Chieftain boys earn fourth cross-country title of season

By Nicole Baker
Special to the Navajo Times

FARMINGTON, NM., October 5, 2012

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T he Totah Invite on Sept. 28 at Lyons Wilderness Park turned into a split decision.

Piedra Vista's Brandon Levi won his first meet of the season with a time of 16:56, with teammate Harrison Fleming a close third with a time of 17:14.

But coming between the Panthers was Shiprock sophomore Shawvan Levi who took second with a time of 17:11 to lead the Chieftains to their fourth team title this season, just edging out the Panthers by four points, 54 to 58.

"I wanted to see how it would be to keep up with Brandon," said Shawvan Levi. "It was really challenging to stick with him…It's hard to hang with Brandon on the hills.He runs like he's not even tired on the hills. A couple of times I wanted to give up. I just had to push myself for the team."

"It was a good meet," said Shiprock coach Brian Paniagua. "To come out with a win over Piedra Vista on their home course is pretty big."

Helping out the Chieftains was senior Eric Williams with a fifth place finish.

"The guys at the back are packing really well," said Paniagua. "They're not letting too many guys in there. If they keep that up we should have a good season."

David Wauneka led Navajo Prep with a sixth-place finish with teammate Kevin Hardy finishing in seventh to help the Eagles take third as a team.

The Chieftains will take to the road again on Saturday at the Santa Fe Indian meet.

"All of the top 3A teams will be competing," Paniagua said, noting that it will be a good measure of were the team is at. "There will be some tough teams that we're going to go up against. We're likely to see the same teams at state."

Paniagua predicted that the top five teams this Saturday will be the top five teams at the state meet next month.

On the girl's side, Monument Valley Lady Mustangs Shayla Tate and Shelby Tate packed a one-two punch, taking the top two spots respectively.

But, it was the Navajo Prep Lady Eagles taking the team honors, led by Amber Manuelito finishing in third place with a time of 21:55 with teammates Delta Higson in sixth and Hannah Antone in eighth.

Kerstin Ortiz led the Lady Panthers with a time of 22:04 for fourth while teammate Cassandra Crowell finished in seventh.

For the Lady Chieftains, Shandiin Yesslith was their lead runner with a time of 22:59 for 10th place.

Piedra Vista will compete on Saturday in Gallup .

"It was a good event," said PV coach Sampson Sage. "We're a young squad. We're figuring some things out right now. We're at the half way point, things are looking up."

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