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Final Four run earns Alamo Navajo COY award

Final Four run earns Alamo Navajo COY award

(Editor’s note: The Navajo Times All-Stars for football will be released in next week’s issue.)


Nobody didn’t expect much from the Alamo Navajo volleyball team at this year’s state playoffs.

As one of the lower seeded teams for the New Mexico Class 1A state volleyball tournament, the Lady Cougars put the school on the map with a Final Four finish under second-year coach Danielle Gordon.

She was named coach of the year along with Rock Point’s Kyle Arthur and Laguna-Acoma’s Esther Lorenzo as the latter two coached their teams to another state title.

“I just feel very grateful to have the opportunity to even coach in the first place,” Gordon said. “Sports is a big thing for me and to be a part of that for the girls is just amazing.

“I’m grateful to even be considered,” she added.

Courtesy photo
The Alamo Navajo volleyball team surprised the Class 1A field with a Final Four finish under the tutelage of second-year coach Danielle Gordon. With that finish, Gordon was named the Times’ Coach of the Year.

The Gordon-coached team came in as the No. 11 seed and they knocked off No. 12 Ramah, No. 9 Santa Fe Waldorf and No. 3 Animas to reach the state semis against top-seed Melrose.

And although they were swept by Melrose, Alamo Navajo gained a lot of believer during its three-day run at the state playoffs.

“The girl wanted it, and they wanted to go in there and show what they got,” second-year Alamo Navajo coach Danielle Gordon said. “And the whole time everyone was asking, ‘Where’s Alamo Navajo?’ during the state tournament. You know, we showed them who Alamo Navajo was and it was really awesome to witness.”

Arthur guided the Rock Point Lady Cougars to a familiar place by winning the Arizona 1A state crown for the second year in a row.

This is Arthur’s second COY award and he gave credit to his players and assistant.

“I appreciate this, but like I said last year this is not an individual award,” he said. “It took a lot of hard work and it was a team effort and they all made it happen.

“I’m glad that we got the state championship again,” he added. “I mean, we won back-to-back titles and not too many schools can say that.”

Behind a hefty front-line, Lorenzo coached a senior-laden Laguna-Acoma team to another state title. With four players towering at least 5-foot-10, the Lady Hawks swept 2A powerhouse Texico in straight sets in the state finals.

“It’s bittersweet to see them leave. We won last year for our first state championship; to win it back-to-back, it’s that much sweeter,” Lorenzo said. “It means a lot to win back-to-back state titles and to have everyone out in our community. It means a lot to these girls to have the support and love they get.”

The recipients for the players of the year went to Rock Point’s Arianne Begay and Laguna-Acoma’s Silvia Gedmen.

“I’m really surprised that I got it,” Begay said. “I mean, they were a lot of other athletes out there.”

Arthur said his pupil deserved this recognition as his 6-foot-1 senior racked up 702 kills, 352 digs, 94 aces, 67 blocks and 29 assists.

“She’s a phenomenal player and everyone has seen that on the court,” the Rock Point coach said of Begay. “It was her senior year and she wanted to go out with a bang. She was one of the main components for us to go back-to-back.”

Gedmen, meanwhile, led a balanced LA team with 107 kills, 24 aces and 16 blocks.

Standing at 6-foot-2, the Laguna-Acoma middle hitter said she grew six inches since her eighth grade year and before she reached high school she was asked to join the volleyball and basketball teams at Laguna-Acoma High School.

“My eighth-grade year, I was getting recruited within my school because I was 5-8, 5-9,” she said. “They came to me and asked, ‘Do you want to play?’ And straight out, I said, “No!”. They said, ‘Give it two weeks. If you like it, then stay. But try it for now.’

“I like everything about playing—the sisterhood within the girls,” she added. “We just click. It feels good to have a side family—your home away from home to where you can be yourself and be around other people.”


