Miyamura's Thomas outlasts WR's Henio for Gallup Invite title

By Quentin Jodie
Navajo Times

CHURCH ROCK, N.M., Oct. 10, 2013

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(Times photo – Quentin Jodie)

Miyamura sophomore Niles Thomas raises his hands up after winning the Gallup Invitational on Oct. 5 in Church Rock, N.M. Thomas completed the 3-mile course in 15:56.

Cross-country fans on Saturday got to see one of the greatest triumphs, where Miyamura's Niles Thomas defeated Nathaniel Henio of Window Rock at the Gallup Invitational.

After losing to Henio in their first encounter at the Miyamura meet on Sept. 14 by nine seconds, Thomas held off the Window Rock standout with a winning time of 15 minutes, 56 seconds.

"I am feeling pretty happy," Thomas said afterward. "I had a feeling that I could beat him. He (Henio) was the guy that I was focused on for this race."


Girls: Host team earns first place at Gallup Invite

Race results

For much of the 3-mile race, Thomas trailed Henio and Gallup's Alexander Taylor before he made his move in the final mile.

"I caught them on the flats," Thomas said. "I was glad that we did the hard part first."

"What Niles did was fantastic," Miyamura coach Robert Torres said. "I don't think that kid (Henio) has been beaten the whole year. Niles was after him today, he did an excellent job."

Torres said going into the race the strategy was to let the other runners "dictate the pace because Niles runs his best at the last mile."

"He's a smart runner," Torres said of Thomas. "He's doing it all on talent and we knew that he was destined for greatness."

Henio, who was clocked in at 15:59, said everybody performed well.

"I might be the unlucky one but the dude from Miyamura (Thomas) did very well," Henio said. "You know some people wanted to beat me and hey it's possible. I am just glad Niles did it today because when I run he doesn't leave me bored."

Zuni won the 14-team invite with 45 points by packing five of its scoring members in the top 17. They did that with a split time of 35 seconds.

"We've been doing very well this year and a lot of it's because we have a team concept going," Zuni coach Chris Carroll said. "They found out early on at the McGaffey scrimmage that 'hey this team can do something as a team.'"

Carroll said most teams have individual runners they expect to be out in front every time but in the case of his team it's someone different every week.

"There is no selfishness going on," he said. "They are supporting each other and because of that they push each other in practice and we've continued to win a lot of our meets."

As for their impressive pack time, Carroll says it's important to look at those numbers but it doesn't mean much if you don't have any frontrunners.

"You can have a split of 35 seconds but if your first runner is coming in at 22 minutes it's not going to mean much," he said. "Again it comes back to that team work ethic."

Senior Alex Eustace was Zuni's best finisher, coming in sixth with a time of 16:51 while teammates Jeron Chavez (17:00) and Tre' Riley (17:03) placed eighth and ninth, respectively.

Zuni also got some help from Ty Pinto (17:26) and Cody Latone (17:26) as the latter two finished in 11th and 17th place.

"Everybody is part of the team and every time we pass that finish line we know that we're doing something good," Eustace said. "We have high expectations."

Miyamura came in second in the team standings with 82 points with Thomas leading the way. The Patriots also got a 12th-place finish from Treston Chee (17:12), a 19th place effort from Arthur Reeder (17:28), a 23rd finish from Austin Smith (17:44) and a 37th place run from Ryan Begay (18:25).

The meets' host, meanwhile, finished in third place with 89 points with Taylor being the Bengals top runner. The Gallup senior crossed the finish line in third place with a time of 16:37.

Other top finishers for Gallup include Galvin Yazzie (17:24, 15th), James Woody (17:31, 21st), Miguel Ramirez (18:03, 28th) and Patrick Chee (18:10, 32nd).

"We've been running real close with Miyamura," Gallup coach Galen Martinez said. "We've been keying in on certain races and (last week) we had to prepare for this meet so it took its toll on us."

With 106 points, Window Rock placed fourth ahead of Navajo Prep (122), Rehoboth (178), Kirtland (179), Wingate (189), Navajo Pine (240), Crownpoint (267) and Tohatchi (271).

Along with Henio, the Scouts also got Leighton Quintana on the podium with a sixth place showing of 16:58.

"Nathaniel and Leighton ran a good race today," Window Rock coach Steven Fabina said. "And Leighton got in front of some of the Zuni and Gallup runners."

Other top 10 performers included Arlo Enoah (16:39) of Wingate in fourth, Keaton Duncan (16:50) of Grants in fifth and Kirtland Central's Aaron Bunny (17:06) in 10th.

Kirtland coach Lenny Esson said he expected Bunny to finish near the top and with the season at the midway mark he's hoping they are beginning to grasp the concept of learning how to run a race.

"We've been focusing on getting our base down," the first-year KC coach said, "but I am really satisfied with where the kids are right now."

Crownpoint coach Valina Hayden also saw some improvements with her team as they got 20th place finish from Rondale Begay (17:28)

"We are currently working on getting our boys to that next level so they can qualify for state," Hayden said. "We're getting closer and closer at meeting that goal with every meet."

Hayden said Begay has been consistently placing high at every meet and he's hoping to make state again.

On Saturday most of the area teams will be competing at the Zuni Invitational. Carroll said the meet will have 20 high schools participating as Zuni will be celebrating its 50th anniversary.

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