one didn't come easy for the Hopi Bruins, but as a team they sprinted
to the finish line in full stride to claim both the boys and girls
Arizona Division IV state cross-country title at the Cave Creek
Golf Course in Phoenix on Saturday.
The boy's team set a national record by winning its 24th state
crown with a bevy of newcomers.
"We're not as stacked as we have been in the past," Hopi coach
Rich Baker said. "We had some runners that didn't come out this
year. We had some young guys that stepped up."
The Bruins finished the meet with 69 points headed by the second-
and fifth-place performance from junior Anfernee Howard (16:32)
and Terry Honventewa (16:50).
With three other legitimate teams to contend with, the Lady
Bruins ran their best race of the year to maintain their dominance
in girls cross country.
The Bruins finished the meet with 38 points ahead of Tucson
Pusch Ridge (56), Scottsdale Prep (69) and Flagstaff Northland Prep
"These girls took it to a whole new level," Hopi coach Laverne
Lomakema said. "Coming into the race we talked a lot about team
goals and individual goals but having that faith in our abilities
and having that faith in our training played a huge factor."
Entering the final race, Lomakema asked her squad to improve
on their 42-second pack time they set during the sectional meet
two weeks ago.
They exceeded that as the Bruins shaved off seven seconds with
senior Christen Ben leading the way with a second-place effort of
"I have five seniors on this team that I have worked with the
last four years," Lomakema said immediately following the awards
ceremony. "They're great role models and this was our last race
together and I am really glad we can celebrate it like this."
Howard lost the state title to Josh Hoskinson of Phoenix Arizona
Lutheran. Hoskinson completed the race with a winning time of 16:14.
"I tried to go after that guy but he had a good lead on me,"
As for continuing the tradition he said, "it feels great knowing
that we got a state title -- it's the team win that matters the
The rest of the team included Kelan Poleahla (15th), Jason Laban
(21st), Aaron Swimmer (26th), Sean Sloan (33rd) and Slim Jackson
(34th) with the first three being part of the team score.
"We ran tough and we ran like we wanted to," Baker said. "This
is what we train for all year and it's good to end the season on
a positive note."
Pinon (see separate story) finished second to Hopi while Many
Farms placed fourth with 195 points. The Lobos were paced by Dominick
Wilson's 16th-place finish and Zhariff Lee's 22nd performance.
"They ran a lot better today than what we did before," said
Many Farms coach Nancy Teller. "I think they were real focused today
and they pulled it off."
Red Mesa, which finished 18th in the team standings with 381
points, was led by Keithfer Jim as the freshman runner made the
second-team all-state with his 10th place performance.
Red Valley-Cove runner Devin Howe also made the all-state team
by placing in the top 21 with a 16th-place performance.
Like their counterpart, the Lady Bruins extended an impressive
streak by winning its 22nd state title.
This one, however, was no slam-dunk as the Bruins had their
work cut out for them.
"We had more competition this year but we didn't take that to
heart," Ben said. "We just went out there and tried our best to
get another championship."
Ben improved her personal record by 44 seconds at the state
meet and came in 11 seconds behind individual winner Valentina Nyhart
Northland Prep. Nyhart won the race with a winning time of 19:39.
"I'm pretty happy with where I finished but I'm also feeling
sad because this was my last high school race," Ben said.
She was not the only one feeling that way as Claryn Josytewa,
Randi Lomayestewa, Kaitlin Billy and Jennifer Lomayaketewa also
capped their prep season as winners.
"This year's title stands out the most because we had to work
hard for it," said Josytewa. "I am just happy that we were able
to keep the tradition going."
With a time of 20:10, Josytewa placed 7th overall, four seconds
ahead of Day (8th) and 11 seconds in front of Lomayestewa (10th).
Billy rounded out the team score with an 11th-place finish in 20:25.
"I want to thank the fans for coming out," Lomakema said. "Every
year they play a big role in motivating these girls."
Other finishers included Sanders Valley, as they placed 10th
in the team standings with 261 points, headed by the 38th-place
finish from senior Ernessa Yazzie.
Individually, Danah Smith made the all-state team with a 20th-place