Page girls earn state title, Tuba boys take second
By Quentin Jodie
PHOENIX, November 8, 2012
(Special to the Times – Donovan Quintero)
T he tempo of the race seemed to favor the Mingus girls' cross-country team during Saturday's Division III state championship race.
The Lady Marauders placed two runners – Skyler Storie and Courtney Lewis – in the top five.
But in their rearview mirrors, the outcome for the team championship had a different take as Page gobbled up in the next three slots.
Senior Jayde Secody escorted in teammates Nicolette Coleman and Nicole Douglas as the Sand Devils stole the momentum.
"They're my seniors," Page coach MacArthur Lane said. "They knew what they had to do to get the victory today. That was where we needed them."
The Sand Devils then placed its next two runners – Tomeka Church (18th) and Jordan Roskelley (23rd) – ahead of Mingus' fifth runner to capture its third state title in four years with 51 points. Mingus came in a close second with 58.
"We wanted to leave everything we got out there," Secody said, who finished the 5K race in 19:58, six seconds ahead of Coleman and eight seconds faster than Douglas. "This was our last year so we wanted to run our best.
"It's a relief that we ended this season on top," she added.
Secody said the strategy was to set the pace for her teammates.
"That was the goal," Douglas said. "We wanted to keep up with Jayde and stay as close as we can during the race."
"We wanted this," Coleman added. "I was real happy with the way we ran."
Lane said the three seniors made a commitment at the end of last season to do everything they could to capture the state title after losing by a mere three points to Chinle.
"They wanted this one so bad since we lost a real close race last year," Lane said. "But with five returnees their experience showed a lot today."
Mingus coach Lisa Rach said she felt that the race could have gone either way, but she said Page was just the better team.
"My girls fought real hard," she said. "But Page pulled it together and ran a great race."
With 110 points, Chinle finished in third place in the team standings and got a podium appearance from senior Deriann Yazzie. The Chinle senior finished in 12th place with a time of 20:24.1
Teammate Tamarie Tracey finished six seconds back and placed 15th overall.
Window Rock, which was paced Yanabah Jaques, came in 10th place in the team standing with 266 points.
With a time of 20:49, Jaques finished 19th overall while teammate Danielle Smiley took up 45th place with a 21:42.
As a team Tuba City came in 12th place behind the 24th place finish from Brianna Loughran (21:03).
Individually, Shayla Tate (20:24) represented Monument Valley with an 11th-place finish.
Unlike the girls' race, the team title in the boys section was decided early as Rio Rico packed five runners in the top ten.
With that the Hawks finished the meet with 29 points and outpaced Tuba City for the championship. The Warriors finished a distant second with 73 points while Chinle finished in fourth place with 110 markers.
"We beat them at the Twilight meet (last month), but they were ready to race," Tuba City coach Arvis Myron said of the Rio Rico team.
"At the mile and half more they had all their five guys together and our boys were right behind them," Myron said. "I knew they were going to push the pace and what they did was phenomenal."
Rio Rico was led by Robert Contreras as the senior crossed the finish line in 16:02 and trailed defending Division III state champ Jake Wynn of Saguaro by four seconds.
"There was a concerted effort and the guys raced aggressively," Rio Rico coach Stephen Schadler said.
The second-year coach said this year's championship was a culmination of the work done by his predecessor.
"A lot of credit goes to Rodger Bristow," Schadler said. "He was the coach for seven years and the foundation he laid played a significant part in today's performance."
That spectacular performance entailed four scoring members finishing ahead of Tuba City's lead athlete, Shawn Tsinnijinnie.
The soft-spoken senior finished in ninth place overall with a time of 16:28. Teammate Alonzo Thompson (16:52) came in 16th and followed immediately by senior Kyle Nutumya (16:54) and Eddie Loughran (17:00). Tuba City's Albert Fuller (17:07) completed the team score in 23rd.
"It was not a good day," Nutumya said. "Out of my four years this was the best season we had and we had a strong chance of finishing first.
"We knew Rio Rico would be our competition and they were just too tough for us," he added. "They had the mindset of winning and they had the legs for it. We gave it our all and we tried, but they were one step ahead of us."
Meanwhile, Chinle was paced by senior Searle Tracey. He ended his prep cross-country season with third-place honors, which was the best finish for the area runners in Division III.
"This was the most competitive field in the state of Arizona." Tracey said. "It was hard to imagine that but this was challenging."
The Wildcats also had a 22nd place effort turned in by Myron Chee (17:04). He finished two places ahead of teammate Brandon Bia (17:11).
In the team standings, Page finished in fifth place with 125 points and had two runners place in the top 12. The Sand Devils were led by senior Amman Secody (16:26) and sophomore Jeffrey Miller (16:39) as they finished in ninth and 12th place respectively.
The Winslow Bulldogs got a 17th-place effort from Kevin Decker and finished sixth in the team standings with 220 points.
Window Rock finished two places back with 254 points. The Scouts were paced by the overall fifth-place finisher Binahnii Curley.
"I was so nervous," Curley said. "With this being state it was time to leave everything on the course. I didn't want to hold back so I tried to stay up there in the with the pack."