Hopi High cross country completes trifecta
PHOENIX - Hopi High boys cross country won its 18th straight state championship. The Hopi High girls also won the 2A state championship, and DeAnn Honanie won the individual girls 2A state championship Nov. 3 at Cave Creek Golf Course in Phoenix.
The runners ran during a record heat for that day in Phoenix.
The Hopi High boys won easily with 36 points. Valley Christian was far behind coming in second with 118 points. Scottsdale Christian took third with 122 points, Northland Prep-Flagstaff finished fourth with 136 points and Thatcher took fifth with 178 points.
The other teams included Valley-Sanders, sixth, 189 points; Yuma Catholic, seventh, 201 points; Many Farms, eighth, 222 points; Tombstone, ninth, 268 points; Pusch Ridge, 10th, 277 points; St. Augustine, 11th, 286 points; San Manuel, 12th, 289 points; Bisbee, 13th, 297 points; St. Michaels, 14th, 307 points; Canyon State Academy, 15th, 326 points; Phoenix Country Day, 16th, 350 points; Greyhills,17th, 382 points; and Northwest Christian, 18th, 387 points.
Hopi High coach Rick Baker said the boys ran well.
"We've done a good job of packing together all season and it paid off today," he said. "We're known for stepping up at state and we did it today. I'm happy for the kids."
Coach Baker said winning state championships never gets old.
Ronald Laban grabbed second place to lead Hopi, but his teammates weren't far behind as the Bruins placed six runners in the top 13.
Chad Baker finished fourth, Keith Pahovama took fifth, Kevin Tsiniginnie placed 11th, Brannon Sidney took 12th, Rydell Namoki finished 13th and Anthony Poleyestewa placed 42nd in the 129 runner race.
Laban, a 15-year-old super sophomore, led Hopi and was proud that winning the state championship meant that this team kept the tradition of state victories intact.
Laban said this year was different because last year's seniors left and Hopi went from 3A to 2A.
"But we ran a better race this year," he said. "I trained and studied the course."
Laban said Hopi High ran a good race.
"We won by 84 points so I think we did a good job. Our team was confident so our school made up our state championship T-shirts before the race," he said.
Laban said he liked the course with its three small hills, and added that the heat didn't get to him because he trained for it.
Laban said the key to winning was training and believing in Baker. Laban added that he will continue to train all year to prepare for next season.
"We'll do well next year as long as we believe in our training," he said.
Laban, an honor roll student, wants to become a psychiatrist and hopes to get a cross country scholarship
"I want to thank all the supporters, the coach and my teammates. I want to say that 'I love everybody,'" he said.
He is the son of Ronald and Romalita Laban from Polacca.
Baker, who has been on the Hopi High boys cross country state championship team for the past four years, said winning the championship again was great.
Last year, Baker placed sixth at state. This year he moved up to fourth despite fighting off a cold.
Baker, a 17-year-old senior, said this year was different than last year because Hopi dropped down to 2A, but he was happy because he felt the Bruins ran a good race.
Baker said he liked the course because it had small hills and it was grassy. He added that the heat didn't impact him because he trained for it.
Baker said the team was confident coming in since the administration made state championship T-shirts ahead of the race. He said the key to winning was running together as a pack.
Baker, son of coach Rick Baker, said it was good to run for "the legend"-the nickname given Baker because he has coached Hopi High to 18 straight state titles.
Baker said Hopi High should be in good shape to win another state title next year because they have four of their top seven runners returning to the team.
Baker, an honor roll student, also runs track and plays basketball.
He plans to go to college to major in welding or construction. He is the son of Rick and Debbie Baker of Sipaulovi.
Pahovama, a 16-year-old senior, also was happy that the Bruins kept the championship tradition going. He ran for the junior varsity team last year, so this was his first time running at state.
"The pace was faster and it was exciting running at state for the first time," he said.
Pahovama said Hopi ran a good race.
"The course was a pretty easy straight-away and the heat didn't bother me. I was comfortable," he said.
