TUBA CITY, Ariz. -The Tuba City High School Warriors boys cross country team placed second during the 41st Annual Doug Conley Invitational at Rolling Hills Golf Course in Tempe, Ariz. last week.
Tuba City's Anthony Masayesva placed third with a time of 16:07.94 over the 5,000 meter course that met the national silver standard. His brother Brian Masayesva came in eighth place. Warrior teammates Jaiden Melendrez, Eddie Loughran and Albert Fuller also placed.
Tuba City head coach Arvis Myron said the Doug Conley meet is one of the three meets his team focuses on.
"Our team did very well at Conley," Myron said. "Our strengths this year as a team was formulated by following how teams before us set the standard. Some of our boys didn't run as expected, but their teammates stepped into place and improved our overall team score. Leading with Anthony Masayesva, the boys wanted to get to the front and not be caught in the pack as it takes a lot of energy to pass runners as the race progresses. We got out and settled into our pace and kept working together to get to the finish line."
Myron said the Tuba City team lacked speed endurance to carry them to the finish line, something he plans to work on in training before the final state meet.
"Anthony and Brian Masayesva have been Tuba City High's cross country consistent top runners and they continue to improve with every single meet and their workouts are improving Anthony greatly," Myron said. "I predict that Anthony will be one of the top three runners in this year's overall state
meet. With his last performance at Conley and at Twilight, I won't be surprised one bit if Anthony becomes an individual state champion."
Myron added he felt that Melendrez, Loughran and Fuller have shown signs of improvement and that his team's final goal is to train in a systematic method so that they will run their best at the upcoming state meet.
Tuba City's runners benefit from physical strength conditioning at a higher elevation than most Valley high schools. The dry, high elevation climate, combined with sandy running courses create a stronger, resilient running style.
Tuba City runners sprint up an arduous, desert hill known locally as the "Moencopi Sand Hill" twice a week. The hill is located in front of Tuba City High School and crosses Highway 264 into the Hopi reservation.
"This Moencopi sandhill is one of our Tuba City High cross country program signature workouts," Myron said. "I like to hear from our returning running team members who tell all the newcomers it's a workout for champions."
This sandhill sprint is a serious workout, so the team's coaches give adequate recovery time between workout sets.
Phoenix is at around 1000 feet in elevation. Myron said the change in elevation sometimes improves his runners' times by 25-45 seconds or more.
Myron has high hopes for his team.
"The legacy of our Tuba City High cross country runner teamwork as state champions before us, gives us a really effective blueprint to follow and we always want to work towards a common team vision when it gets tough for us," Myron said. "But if there has ever been a cross country team that can carry on the legacy of another state championship banner for Tuba City High School, it is this year's team that can meet that challenge."