Tuba City, Hopi open season with impressive wins
By Quentin Jodie
KEAMS CANYON, Ariz., August 30, 2012
(Times photo – Paul Natonabah)
A growing rivalry got some local fans into the cross-country season as Hopi once again played host to an early Arizona season meet.
And just like they did in the 2011 state championship season, the Lady Bruins came in to take the victory.
The Lady Bruins, who scored 64, bested Page, 69, to win the team title on the girl's side, while Tuba City placed five runners in the top 11 in the boys' race.
Tuba City racked up 34 points as a team and finished well ahead of Page (68) in the 14-team field on a scorching sunny day Tuesday afternoon at the Hopi Jr./Sr. High.
Senior Shawn Tsinnijinnie paced the Warriors by touring the 3.1-mile course in 17:03.
"We are way ahead of schedule compared to last year," said Tuba City coach Arvis Myron. "Most of the kids ran during the summer and they did their homework. It showed the first day of practice and I think it showed here again because they really stayed together."
After Tsinnijinnie, the Warriors got a fifth-place effort from Eddie Loughran (17:51), a seventh-place finish from Kyle Nutumya (18:02) and a 10th- and 11th-place showing from Alonzo Thompson (18:12.05) and Kyle Sumatzkuku (18:12.55) respectively.
"Anytime you can get that many runners in the top eleven that is very good," Myron said. "But what we want to do is key on each other as teammates and not really worry about where we finish."
The Tuba City coach said they are finally realizing that it takes seven good runners to make a team.
Tsinnijinnie concurred with that assessment.
"We did great as a team and that's a lot better than having an individual (title)," he said. "Last year we had some bad races and that's bound to happen, but our team is like a brotherhood."
Individually, Window Rock got a second-place finish from senior Binahnii Curley (17:22) finishing 19 seconds behind Tsinnijinnie.
"I am surprised that I placed that high," said Curley, who joined the cross-country team this year. "
Jeffrey Miller (17:40) of Page finished third ahead of Chinle's Searle Tracey (17:45). Eddie Loughran finished in fifth followed by Julian Cly (17:56) of Tuba City finished in sixth place. Northland Prep placed two runners in the top nine with Collen Hamblen (18:10) finishing ahead of Jon Hall (18:11).
Other top finishers include Hopi's Anferenee Howard (18:23), Winslow's Kevin Decker (18:28), Page's Tyron Yazzie (18:35.18) and Winslow's Austin Tsosie (18:35.58).
The Sand Devils took up the next three spots with Amman Secody (18:44) finishing ahead of Xiaija Schuldies (18:46) and Justin Littleman (18:50).
"Our pack time was pretty tight but a lot of my boys were ill," said Page coach MacArthur Lane. "But I am really exciting with where they ran. We just need to continue to make progress because we have a long way to go."
In the team race, Winslow finished in the third place with 102 points ahead of Chinle (134), Hopi finished fifth (161), Holbrook placed sixth (199), followed by Northland Prep (203), Window Rock (227), Many Farms (229), Monument Valley (254), Red Mesa (261) Ganado (274) and Valley (441).
After it was all said and done, the team title came down to Hopi's fifth runner. The Bruins held off Page despite getting a first-place effort from senior Jayde Secody.
"For our first race I thought they ran extremely well," said Hopi coach Laverne Lomakema. "We're still trying to get most of the team into conditioning shape and we've only been practicing for a few weeks."
When asked about the significances of winning the team title, Lomakema said it's too early to start making predictions.
"We do have a lot of tradition but you can never overlook anybody," she said. "It's the first meet of the season and I don't know if all the teams that were here were at full strength."
Page was one of those teams as Secody crossed the finish line with a nagging cough.
"We're all sick," said Secody, who crossed the finish line in 21:27. "The flu is running around so all of our throats hurt."
At the midway point of the race, Secody started to pull away from the pack but at the end she withstood a late charge from Ganado's Nikesha Eagleman, who was clocked in at 21:33.
"I just kept the same pace but at the end I had to pick it up," she said.
Shayla Tate of Monument Valley came in third with a time of 21:54 ahead of Hopi's Christen Ben (22:02) and Ganado's Daangoiina Haven (22:12).
Two Page runners led the next five with Nichole Douglas (22:21) finishing ahead of Nicolette Coleman (22:29). Tuba City's Brianna Loughran (22:38) came in eighth followed by Valley's Chelena Betoney (22:42) and Hopi's Kaitlin Billy (22:50).
In the team results, Northland Prep finished in third place with 100 points ahead of Ganado (108), Chinle (109), Tuba City (170), Winslow (216), Alchesay (228), Monument Valley (254), Window Rock (266), Many Farms (298) Valley (305) and Red Mesa (345).