Pahovama said the key to winning was keeping the top five runners in the front of the race. Now, he will run long distances in preparation for running at college.
Pahovama, an honor roll student, hopes to attend Arizona State University (ASU).
He said although Hopi is losing three seniors to graduation that with Tsinniginnie and Sidney that Hopi should be strong again next year.
Pahovama, who also plays basketball and runs track, is the son of Keith and Laurinda Pahovama of Shungopavi.
Tsinigine, a 15-year-old sophomore, experienced his first championship with Hopi since he moved to Hopi High during the summer after attending Higley High School in Phoenix.
"It felt good to win state. It's a new experience for me," he said. "It was a good race because we all ran strong and hard."
Tsinigine said he liked the course, but he started to tire at the end because of the heat. He said the team practiced hard all year and that made them confident going into state.
Tsinigine said he will do long runs and speed workouts to prepare for next year.
"We can do it again next year. We have three sophomores returning and the others need to step up," he said.
Tsinigine, an honor roll student, also plays basketball and runs track.
He plans to major in pre-medicine at ASU.
He is the son of Claudia Tsinigine and Norman Richardson of Jeddito.
Sidney, a 15-year-old sophomore, said it was "pretty cool" winning state because he always wanted to be on a state championship team.
"I wanted to be part of the legend," he said.
Sidney said since this was his first year going to state that he was nervous coming in.
"But I grew out of it once the race started," he said.
Sidney said he liked the course and the heat didn't impact him because he drank a lot of water.
Sidney said the Bruins knew coming in that they would dominate the meet. He said Hopi can repeat this again next year because they have a good nucleus returning and he expects the junior varsity runners to improve.
Sidney, an honor roll student, also runs track. He plans to major in business and hotel management at Northern Arizona University (NAU).
He is the son of Paul and Lucille Sidney of Polacca.
Namoki, a 16-year-old junior, said it felt especially good to be part of the state championship team because he wasn't able to run at state last year. He ran two years ago, finishing 52nd.
"The pace was faster this year and I was more relaxed," he said.
Namoki said Hopi did a good job by placing six runners in the top 15.
Namoki said he liked the course, but added that the heat slowed him down in the middle of the race before he found his second wind and "kicked it in."
Namoki said the key to winning was hard work, commitment and sacrifice.
"We sacrificed time away from friends and recreation, but we wanted to win," he said.
Namoki said the Bruins will do well again next year if everyone works hard during the off season.
Namoki, a B-C student, hopes to get a cross country scholarship to a university to major in mechanical engineering or architecture.
Namoki, who also runs track and participates in the martial arts, is the son of Raleigh and Betty Namoki from Polacca.
Poleyestewa, a 17-year-old senior, said he was proud to be part of another Hopi High championship team. He said Hopi ran a good race.
Poleyestewa said he liked the course because it was relatively flat and fast with small hills.
As for the heat, he didn't even feel it.
"It felt nice and cool to me," he said.
Poleyestewa said the key to winning was for each of the runners to stay in shape and help each other.
"We talked and helped each other out," he said.
Poleyestewa, an Honor Roll student, said he will take classes at Northland Pioneer College next year with hopes of transferring later to ASU.
He is the son of Darren and Tressa Poleyestewa of Polacca.
The top 28 runners were given medals and the top 15 runners were considered all-state.
Scottsdale Christian's Isaiah Klassen won the race with a time of 16:19.85 and Laban finished in 16:23.55.
For the other area teams, Northland Prep took fourth with Logan Dwyer placing sixth. Their other runners were RJ Howey, 23rd; Marcos Rodriguez, 28th; Justin Heinrich, 39th; Luke Money, 40th; and Jordan Burch, 75th.
Valley-Sanders placed sixth with Ryan Tom, 16th; Ron Baloo, 22nd; Arlando Thomas, 37th; Dominique Tsinnie, 44th; Arji Thinn, 70th; Roderick Begay, 101st and Christopher Lee, 117th.
Many Farms finished eighth with Garriot James placing 17th, Arno Bia right behind him in 18th, Brian Keesie took 21st, Cedric Ingram placed 76th; Brandon Bia took 90th and Seth Bia finished 114th.
