Host team earns first place at Gallup Invite

By Quentin Jodie
Navajo Times

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

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(Times photo – Quentin Jodie)

Tisha Zunie of Zuni shows her emotions after completing the 3-mile race at the Gallup Invitational on Oct. 5. Zunie finished ahead of Gallup’s Paige Dale, Thoreau’s Avery Sanders and Hannah Antone of Navajo Prep.



After testing the waters with some of the state powers as well as a couple of out-of-state meets, the Gallup girls cross-country team participated in its second local meet this year.

Gallup coach Galen Martinez has made it a point to schedule those meets as a way to prepare his clubs for some of the bigger meets this year. Saturday's Gallup Invitational was one of them as the host team scored 71 points to take this year's title.

"The girls ran great," Martinez said. "We haven't done anything as far as hill workouts but they ran strong. I could see some weaknesses that we need to work on but they will come."

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Race results

In addition to winning the girls team title, Gallup took home the traveling trophy, which combines the team scores from both the girls and boys, J.V. and varsity scores.

Jade Thompson paced the Lady Bengals with a second-place finish as she finished behind event winner Annoesika Laughlin of Navajo Pine. Laughlin crossed the finish line in 19:52 while Thompson completed the 3-mile sandy course in 20:31.

"I was ready to run this course," said Laughlin, who captured her fifth straight title. "Everyday after practice my dad took me out to run in the sand for about 10 to 15 minutes."

Thompson said the game plan going into the race was to work on PRs as well as improve on their pack time.

"Our goal was to win the team title but we were trying to get our pack time down," Thompson said.

That they did as the Bengals finished with a split time of 1:37. Gallup had its entire scoring members place in the top 25 with Thompson leading the way.

Paige Dale (21:21) was Gallup's next best finishers as she place 11th followed by Beatrice Jones (21:39) 20th, Jessica Ramirez (21:43) 22nd, and Deedra Cadman (21:48) 25th. With 87 points, the Window Rock Scouts finished second as a team.

The Scouts placed two runners in the top 10 with Hannah Smiley garnering sixth place with a time of 20:53 and Chamique Duboise (21:12) holding down the ninth spot. Other scoring members included Miriam Deschine (21:29) 16th, Danielle Smiley (21:44) 23rd and Jade Goodwell (23:12) 43rd.




"Our top four girls have been running a strong pack," Window Rock coach Steven Fabina said. "Most of the season they have been within a minute of each other. The one thing we've been stressing all season long for the girls is we need someone to step up as our No. 5 to close the gap."

In Saturday's race, they closed that gap time down to 2:19.

"Jade stepped it up," Fabina said. "Each week our goal is to bring our pack time and we're getting there."

Grants, which got a seventh and eighth place effort from twins Wynona (20:55) and Winona Martin (21:11), finished the meet in fourth place in the team standings with 107 points.

"The Martin twins ran real well today," Grants coach Bob Vandiver said. "Wynona beat out Winona today and they finished very close together. That's very good. They have a sibling rivalry going on."

In the team standings, the Pirates finished ahead of Zuni (122), Navajo Prep (134), Rehoboth (151), Wingate (158), Ramah (215), Thoreau (235), Crownpoint (296) and Tohatchi (355).

Individually, Rehoboth's Shannon Begay (20:43) beat out Wingate's Karianne Jones (20:49) and Chanel Scott (20:50) for third place.

Rounding out the top 10 was Zuni's Tishie Zunie as she crossed the finish line in 21:16.

"Our girls are slowly coming together," Zuni coach Chris Carroll said. "You know when they see the boys win all their meets they want to be part of that action."

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