TUBA CITY -- Running since her freshman year, junior Brianna Little, a member of the Navajo Nation and daughter of Veronica and Martin Yazzie, came in ninth this year at the Arizona State Cross Country 3A finals.
Placing with a final time of 21.32 at the state meet, Little was fresh off a 13th place position at regionals with a time of 21.10. She said she plans to run again in her senior year at Tuba City High School.
Under the tutelage of third year Girls Varsity Cross Country Coach and Tuba City High School art teacher Richard Dawavendawa, Little has shown promise in all three years of her participation and is a local favorite of Tuba City crowds.
"Running is very exciting, especially at the state level," Little said. "When the state race was about to start, my parents finally arrived and I was happy but nervous all at the same time. I felt good and decided to go quicker."
She said she could just hear all her friends encouraging her.
"My heart and mind were determined to stay in the top 10 and I did," Little said. "I want to thank all the people who have continually supported me, my mother Veronica, my dad Martin, my sisters, my junior high and high school coaches. I am really looking forward to next year because I will be able to run with my little sister, Shelbi, who will graduate from junior high this year."
Little was the only girls varsity cross country representative this year from Tuba City High and also participates in baseball, track and field.
She said she is inspired by her aunt and uncle who both ran cross country and said, when running, she is inspired by music and her family. But Little said she puts the majority of her concentration on the runner in front of her because it helps pump her up, gets her motivation going and then she is able to take off.
Little said she would like to run in college and hopes to attend either Arizona State University or Northern Arizona University. She insists running will always be a part of her life.
For more information about Tuba City's Cross Country programs, call the Tuba City Office of Public Relations at 928-283-1072.
(Rosanda Suetopka Thayer is Public Relations Director for Tuba City Unified School District.)