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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


March 23, 2002 - Issue 57


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Tuba City Lady Warriors Third Straight Year As 3A State Basketball CHAMPS!

by Suetopka Thayer The Navajo Hopi Observer
credits: Oree Foster, the Navajo Times
Tuba City's Lady WarriorsWith 45 seconds left in the state championship game, Tuba City's Lady Warriors blew past the Seton Catholic Lady Sentinels for a 42-32 win, making this an unprecedented third straight title win for the largest native school district in Northern Arizona. Jayme Lomakema was the scoring leader for the Lady Warriors with 17 points, trailed by Nicole Tsingine with 13 points. Defense was the key-winning element for this unstoppable girls varsity team.

Fans and community members saw them play their best in the last four games of the season ending with the State Championship at America West Arena in Phoenix.

Head Coach Manuel Begay in his first year of Varsity coaching, has previous winning experience with two wins in the past two years as assistant to former head girls coach Tamyra Rogers who has returned to medical practice in San Antonio, Texas.

Head Coach Begay has also been honored by being named as 2002 Arizona Class AAA Coach of the Year.

3A Coach of the Year Begay, "I have enjoyed coaching the Lady Warriors. The community of Tuba City has a championship team composed of good students, good citizens and talented athletes."

"The TC community has every reason to be proud of this outstanding accomplishment. Winning the state championship was the culminating event of a long journey. During this journey, the players enjoyed being fully engaged in whatever they were doing, whether it was practice or playing in a game. During the journey, individuals showed mutual respect for each other and for the other teams they played."

"The team was driven by a quest for another state title and gave themselves over wholeheartedly to their group effort. Throughout the journey, there evolved a real connection to each other as a team. This journey through the season as a team was also part of the final reward."

"Despite the unpredictable nature of the game, teamwork offered our team the answer. The makeup of the TC team might be different from year to year, but the principles of selflessness and compassion for the game has guided our Lady Warriors to three straight championships."

Coach Begay's emphasis on executing offense made the state win all the more sweet. When one considers that Seton Catholic has its own formidable history of three prior state wins (97-98-99) and one state-runner up title (96) there can only be admiration for the heart and soul that the Lady Warriors exhibited in this fierce competition.

In the first of many upcoming community celebrations that are to be given to honor the Lady Warriors and Coach Begay and his staff, a parade and dinner were given this past week in Tuba City.

Two other banquets will be sponsored in the coming weeks to show appreciation and pride in putting Tuba City High School and its winning basketball program on the Arizona state map.

A parade and recognition dinner held at the Warrior Pavilion organized by Alden Seweyestewa, the Dean of Students at TC High brought out parents, administration, community supporters and varied dignitaries who wanted to recognize this outstanding state win for the Lady Warriors.

This event was MC'd by Dennis Bowen a member of the Seneca Nation and staff at TC District Alternative School. Mr. Bowen provided the opening prayer with Mr. Alton Honahni of Moencopi Village offering the closing blessing. The Lady Warrior team members were individually brought to the podium to recognize their parents and their own personal reasons for success.

These testimonials also brought much recognition for Head Coach Begay, the TC Athletic Director Floyd Haven, the assistant coaches, Genevieve Begay, Pete Butler, Valarie Yazzie, Neil Yazzie and volunteer Tammy Secody.

Special recognition was given to the Pavilion Staff members, Carlene Honyumptewa, Leo Manygoats, David Jensen, Santiago Flores, Rigoberto Cardenas whose continued high quality work behind the scenes is rarely recognized but deserved recognition for their attention to detail and safety of the players and the community who supported them.

The outstanding and supportive Transportation Department employees and their Director Phillip Johnson for driving the team to its events and supporting them outside of regular service hours which included fund raising events throughout the season.

Special thanks were also given to the Navajo Police Department, Ron Brown-Public Relations.

The TC High Cheerleaders were also acknowledged for their support and presence, this squad is co-coached by Melva Baca and Althea Pooyouma. Outstanding Warrior Fans recognized in the TC community included, Bobby Greeley, Manny Baca, Jake Sumatskuku and Pearl Puhuyaoma.

A special pow-wow honoring dance was performed by local dance team students, Farren and his sister Reanna Beard in recognition of the state win.

The TC community was able to watch a taped copy of the winning game on large format screen TVs set up by TC Media services during the end of the dinner, a large cheer and clapping could be heard when the final seconds were played out.

This third state win meant much to the TC community and the staff at TC District, but it held special meaning to those seniors who will move into the alumni ranks after this season.

Addressing the senior members of Lady Warrior team, Bobby Greeley, super Warrior fan and honored guest at the Golden Ball trophy presentation to the TC High School, " It's been 30 years since I graduated from TC High but this win just reminds me that my blood is still GREEN. I can't say enough about how proud I am of this win. It shows that we have the talent and the competitive edge to accomplish great things. Let's apply these winning principles to our academic programs and our life skills as well. Go Warriors!”

For more information on the Lady Warriors, call TC Public Relations at 928-283-1072

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Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.


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