St. Michaels placed 14th with Kyron Hardy taking 41st, Adriel Perry placing 43rd, Eron Guy took 61st, Samuel Hardy grabbed 64th, Brent Tsosie finished 98th and Lathaniel Slim took 99th.
Greyhills finished 17th with Wayne Kuwanhyoima placing 48th, Frankus Tsininginne took 65th, Cedric Ben finished 83rd, Cordell Ben took 89th; Elkins Jim placed 97th; Alton Lansing finished right at 100 and Andre Clark placed 108th.
The Hopi High girls cross country team won their race with 36 points and Northland Prep was right on their heels with 46 points. Valley Christian was third with 90, Valley Sanders grabbed fourth with 149 and Yuma Catholic placed fifth with 168 points.
Hopi High Coach Harvey Honyouti said the girls ran well and did what they were told to do. He said Honanie ran a smart, outstanding race.
Coach Honyouti said Hopi High finished second at regionals because a couple of the girls ran when they were sick.
"This week they responded," he said. "Maybe it was a blessing in disguise we finished second at regionals because that made us the chaser today."
Hopi won with DeAnn Honanie leading the way with the individual state championship. Her teammates all placed in the top 20 with Kelli Smiley grabbing fifth, Snow Josytewa taking seventh, Terrissa Josytewa finishing 11th, Monica Honyumptewa placing 12th, Desiree Torivio taking 16th and Tracy Billy placing 18th in the 114 runner race.
Honanie, who led the Lady Bruins to the state championship, said it was great winning state because it was several years since the girls won and she was glad to bring back the championship trophy for the seniors.
Honanie said the difference between this year and last year is that last year the team didn't work as hard because they played around more in practice and they weren't focused.
"This year we worked together better as a team and we communicated better. We came together as one and not as individuals," she said.
Honanie said Hopi ran a good race this year as they packed all seven runners into the top 20. She said she didn't even feel the heat.
Honanie said Hopi knew coming in that the race would be between them and Northland Prep. She said Northland Prep showed good sportsmanship by congratulating Hopi on their running.
Honanie said next year's Hopi team can win the state title again if they work together and stay focused.
Honanie, who maintains a B average, plays basketball and runs track. She is also on the student council. She plans to major in athletic training either at Ft. Lewis or Haskell College.
She is the daughter of Philbert Honanie and Pearl Qumyintewa of Shungopavi.
Smiley, a 17-year-old senior, said it was great running for the state championship team because they hadn't won state in awhile.
"We worked hard and stayed positive. That helped us win," she said. "The difference this year is that we stayed positive, talked with one another, believed in ourselves and practiced hard."
Smiley remembers running the course two years ago, noting that it helped knowing the course. She said the team can repeat the championship next year if they put their mind to it.
Smiley, who also runs track, is in Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps and student council. She is an honor roll student who will either attend college or go into the military after she graduates.
She is the daughter of Darlene Smiley and Benson Willie of Jeddito.
Snow Josytewa, a 17-year-old senior, said it felt great to win the state championship because she had never been on a state winner previously.
Josytewa said the Lady Bruins were able to win this year because they were dedicated and had "fire in our eyes."
She said the race was fun because this was her first time at state. She added that Hopi was able to beat Northland Prep because they ran harder.
Josytewa said Hopi can repeat winning the title next year if they are determined and practice all year.
Josytewa, who also runs track, is active in student council and culinary arts. She is an honor roll student who plans to attend either Yavapai or Pima Community College to become an elementary school teacher. She is the daughter of Marsha Shupla and Elson Wadsworth of Shungopavi.
Terissa Josytewa, Snow's cousin, is a 15-year-old senior who said it felt good to win state.
"I was able to help the team accomplish their goal and I reached my goal in the process," she said.
Josytewa said the Lady Bruins were able to win state this year because they worked harder, stayed positive and Northland Prep pushed them.
Josytewa said she liked the course, especially the part toward the end where they were able to run without any fans on the sideline. She added that the team worked harder because they finished second at regionals.
