Bud Davis Invite goes on despite depleted field
By Diego James Robles
Special to the Navajo Times
TUBA CITY, Ariz., October 18, 2012
A lthough some high schools decided not to bring their A team to the Tuba City High School's Bud Davis Invitational, those runners who participated did bring their A game to the famous Tuba City Hill.
Amid the chaos of homecoming preparations, several local high and junior high schools in and around the Navajo Nation competed in the cross-country meet on a cold and cloudy morning last Friday.
Named after Tuba City's coach in the 1970s, the Bud Davis Invitational featured a little more than half a dozen high schools and for the first time, it featured a few junior high teams. Of note was the absence of several schools' varsity runners. Many teams, including host Tuba City saved their top runners for the Doug Conley Cross Country Invitational, which was held the next day, in Tempe, Ariz.
"We ran our second five because we're running our top seven in the Doug Conley," Tuba City coach Arvis Myron said. "It takes almost a year to organize this event so we are here even though most of the teams are like us. We're saving our varsity team for (the Doug Conley meet)."
Event organizers early on feared that the looming cold front would make the races and overall event uncomfortable for runners and spectators alike. However, with the exception of a few light showers in the women's varsity race, the weather proved to be an asset and welcomed change to many veteran runners of the meet.
Greyhills Academy coach Annette Hemstreet and her runners welcomed the damp and slightly cold conditions.
"My runners like running in the rain when it's cool like this because in Tuba, we normally run in the heat, so it's kinda of a nice home meet for us too," Hemstreet said.
One person who didn't mind the wind and rain was freshman Ganado High school runner, Nikesha Eagleman. Competing in her first Bud Davis Invitational, Eagleman, 14, crushed the varsity competition and finished a full 30 seconds faster than her closest competitor.
"It was pretty hard because of the rain and the wind and that Tuba City Hill was pretty tough too because it's like at the end so (by that time) you used up all your energy through the race," Eagleman said. "My mom and dad pushed me through the whole season and I'd like to thank then for that."
Eagleman started running when she was in the third grade and thanks to a strict running regiment and great discipline few around her were surprised when she stormed into the track, the final leg of the race, alone and seemingly unfazed by the cold rain.
Although he was initially surprised by his daughter's success earlier in her career, Jarrell Eagleman knew it was Nikesha when the announcer said a lone Ganado runner was approaching the track.
"It's amazing what she's doing because of all that hard work," Eagleman said. "She does a lot of mileage, speed-work, trains right and knows what to eat."
Valley High School senior Corey Quigley, 17, was arguably the first runner out of the gate in the men varsity race and he and his pink headband were the first to finish it as well. The tall runner representing the Sanders area had a strong opening start before being caught by the field on top of the famous hill.
"The first mile was easy and the second mile when we started going up the hill it killed me so I tried to take off fast in the first mile cause I knew I couldn't do it," Quigley said. "But then, down the hill I ran all the way down and really pulled away."