the team out with this too.”
Lapahie had the smooth start she planned and stayed close with Navajo Preparatory School’s Shannus Becenti.
“My whole goal was to stay with Shannus the whole time so when she took off, I would try to, not take off with her but be a striking distance away,” Lapahie said.
As the two approached the two-mile mark, Lapahie used a hill to make her move and led the for the rest of the race.
Becenti, a freshman at Navajo Prep, entered the race without a plan.
She said she had the quick start she was used to and paced herself with Lapahie. And she did all of it without really thinking about it.
“I just do it, I don’t plan,” she said.
While Lapahie thriving on the hills, Becenti tried to play catch up and ended up finishing as the reserve champion with a time of 20:42.4, something she thought was an accomplishment.
“I was close but she got me,” she said. “I was excited I made second. I beat my last (race), which was 8th. It was good, I liked it.”
Having created a cozy place for herself at the tail end of the lead pack, T’yana Harry broke out of her shell and had her first third place finish. As the No. 2 runner for Shiprock, Harry finished the race in 20:46.9.