- Sheldon Benally has been a fixture at Shiprock High where he was
an integral part of the Chieftains' success in cross-country and
track the past four years.
from Haskell Indian Nations University, Fort Lewis College, University
of New Mexico and Eastern Arizona College made pitches at Benally
to attend their school.
consulting his parents, Benally decided it would be best to stay
nearby where his mother and father can watch him run and he could
develop at the junior college level.
signed a National Junior College Athletic Association letter of
intent with Dine College-Shiprock Branch.
wanted to start out with a smaller college because I think I am
better off at a smaller college," Benally explained.
College coach Abraham Bitok, a former world class distance runner,
was ecstatic about Benally's decision to stay on the Navajo Nation
and compete for Dine College.
am happy that Sheldon has decided to stay home and be part of our
athletic program at Dine College," Bitok, who also serves as
athletic director, said. "He will be one of our top runners.
I am looking forward to his contributions to our cross-country team."
a short break at conclusion of the track season, Benally has increased
his mileage in preparation for his first collegiate season this
have been training on my own since school's been out," he remarked.
did a few runs and training for the up coming cross-country season.
I plan to continue working out all summer for the cross-country
admitted hill running is a not his favorite terrain but will overcome
his deficiency with hard work.
weaknesses in distance running are hills," Benally noted. "I
plan to improve that weakness by doing more hills. The strength
is that I have a big heart, strong mind and if I what to win, I
go for it."
played a key role in Shiprock's drive to success. He became a household
name among prep distance runners throughout the state.
season accolades poured in for Benally. After earning cross-country
all-state honors, Benally was selected to compete for Team New Mexico
at the USA National meet in Indianapolis where they claimed first
was an honor to be a member of the national championship team from
New Mexico," he said. "We had a solid team, from our top
runner to our fifth runner. It was great to be part of the team."
earned all state honors three of his four years with the Chieftains.
During his freshman season, he helped Shiprock nail down the District
1AAA championship and capture state runners-up honors.
to moving up to a larger classification (Class AAAA), Shiprock won
the Class AAA state championship trophy during Benally's sophomore
season. Benally earned all-district and all-state honors during
the Chieftains state title run.
became stronger during Benally's junior year as the Chieftains entered
the Class AAAA circle.
claimed district runners-up, qualifying for the state meet where
Benally again earned all-district and all-state honors.
had four pretty good years in cross-country," Benally said.
"It was very tough after we entered Class AAAA. I held my own."
Benally never won an individual track championship, he earned all-state
honors in the grueling 3,200-meters during his four years as a Chieftain.
Benally finished as bridesmaid three times in the 3,200-meters and
once in the 1,600-meters.
helped lead Shiprock to a pair of team District 1AAA championships,
before venturing to a tougher District 1AAAA.
says Benally brings charisma to Dine College squad.
brings a lot of talent and also he is a runner that is dedicated
and motivated to do whatever it takes to improve himself and the
team," Bitok said. "I am glad he decided to join Dine