SHIPROCK — On its home course in front of its fans, the Shiprock girls cross-country team put on a show Saturday morning at Chieftain Stadium.
The Lady Chieftains were by far the best of the 13 units at the Shiprock Invitational, finishing with a first-place score of 29 points. The closest team to Shiprock was Window Rock with 82.
"It's always good to win our home meet, and that's one of the goals we set before the season started," Shiprock coach Alice Kinlichee said. "Everybody did their part today."
Five Lady Chieftains placed in the individual top 10 of the girls varsity 5K run. Lacey Howe took third, Khadija Lapahie took fifth, Destiny Rockwell placed sixth, T'yana Harry got seventh and Cassandra Peters was eighth.
Saturday's win marked the second time in three weeks that Shiprock's girls had taken first place. They won the Canyon de Chelly Invitational on Sept. 5.
The Shiprock boys managed sixth place out of 17 teams. Chieftains coach Brian Paniagua said he was a little disappointed with that placing.
"I was hoping for better today," he said. "We had a couple guys fall off the back, and they didn't get back into it. That kind of cost us a little bit."
As they have been for the rest of the season, Aaron Lee (23rd) and Aaron Gould (27th) were Shiprock's top finishers.
After winning the Miyamura meet last week, Kirtland Central's boys had another impressive outing, taking second out of 17 teams with a score of 124 points. Chinle was head and shoulders better than the competition Saturday, winning first place with 35 points.
KC's Kashon Harrison continued making his case for the top runner in District 1-4A by winning first place in the boys 5K run. His time was 16 minutes and 11 seconds, nearly four full seconds better than the next-best runner.
"I missed a track mark, and I had to catch up to the (Chinle) runner who was ahead of me," Harrison said. "After I passed him, I went uphill and started using my kick between the 200- and 300-meter mark."
Harrison said mental strength kept him focused toward the end of the 5k. His teammate Aaron Bunny took 13th.
The Kirtland Central girls landed in seventh place with 198 points, 4 points better than eighth-place Navajo Prep.
"This is the first meet where the girls were fully healthy," KC coach Lenny Esson said. "The girls aren't as deep as the boys, but we kind of got a preview of what we'll be working with at full strength."
Piedra Vista's girls took fourth overall with 107 points, just 5 points out of third. The Lady Panthers were paced by Cassandra Crowell, who took 10th, and Paris Chee, who finished 11th. Kendall Williams was 20th.
PV's boys had a good day, as well, taking fifth. Ryan Kruger (13th) and Ben Vanottenson (15th) led the way for Panthers coach Sampson Sage.
"Both teams did really well," Sage said. "We're still trying to figure out who we are and where we are, and today was a really good indicator."
The Aztec girls ran well on Saturday, placing fifth with 145 points, led by Ashlynn Atwood and Naomi Teasyatwho, who ended up in 18th and 22nd, respectively.
"I know for a fact that Naomi and Ashlynn ran their best time ever," Lady Tigers coach Steve Lanier said. "So we're pretty tickled with them."
Aztec's Dwight Barton snagged 21st in the boys 5k, and Andrew Day was 25th. The boys placed ninth as a team.
Stephanie McDonald's Navajo Prep Lady Eagles ran well enough for eighth place at Shiprock. Their top runner was Sarah Chacon, who took 23rd.
The Prep boys ran to a 10th-place finish. Quencavies Dodge finished just inside the top 30 boys at 29th.
"Today was a good day," McDonald said. "I think the times and how good the kids felt made it a good day. I want to get the kids into shape, keep them injury free and work on their times, and we did all of that today. Just about everyone (had a personal record)."
Farmington's boys wound up eighth, while the girls took ninth.
Leading the way for the boys were Danny Hickman and Tanin McDermott, who finished in 14th and 17th, respectively. For the girls — who were without top runner McKinzey Allee — it was Anastasia Wilkinson (15th) and Melina McDermott (16th) who fueled Farmington.
"McKinzey's been our fastest runner at the previous meets, but she had a family function she had to attend today," Lady Scorpions coach Kevin Deswood said. "Anastasia and Melina ran well, finishing just three seconds apart, and I think most of my boys PR'd today."
The Bloomfield boys finished last in 17th, but coach Julian Garcia said his boys took a step forward.
"We had a lot of PRs today," he said. "Morgan Ortiz and Donovan Begay finished four minutes better than they did at this same race last year."
Sophomore Clayton White was the Bobcats' top man at 52nd overall.
Only two of the seven Lady Bobcat runners could make the Shiprock meet. They ran the junior varsity races.