Polacca, Ariz. – Chinle High School’s Kristen St. Germaine and Flagstaff High School’s Annie Falor have a rivalry going that pushes each other to lower times. Last year, St. Germaine won the Hopi Invitational Girls Cross Country meet at the start of the season only to have Falor beat her in the state tournament.
This year St. Germane won the Hopi Invitational for the third year in a row with Falor placing second.
Falor lowered her time from 22:15 last year to 20:36 this year and St. Germaine finished in 20:15 to also knock a minute off her time. St. Germaine’s first place finish helped Chinle to the first place victory in the girls meet.
Hopi took second with Flagstaff finishing third. The Bruins and Eagles tied for second place with 86 points each, but the sixth place runner was used for the tiebreaker.
The rest of the top 10 teams were Tuba City, fourth, 107; Ganado, fifth, 153; Alchesay, sixth, 185; Page, seventh, 185; Window Rock, eighth, 230; Greyhills-Tuba City, ninth, 241; and Winslow, tenth, 265. There were 95 runners in this 20-team race, which included schools from 1A to 5A. Flagstaff High School coach Sharon Falor said the race was wonderful as the Lady Eagles didn’t want to extend themselves in the season’s first race.
She was also impressed with Flagstaff’s number three runner Tricia Milton, who placed third at this race. Coach Falor noted that Flagstaff’s number two runner from last year, Amber Gordon, didn’t run because she was not ready yet.
The other runners for Flagstaff High were, Alison Mclellan, 22nd; Melissa Kaye, 28th; Robin Nelson, 31st; Jean Marie Loverich, 41st; and Allison Wine, 63rd. St. Germaine said she ran a strong race because she remained scared that Falor was right behind her. Falor said it was a tough competitive race, but she always looks forward to facing St. Germaine. “We face each other a lot because we’re both in 4A,” she said. “I kept her in sight, but she ran a strong race.”
Milton said that Falor and her run side by side and gain strength from each other. Falor said she didn’t know if the Lady Eagles could repeat as state champs, but she added that they will certainly try.
The winning Chinle team after St. Germaine included Colleen Yazzie, 12th; Loreen Anderson, 14th; Andrea Yazzie, 23rd; Michelle Roan, 24th; Maria Paul, 36th; and Ferlynda Begay, 38th. The second place Hopi squad included Alyssa Fredericks, ninth; Iva Sahneyah, 11th; Kelsey Hardt, 13th; Mallory Shattuck, 20th; Tara Secakuku, 33rd; Kim Zahne, 40th; and Tashanna Masayesva, 43rd.
Hopi High coach Harvey Honyouti said he was happy with the second place finish because he thought the Lady Bruins might place third or fourth in the 20 team meet.
“We ran alright, but we were a little tired at the end. We need to improve as the season goes on. It’s too early to tell how we'll do, but if we stay healthy, work hard and remain academically eligible we’ll be competitive,” he said. Hopi High has won the past four 2A state titles before going up to 3A this year.
Coach Honyouti said the Lady Bruins have a shot at the state title, but it will be a lot tougher just getting into the state meet because of the competitive conference.
“I was greatly impressed with all the teams here today, so we have a lot of work to do,” he said.
“Tuba City is the defending champ until somebody beats them, but never count anybody in the 3A North out.” Tuba City placed fourth with Jayme Lomakema, Brandi Atene and Khrysten Sieweingyama taking third, fourth and fifth. The other Lady Warriors included Emma Robbins, 44th and Henrietta Mann, 48th.