Honani makes grand finish at state

PHOENIX, Arizona — When Hopi Junior High School won the girls state cross country title, Tracy Honani felt the Lady Bruins made history.

“We wanted to win it for our coach and we all did a good job. We knew we were going to get it because we wanted it so badly,” she said. Honani finished the best among all Hopi runners, placing fourth in the race. “That was the best I ever ran,” she said.

Honani, a 12-year old seventh grader, said she hopes to finish higher next year and dreams about winning the individual state championship. “We’ll also try to win state again next year. I want us to repeat and we’ll work hard for it,” she said.

There was a record turnout this year with 74 teams competing, 220 runners in the boys race and 214 runners in the girls race. Honani said the number of runners and the crowd scared her at first. “But I didn’t worry about it. I just ran my race,” she said.

Hopi Junior High won the girls race with 75 points, Ganado took second with 102, Tse Ho Tso from Window Rock also scored 102 points, but had to settle for third place because Ganado’s sixth runner finished ahead of their sixth runner for the tie-breaker. Chinle placed fourth, but the rest of the girls team scores were not tallied at press time.

Britnie Mabey from Page was the individual state champ with Bobbie Kayanie from Kayenta Middle School coming in as the runner-up. Candace Begody from Ganado placed third.

The rest of the runners for the Lady Bruins championship team were Marlena Selina, ninth; Rozanna Nasafotie, 12th; Erynne Zahne, 22nd, Latawnya Shattuck, 29th; Kelly Lomayaktewa, 30th; Donna Selina, 38th; and Letha Talahaftewa, 39th.

Hopi Junior High Coach Vernon Sieweyumptewa, who coaches both the boys and girls teams, said he was particularly proud of the girls team because this is the first time in more than 20 years of coaching that the Hopi girls have won the title under his direction. The Hopi boys have won it a couple of times under his tutelage.

Chinle Junior High barely won the boys race with 76 points, Page Middle School was right behind with 79 and Hopi Junior High finished third in the 30-team race with 85 points. Chinle won the race by packing its top five runners into the top 24. Randy Norberto, tenth, Milton Yazzie, 13th; Tec-Sean White, 18th; Gibson Montano, 22nd; and Rodell Williams , 24th. The other members of the Chinle championship team were Roderick Williams, 40th; and Tyrin Bert, 112th.

Gordon Segay of Tse Ho Tso was the individual state champion, beating Hopi’s Stet Lomayestewa by one step. Hopi’s Harry Kisto placed third. The other runners for Hopi were Manuel Jackson, Sahneyah, 41st; and Lindsey Wise, 54th.

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