Miyamura’s Thomas sets high goal in cross-country

By Quentin Jodie
Navajo Times

GALLUP, Sept. 18, 2014

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(Times photo – Donovan Quintero)

Miyamura junior Niles Thomas turned some heads during the prestigious University of New Mexico Invitational by placing first on Sept. 6. Thomas raced against the top-flight runners in New Mexico and finished the 5K-course in 16:03.

If confidence will determine the outcome of this year’s Class 5A state cross-country meet, then Niles Thomas has already won.

The Miyamura junior didn’t skip a beat on Saturday during his school’s home meet, winning the 16-team invitational in 17 minutes, 16 seconds.

But in terms of pushing his running to new heights, Thomas really turned some heads during the prestigious University of New Mexico Invitational two weeks ago, which featured the top New Mexico runners regardless of class.

In one of the season’s strongest fields that included a few out of state teams, Thomas passed three runners in the final mile and won the 5K-race in 16:03.

“My goal at every race is to get a medal and to help get the word out that Miyamura has a good cross-country team,” Thomas said. “But I was really surprised that I won."

At the UNM meet, Thomas said he was hoping for a top five finish. But at the conclusion of the race he established himself as one of the state’s top-flight runners by outlasting a pair of Class 5A runners in Belen’s Aaron Valenzuela and Jordan Lansanee of Albuquerque Academy.

“Niles is an inspiration to this team and he is a really, really good kid,” Patriot coach Robert Torres said. “He’s also a good athlete, too. But I think he proved to himself that he could do just about anything.”

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