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Miyamura’s Benson aims for PRs at state meet


Tayan Benson took a personal best approach to the Class 4A state meet.

Navajo Times | Quentin Jodie
Miyamura senior Tayan Benson (2) took silver in the Class 4A 800-meter run on Saturday in Albuquerque. Benson won a total of three medals having placed third in the 1600-meter run and anchoring the 1600-meter sprint medley team to a second-place finish.

The Miyamura senior hit a pair of PRs during the two-day state meet held in Albuquerque.

“The competition was tough here, so my plan was to go out as hard as I could,” Benson said.

On Friday, he finished third in the 1600-meter run with a time of 4:24.12, beating his previous best by over seven seconds.

In the open 800 on Saturday, he ran under the two-minute mark for the first time this season as he took home the silver medal with a 1:57.25 effort.

His previous best before the state meet was a 2:00.27, a mark he hit at the District 1-4A meet two weeks ago.

In the two-lap race, Albuquerque Academy senior Joaquin Deprez set the pace as he won the event in 1:55.62.

“He had a way better PR than I did,” Benson said of the eventual state champ.

With that, the Miyamura runner was determined to stay within striking distance, and, if the opportunity presented itself, he was going to try and take the win.

“My plan was to hang with him, but he kind of widened his lead on the second lap,” he said. “After that I was shooting for that second-place medal and that is what I did. I was second the whole way and I stayed there.”

Benson took that same approach in the 1600-meters as he didn’t sit back during the four-lap race.

“Usually, the runners go out slow in the mile races,” he said. “They try to run it more tactically, but I wasn’t going to have that, so my plan was to go out fast and take everyone with me.

“Coincidentally, the other top three dudes had the same idea, and they took off pretty quick too,” he added. “I just hung onto them and I tried to do that as long as possible.”

Benson said he struggled to stick with the three frontrunners but as they got more into a pace, he moved up a spot.

“I finished (six) seconds away from the winner and three seconds from the dude that got second,” he said of Hope Christian junior Rendon Kuykendall (4:18.65) and Los Alamos senior Keith Bridge (4:21.92).

“My plan was pretty good, so I executed there too,” he said.

Benson earned another silver medal, helping the 1600-meter sprint medley team to a second-place finish in 3:36.68.

In a scintillating finish, Academy was crowned the state champs with a 3:36.25 effort.

The Miyamura team is comprised of junior Saleem Gillespie and seniors Abdullah Alassi and Sergio Chavarria.

In the fall, Benson is headed to run for the men’s cross-country team at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida.

“I want to go into aerospace engineering,” he said. “It’s the best aerospace engineering school in the nation, so it worked out well that I could run for them as well.

“At the beginning I was a little indecisive; trying to figure out where I could go,” he said. “I went and visited the school and after that I knew that is where I wanted to be. It’s different, but it’s a good different.”

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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