of America sponsored all-Indian teams of junior men and junior
women to the USA Winter National Cross Country Championships held
in Indianapolis, IN, February 7-8, where they captured 1st and
2nd places respectively. The highly competitive Championships
serve as the World Cross Country Team Trials.
races were held on a mostly flat European-style 2-kilometer loop
course covered by snow and ice. Freezing temperatures, additional
snow, and wind further complicated race conditions.
Wings junior womens team raced Saturday; and their finish
results for the 6K event are: Rachelle Billie (Navajo), 36th place,
24:16; Teri Lea McCormick (Crow), 41st, 24:58; Terra Brown (Navajo/Apache),
42nd, 25:08; Rachel Chouteau (Cheyenne), 43rd, 25:19; and Roxann
James (Navajo), 44th, 25:29. Lyn Pine (Oglala Sioux) from Pine Ridge,
SD, served as volunteer coach for the Wings junior womens
Sunday, the Wings junior men were led by Jonathan Harmon (Hopi)
who finished in 20th place with a time of 25:43. He was followed
by: Gordon Segay (Navajo), 32nd, 26:30; Brad Mouse (Mississippi
Choctaw), 36th, 27:01; and Sheldon Benally (Zuni/Navajo), 40th,
28:07. Serving as coach for the junior men was Rickey Baker (Hopi/Tewa)
from Second Mesa, AZ.
Tahdooahnippah (Comanche), who was the lead runner for the Wings
teams last year and who now runs for Stanford University, finished
4th overall and earned a berth on the USA Junior Mens Team
which competes at the 2004 IAAF World Cross Country Championships
in Brussels, Belgium in March.
Castillo (Acoma), a Wings alumnus who is now a Sergeant in
the US Army, was the keynote speaker at the Honor Banquet on Sunday.
Other trip highlights included tours of the National Institute for
Fitness and Sport and the Eiteljorg Museum. Wings Associate
Director, Anne Wheelock Gonzales (Oneida), accompanied the group
of America has been taking junior teams to national cross-country
championships since 1988. This years competition improves
the Wings overall record to 17 team championships in 16 years.
November and December of 2003, Wings sponsored 19 runners
to the four Regional Foot Locker Races for middle and high school
students. The Regionals are qualifiers to the national Foot Locker
Cross Country Championships, which has been called the premier high
school cross-country event in the country. Sponsored runners this
winter were: Phoebe Garcia (Hidatsa), Emily Pyatskowit (Menominee),
Robin Webber (Oglala Sioux), Russell Dixon (Hidatsa), Patrick Grass
(Oglala Sioux), Bradley Wells (Blackfeet), and Alexander Wilson
(Oglala Sioux) for the Midwest Regional Races in Kenosha, WI; Rachel
Chouteau (Cheyenne), Sarah Holcomb (Cherokee), Jamie Loy (Cherokee),
Hunter Cox (Prairie Band Potawatomi), and Brad Mouse for the South
Regional in Charlotte, NC; Rachelle Billie, Povi Lomayaoma (Hop/Tewa),
Jackie Rivers (Hopi), Tiffany Marie Sorrell (Navajo), Darren Calvert
(San Juan Pueblo), Stet Lomayestewa (Hopi/Tewa), and Vernon Tosa
(Jemez Pueblo) for the West Regional in Walnut, CA. There were no
applicants for the Foot Locker Northeast Regional Races.
experiences and opportunities of competing at Foot Locker and/or
the USA National Championships are two of eight programs offered
by Wings, an American Indian youth development program operated
by The Earth Circle Foundation, a nonprofit corporation based in
Santa Fe, NM. The runners participating in these programs are invited
to attend the Wings Leadership/Camp Facilitator Training in
June and will then be eligible to work in Wings Running and
Fitness Camps or other programs in their communities.
in June, Wings and Nike, Inc. will co-host the seventh annual American
Indian Running Coaches Clinic in Santa Fe. Coaches and others
working in running and fitness programs in Indian country will have
the opportunity to share information with experts and prominent
individuals from the running world.
making this years trips possible include Carl and Wahleah
Davis and NIKE, Inc. (which provides a cash grant, uniforms and
shoes and matching grants for employee donations). In addition to
contributions from many caring individual donors, businesses, corporations
and tribal entities, Wings of America receives major support from
the Ambrose Monell Foundation, the Bowerman Family Fund of the Oregon
Community Foundation, Adelaide Hixon, Andrew Hixon, Indian Behavioral
Health Council/New Mexico Dept. of Health - Behavioral Health Division,
Justice for Athletes, Santa Fe Community Foundation, Van Amerigen
Foundation and the Walbridge Foundation.
more information about the Wings programs, call 505-982-6761 or
send e-mail to: WingsAmer@aol.com.