POLACCA — Coach Jeff Crothers is convinced that Hopi High School’s wrestling team is improved this season.
With 32 wrestlers out for the team, Hopi High will be able to field wrestlers in every weight category—something they haven’t been able to do the last couple years.
“We’re making good progress. We have a strong group of juniors and seniors, but we also have a good group of freshman and sophomores,” he said. “It may take some time, but they’re young and eager.”
Coach Crothers said the Bruins have three good team leaders in Leroy Youvella in the 130-pound category, Kyle Navenma in the 152-pound category and Lahrs
Crothers in the 171-pound category.
“They all lead vocally and by example. They are three really positive leaders,” he said.
Coach Crothers said it’s too early to tell how the Bruins will do in conference.
“We have so many young wrestlers, but we’ll work hard and we’ll hustle. We’ll come ready for every match,” he said. “We should be pretty strong in the middle and upper weights.”
Coach Crothers said he also has two competent assistant coaches in Lendrick Lomayestewa and Raleigh Namoki.
“They’re doing a good job working with the kids,” he said.
The Hopi High wrestling team also has seven girl wrestlers this season. In the past, there has usually been one or two.
“That’s the most girls I’ve had in 20 years of coaching wrestling,” Coach Crothers said. “The girls are working hard to earn starting roles, but all the wrestlers are working hard.”
Coach Crothers said having girls on the team has not caused any problems.
“The boys just treat them like other wrestlers.
They’re part of the family,” he said.
The members of the Hopi High wrestling team include: senior Dancel Ami in the 112-pound category, junior Brent Charlie in the 145-pound category, junior Devin Dick in the 135-pound category, freshman Jerry Johns in the 140-pound category, senior Chris Joshevama in the 189-pound category, sophomore Diane Koinva in the 160-pound category, freshman Lindsey Koinva in the 145-pound category, freshman Eric Lee in the 215-pound category, senior Kelly Lomayaktewa in the 112-pound category, sophomore Stanley Lomayestewa in the 145-pound category, junior Joel Melvin in the 135-pound category, senior Fritz Namingha in the 152-pound category, sophomore Byron Nasingoetewa in the heavyweight category, junior Hoover Nasingoetewa in the 119-pound category, senior Kyle Navenma in the 152-pound category, senior Manuel Nasingoetewa in the 171-pound category, senior Blanche Oppenheim in the heavyweight category, freshman Sophia Pawwinnee in the 171-pound category, sophomore Curtis Poseyesva in the 140-pound category, freshman Gabby Puhuyesva in the 112-pound category, freshman Ira Puhuhefvayah in the 215-pound category, freshman David Rivera in the 103-pound category, junior Luvette Sheppard in the 140-pound category, sophomore Nathan Tallas in the 215-pound category, senior Edgar Tootsie in the 189 pound-category, senior Bertrent Towne in the 171-pound category, senior Charles Wadsworth in the 135 pound category, junior Shaun Whitehair in the heavyweight category, senior Cornelius Yazzie in the 171-pound category, junior Joseph Yoiwaima in the 189-pound category and senior Leroy Youvella in the 130-pound category.
(Stan Bindell, former Observer editor, is journalism and radio teacher at Hopi High School.)