POLACCA -- Tse Ho Tso Middle School won the girls race and Chinle Junior High won the boys race at the Hopi Junior High Invitational Sept. 16.
Hopi Junior High placed third in the girls race and fifth in the boys race at the cross country invitational.
In the girls race, Tse Ho Tso won with 59 points, Chinle grabbed second with 66, Hopi snagged third with 80, Sanders finished fourth with 109, Ganado placed fifth with 136, Mt. Elden from Flagstaff took sixth with 146, Kayenta Middle School finished seventh with 175, St. Michaels placed eighth with 177 and Pinon took ninth with 192.
Valerie Segay from Tse Ho Tso was the individual champion in the girls race. Segay said she expected to win after coming in first at the Pinon and Blue Ridge invites earlier this season.
"It was hot, but I was happy to take first and we ran well as a team," she said.
Segay, who also runs for the track team and plays basketball, maintains a B-average. Her sister Valentina runs for Window Rock High School.
She is the daughter of Francis and Gloria Segay.
After Segay, the top 15 runners in the 56 runner race were: Michelle Weaver, second, Tse Ho Tso; Alexandria Gillson, third, Sanders; Desiree Torivio, fourth, Hopi; Nicole Tsosie, fifth, Chinle; Chelsea Begay, sixth, Mt. Elden; Sasheena Spean, seventh, Sanders; Kari Sam, eighth, Tse Ho Tso; Jennifer Salabye, ninth, Ganado; Chelsea Hadley and Reva Francisco, 10th and 11th, Chinle; Paige Honanie, 12th, Mt. Elden; Deandra James, 13th, Ganado; Chasity Seaton, 14th, St. Michaels; and Jasmine Lomakema, 15th, Hopi.
In the boys race, Chinle took the championship with 53 points, Ganado snagged second with 73, Tse Ho Tso placed third with 96, Mt. Elden from Flagstaff finished fourth with 100, Hopi grabbed fifth with 118,
Sanders placed sixth with 174 and Kayenta Middle School finished seventh with 186.
John Begay from Ganado Junior High was the individual champion in the boys race.
"I was excited and happy about winning," he said. It was Begay's first championship since the sixth grade. He praised the Hopi Junior High course.
"It was awesome," he said.
Begay said Ganado's goal was to beat Chinle Junior High, but they had to settle for second place.
Begay, who also runs track, maintains an A average. He is the son of Wanda and Alvin Begay.
After John Begay, the top 15 runners in the 60 runner race were Matthew Begay and Virgil Burnside, second and third, both from Tse Ho Tso; Fernando Staley, fourth, Chinle; Brandon Wilson, Greasewood, fifth; Dillon Hatch and Connley Bendel, sixth and seventh, Mt Elden; Levi Tsinijinnie, eighth, Ganado; Koyai Clauschee, ninth, Chinle; Kyle Lomakema, 10th, Hopi; Will Tuni, 11th, Chinle; Brannon Sidney, 12th, Hopi; Nolan Yazzie, 13th, Ganado; and Derrick Joey and Collin Nez, 14th and 15th, Chinle.
(Stan Bindell, former Observer editor, is journalism and radio teacher at Hopi High School.)