Most schools in northern Arizona kicked off the cross country season with the Hopi Invite Aug. 30 at Hopi High.
Chinle won the girls race and Tuba City High won the boys race. Hopi grabbed second in both races.
In the girls race, Chinle won with 26 points, Hopi took second with 89, Tuba City finished third with 96, Window Rock placed fourth with 188, Holbrook finished fifth with 209, Valley Sanders took sixth with 215 and Ganado placed seventh with 217 in the 17 team field.
Chinle's Rolando Jumbo was the individual champ with a time of 19:37. The Lady Wildcats won by placing six runners in the top 15: Deriann Yazzie, second; Anjelica Bedone, third; Brittany Curley, ninth; Shiniya Smith, 11th; and Annette Brown, 12th.
The other runners in the top 15 included Yanabah Jacques, Window Rock, fourth; Kailee Birdinground, Tuba City, fifth; Chelena Betoney, Valley Sanders, sixth, Shelby Jim, Monument Valley, seventh; Keven Griffen, Northland Prep, eighth.
Ashley Onsae led Hopi with a 10th place finish. Kaitlin Billy grabbed 14th and Christen Ben finished 15th. Claryn Josytewa took 23rd and Jasmine Humetewa placed 27th in the 79 runner race.
Jumbo, a senior, was the individual state champ for the past three years. She only ran at Hopi one other time and won that race four years ago. She noted that Hopi had changed the course and added that she liked the new course.
"We use this race to determine how we look for the season. This is a good way to start," she said. "Our team ran an amazing race today."
Jumbo wasn't fazed by the hotter than usual day.
"Every day it has been hot," she said.
Jumbo said she wants to improve her time this year and get a scholarship to college. She has already received four scholarships and letters from most colleges in the country. She is considering attending Harvard.
"Right now I have too many options," she said.
Jumbo, who ran with Wings of America during the summer, hopes to become a Registered Nurse.
In the boys race, Tuba City won with 45 points, Hopi grabbed second with 52, Chinle was third with 56, Northland Prep finished fourth with 119, Holbrook placed fifth with 150, Winslow took sixth with 176, Many Farms settled for seventh with 205 and Holbrook took eighth with 218.
Chinle's Jonathan Yazzie was the individual champ with a time of 17:08, but Tuba City won the team battle by placing five runners in the top 21 including four in the top 14.
The Tuba City champs included Shawn Tsinnijinnie, second; Mathew Murray, third; Eddie Loughran, fifth; Kyle Nutumuya, 14th; Kyle Sumatzkuku, 21st.
Hopi made it close by placing five runners in the top 16. MaCray Huma led the Bruins by finishing sixth, Anfernee Howard was right behind him in seventh, Dominic Sinquah took 11th, Rex Yellow placed 12th and Kelsey Jones took 16th in the 94 runner race.
The other runners in the top 15 were Searle Tracey, Chinle, fourth; Joseph Locaspino, Ganado, eighth; Alessandro Uentillie, Many Farms, ninth; Melcomh Chee, Holbrook, tenth; Justin Yazzie, Chinle, 13th; and Cody Sangster, Winslow, 15th.
Yazzie, the boys champ, noted that course changed since last year.
"I liked the older course better. It seemed shorter," he said. "It wasn't as sandy as before."
Yazzie said he dealt with the heat by poring water on himself before the race. It helped, but by the middle of the race he dried out.
"From that point on, I just thought positive," he said.
Chinle boys won the state championship last year and only lost one senior to graduation. He hopes to become the individual state champ this year and maybe set a state record along the way.
"I'm going to train harder than before and get more recovery time," he said.
Recovery time refers to more rest and sleep when not running.
"Some of our runners had a bad day today because of lack of recovery time," he said.
Yazzie will join the Marines after high school unless he gets a running scholarship. If so, he will major in pre-law.
Yazzie, an A/B student, also ran for Wings of America this past summer.