‘Trust yourself’: 52 teams compete in Peaks Invitational
The Peaks Cross Country Invitational has been occurring for over 22 years and during the year of 2020, the invitational was canceled because of the coronavirus.
This year the invitational hosted 52 teams across the state of Arizona, including schools from New Mexico.
The Chinle team took second place overall in the girls ascension race with two of their runners placing in the top 10, sisters Temyra and Tumayah Bia.
Junior Temyura Bia came in second place with a time of 21:17.20.
“It was tough missing a whole year and not being able to run at state and attend races like this (Peaks Invitational),” Bia said.
During the race, Bia paced first-place winner Wheaten Smith of Coconino High.
“Toward the end I started taking off from her (Wheaten Smith) but she caught me again toward the end,” Bia said.
Temyura’s younger sister, Tumaya Bia, came in seventh place overall with a time of 22:04.20, running her first Peaks Invitational.
“My mindset was pretty good,” Tumaya said, “I wasn’t thinking much of anything else. It feels good running with people you don’t know. It allows you to work harder on yourself, and motivates your team to be good.”
Chinle Wildcats girls coach Beatrice Begay, said, “We need speedwork and we need hillwork. We have been concentrating on endurance runs since July.”
“Moving forward, I‘m looking forward to seeing how the girls respond to hills and with other rez teams. The girls are looking to push it during the season.”
Holbrook Roadrunners Abigayle Nez came in eighth place in the girls ascension race with a time of 22:09.50.
“It feels good,” Nez said. “It was a tough race. I’m glad I pushed through it. I was just doing the best I could and seeing where I was going to start this season.”
The overall winner for the boys ascension race was Holbrook’s Namath Gene as the senior finished his race in 17:51.20.
Gene said, “I thought I did good. Just working hard to get my time lower and lower. Just practicing hard.”
In preparing for the race Gene said: “I was trying to stay with the top runners and then gain momentum to pass people at the end.”
Holbrook Roadrunner Damon Attakia placed sixth with a time of 18:21.90.
“It was very hard. I wasn’t expecting the hill to be that hard,” Attakia said. “I told myself that I could do this, I could do this. I know I can do better. I’m looking forward to state this year.”
Holbrook head coach Zane Morgan said, “I told them to get out fast and get through the hill twice and finish as strong as you can. “It’s the first race of the year, I didn’t have a whole lot of expectations. This was a starting point to see where we are at.
“I want to see my boys in the 16s, they have the potential to be running at that time. I want to see my kids put in the work and reap the benefits of it. That’s a good thing for kids, to reap the benefits of hard work.”
Tohatchi Cougars Melvin Scott Jr. placed eighth in the boys summit race with a time of 18:13.40.
Scott said, “I was really nervous. It’s a huge race. There are a lot of big schools I have never seen before. I was really surprised I placed, seeing the competition and everyone lining up, made me think I’m not going to place. But I surprised myself today.”
Scott explained his strategy for the race: “I was wanting to hang with the front pack and not to take off until the second mile and that’s where I started to pass everybody.”
Head coach Fern Spencer said, “We had heard about how great the invitational is here (Flagstaff). We wanted to be a part of this.”
Spencer went on to say, “It’s their first time here. There were so many runners here and they were surprised. This was an eye opener for them to get them ready for the season. They are getting used to this type of racing. So when we get to state they will be ready.”
Miyamura Lady Patriots Lorianna Piestewa placed seventh overall with a time of 21:54.10.
“This was a lot more different than racing in New Mexico. There is a lot more competition and running against new girls is exciting,” Piestewa said.
“I didn’t think I was going to do very good. Because I know there are three state champions ahead of me and I was just very excited that I was able to place.”
Miyamura head coach Henry Smith said, “I wanted them to see the competition, to see for themselves, the other runners, and to reflect on their running. ”
Smith told his runners: “Trust me, Trust yourself, trust the work outs, and always be prepared.
“They understand that these runners are very competitive and that they can be there too.”