Koolanna Apachito, Alamo Navajo

Hailey Apacito, Alamo Navajo

Elliana Guerro, Alamo Navajo

Sapphira Sandoval, Alamo Navajo

Madison Edwards, Aztec

Nizhoni Yellow, Aztec

Riley Engle, Aztec

Kelila Lewis, Aztec

Shaundiin Yazzie, Chinle

Qoah Yazzie, Chinle

Connie Burns, Chinle

Kaicee Pablo, Crownpoint

Arabela Balicat, Crownpoint

Jaliha Morgan, Crownpoint

Daliyah Morris, Gallup

Rylie Whitehair, Gallup

Seniah Haines, Gallup

Amya Hillis, Farmington

Linsey Yazzie, Farmington

Kamala Josheveama, Hopi

Melia Barlow, Hamilton

Macy Moore, Holbrook

Natalie Patterson, Holbrook

Tamryn Baldonado, Holbrook

Sylvia Gedman, Laguna Acoma

Bethany Mariano, Laguna Acoma

Geralynn Day, Laguna Acoma

Hailey Kelsey, Laguna Acoma

Jordyn Dugi, Millennium

Aaryanna Lansing, Kirtland Central

Emiala Clani, Kirtland Central

Shayonna Prettyboy, Kirtland Central

Quartilla Begay, Miyamura

Alysha Begay, Miyamura

Shantel Denetsosie, Monument Valley

Kaleilanamaria Maiava, Monument Valley

Adriana Dominquez, Monument Valley

Niaoma Benally, Monument Valley

Philena Hanley, Monument Valley, Utah

Shimequa Hudson, Monument Valley, Utah

Jessica Joe, Navajo Pine

Demetria Brown, Navajo Pine

Aniya Johnson, Navajo Prep

Maureen Ford, Navajo Prep

Layla Harrison, Navajo Prep

Leilani Charley, Pine Hill

Tenisha Alonzo, Pine Hill

Persayise Martine, Pine Hill

Delyla Denny, Piñon

Mileila Chieg, Piñon

Tiara Bennally, Ramah

Kennedy Gibbons, Ramah

McKenzie Jimenez, Ramah

Terilynn Charley, Ramah

Abigail Begaye, Red Mesa
Danika Chico, Red Mesa

Eden Sun, Rehoboth Christian

Emma Egan, Rehoboth Christian

Shaundeen Manygoats, Rehoboth Christian

Arianne Begay, Rock Point

June Yazzie, Rock Point

Taylyn Woody, Rock Point

Sasha Chee, Rock Point

Kamry Yazzie, Rock Point

Madisen Valdez, Santa Fe Indian

Shade Phae-Young, Santa Fe Indian

Maria Begay, Santa Fe Indian

Monica Joe, Shonto Prep

Jalin Perry, St. Michael

Kale Antone, St. Michael

Maria Calladitto, Thoreau

Collen Moses-Perry, Thoreau

Kiera Begay, Thoreau

Alyce Apachito, To’Hajiilee

Marisa Denetso, Tohatchi

Kayanna Capitan, Tohatchi

Crra Cecil, Tohatchi

Aliana Dugi, Tuba City

Lyrissa George, Tuba City

Ellyce Begay, Tuba City

Asia Sixkiller, Tuba City

Ragen Bilagody, Tuba City

Mattea Smith, Valley

Madison Yazzie, Valley

Kaelynn Nez, Valley

Shelby Vasku, Whitehorse

Alyssa Eltsosie, Whitehorse

Melicia Nelson, Window Rock
Corey Owens, Window Rock

Brynlee Barris, Winslow

Shaelene Singer, Winslow

Jausyn Nells, Winslow

Jaci Gonnie, Winslow

Elliana Lowsayatee, Zuni

About The Author

Quentin Jodie

Quentin Jodie is the Sports Editor for the Navajo Times. He started working for the Navajo Times in February 2010 and was promoted to the Sports Editor position at the end of summer in 2012. Previously, he wrote for the Gallup Independent. Reach him at


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