Window Rock sophomore wins Miyamura meet

(Times photo - Donovan Quintero)

Runners jockey for position on Saturday at the Miyamura Invitational in Gallup.

By Sunnie Clahchischiligi
Navajo Times

GALLUP, Sept. 19, 2013

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(Times photo – Donovan Quintero)

Tohatchi’s Lane Begay, right, makes one final charge at the finish line as he beats Justin Begay of Shiprock at the Miyamura cross-country meet in Gallup.




Rolling hills are Nathaniel Henio's allies.

The Window Rock High School distance runner uses them to deplete his opponents, just as he did at the Miyamura Invitational held Sept. 14, where he ran a 14:56 for the individual win in the boy's race.

Henio said it was all about strategy and mental preparation.

"Every time I climbed a hill I went hard -- that's how I burn out my opponents," he said. "(I like) to think I'm smarter than my opponents and actually know my competition."

Henio said he connected with the other New Mexico runners who gave him the skinny on runners to look out for during the meet. He said it played a huge factor in his victory.

"That's what really helped me out here," he said. "Now I'm focusing on people who are close to my talent."

The sophomore runner said he spent most of his summer running hills in high altitudes, which also might have helped him.

While most of the course factors were in his favor, the length wasn't.

Due to a measuring device failure the course was about 200 meters short of 3.1 miles, something Henio isn't used to.

"It was a really fast course," he said. "I'm really a long-distant runner than short-distance runner, that's what was really hard for me."

Zuni, which placed five runners in the top 18, won the team title with 48 points. The T-Birds were paced by Alex Eustace's fourth-place finish. The junior finished the race in 16:00.

The T-birds also got a seventh place effort from Tre' Riley (16:02), an eighth place finish from Jeron Chavez (16:28), 10th place run by Ty Pinto (16:31) and an 18th place finish from Cody Latone (16:54) to complete the team score.

Miyamura, the meet's host, came in second place with 94 points ahead of Gallup (100), Window Rock (115), Shiprock (117) Kirtland Central (208), Wingate (232), Los Lunas (257), Crownpoint (286) and Tohatchi (302).

For Miyamura, sophomore runner Niles Thomas finished in second place after finishing with a time of 15:05.

Thomas said he had a successful start as he quickly made his way in front of the pack.

He said he spent most of the race head-to-head with Shiprock's Shawvan Levi for the second and third position, but he wasn't going to let Levi finish ahead of him.




Levi won the Rehoboth Christian School meet the weekend before and Thomas was out for vengeance.

"I was finally able to pass him about a mile coming this way," Thomas said. "I just wanted to beat him because he beat me last week."

But that's not what Levi was worried about.

The lead runner for the Chieftains said he had his eyes set on defeating Henio, but a rough start didn't help him.

"I was kind of worried about the Window Rock guy so I took off after him É I took off kind of late," Levi said.

Levi said he started to move up toward Henio just after the mile mark, but as he tried to make his move to the front something went wrong.

He said his right hamstring began to tighten and he was left to keep his pace behind Henio and finish strong.

"That's when I just started slowing down and I just started sticking with Niles," Levi said. "It's not the place I wanted to be but it's alright."

Other top finishers include Gallup's Alex Taylor, who came in fifth place with a time of 16:00. Montana Miller (16:01) of Thoreau came in next followed by Wingate's Arlo Enoah (16:03).

With a time of 16:39, Tristan Jones nabbed 11th place honors ahead of Crownpoint's Rondale Begay (16:39), Domonic Crosby (16:43) of Shiprock, Leighton Quintana (16:43) of Window Rock and Myron Ramirez of Gallup (16:44).

Contact Sunnie Clahchischiligi sports@navajotimes.com.

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