FARMINGTON — The Navajo Prep cross country teams are coming off a banner year for the program and hoping to achieve similar results this year.
The girls program won the 2A state title for the third time in school history last season after finishing runner-up the two seasons prior, while the boys' team had its best ever finish at the state meet, placing third.
The girls' team returns the vast majority of its roster from last season, losing just one senior -- Delta Higdon -- off of the championship team.
With a strong returning core of runners, the Lady Eagles should be among the contenders for the state title again.
"The varsity girls know where they need to be at and what they need to do," said Prep head coach Stephanie McDonald. "We're looking good for the beginning of the season, and we're hoping to stay strong."
The Lady Eagles will be led by senior Muriel Wanazkoo, who finished second individually in the state meet last season behind only Cassie C de Baca of Pecos.
Also returning off the title team are seniors Hannah Antone, Ashley Joe and Brandi Reano and juniors Vanisha Sam and Jazzlyn Quintana.
The boys' team also returns a strong core of runners with seniors Leandrew Dailey, David Wauneka, Isaiah Yazzie, Sheldon Guerito and Aaron Tallis and sophomore Deshane Begay all coming back off of the third place finish.
The experience both squads have should prove to be beneficial as they each hope to vie for a state championship on Nov. 9.
"I know we have what it takes, but it's the beginning of the season," McDonald said. "By the end of the season, I feel we're going to be competitive with the boys and the girls."
For the teams to reach that championship level, McDonald knows the kids will have to continue to work and improve through out their race schedules.
"As a coach, I'm never really satisfied. I think we can get stronger. I think we can go harder," she said. "I'm not satisfied with where I think they should be, but at the same time, it's still early in the season."
Joshua Perry covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jperrysuu.