She said the key to winning was keeping a positive attitude.
Josytewa said the team will continue to train during the off-season and she believes they can repeat with the returners and some incoming freshmen.
Josytewa, who is also a cheerleader, is active in JROTC and student council. She is an honor roll student who plans to major in physical therapy at UCLA.
She is the daughter of Sara Tuvequaftewa and Guy Josytewa of Shongopavi.
Honyumptewa, a 17-year-old senior, said she felt excited, happy and emotional about the Lady Bruins winning the state championship.
"The difference between this year and last year is that we bonded more this year and the girls were more into it. The seniors wanted to win more this year," she said.
Honyumptewa said Hopi ran a good race because they did everything the coach told them to do. She liked the course because there were plenty of fans along the way to encourage them.
Honyumtpewa said she knew coming in that it would be close between Northland Prep and them so they stayed right behind Northland Prep most of the race before pushing it in during the last mile.
She said Hopi can win again next year if they train hard and bond with the new girls.
"There are a lot of talented lower classmen," she said.
Honyumptewa, who also runs track, is in American Indian Science and Engineering Society and student council.
Honyumptewa, an Honor Roll student, wants to major in anatomy at either USC or Pima Community College.
She is the daughter of Yvonne Puhuyaoma and Clayton Honyumptewa of Upper Moenkopi.
Billy, a 16-year-old junior, said she was happy that Hopi won state because they practiced hard and "gave all we had."
She said Hopi ran a good race because they stayed together and motivated each other.
"I'm proud of our cross country girls," she said.
Billy said the heat didn't impact her because she drank a lot of water.
"But it was hot," she said.
Billy said she will run track and continue to train throughout the year. She said the team can repeat the state championship if they stay together.
Billy, who also runs track and plays basketball, is an Honor Roll student. She wants to major in human resource management at Mesa Community College.
She is the daughter of Gertrude and Frederick Billy of Lower Mishongnovi.
Torivio, a 15-year-old sophomore, said winning state was exciting because she had never been to the state meet previously.
Torivio said the Hopi girls took the race more seriously this year. She said the course was challenging but considered the weather nice.
Torivio said Hopi was motivated because they came in as the underdogs after finishing second at regionals.
"We didn't want to feel like we felt after regionals," she said.
She said the Lady Bruins will keep running during the summer to prepare for next year. She said the team can repeat next year.
Torivio, an Honor Roll student, wants to major in pediatrics at NAU.
She is the daughter of Ruby Torivio and Felix Sanchez of Polacca.
The rest of the field showed St. Michaels, sixth, 183;
Bisbee, seventh, 194; Tempe Prep, eighth, 220; Pinon, ninth, 278; Benson, tenth, 283; Pusch Ridge Christian, 11th, 284; San Manuel, 12th, 291; Tombstone, 13th, 307; Scottsdale Christian, 14th, 347; Thatcher, 15th, 352; Surrey Garden, 16th, 393; and Arizona Lutheran, 17th, 447.h
Andrea Klimowski led Flagstaff's Northland Prep by placing third. Teammate Jessica McMillan grabbed fourth and Corrie Bain placed sixth. The other runners for Northland Prep were Megan Dwyer, 14th; Jojo Salay, 19th; and Taylor Oster, 59th.
Brittany Jones led Valley Sanders by placing 22nd. The other runners for Valley were Rhonda Deal, 27th; Suzanne Begay, 30th; Gertrude Tsinnie, 33rd; Dillion John, 37th; Johnson kelsey, 54th; and Marcie Nelson, 76th.
Chenoa Herrera paced St. Michaels by finishing 13th. The other runners for St. Michaels were Jasmyne McCabe, 25th; Chasity Seaton, 26th; Anka Perry, 56th and Michelle Weaver, 63rd.
Resheena Chee topped Pinon with 34th place. The Pinon runners included Lisa Tsinnijinnie, 46th; Chrislyn Cook, 52nd; Andrea Dailey, 60th; and Sylvia Whitehair, 86th.
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