Kirtland Central boys grab first in Gallup

Shiprock girls lose out on first place late in Desert Twilight race, McKinzey Allee wins first overall in Chicken Creek Challenge

Jake Newby
  • Kashon Harrison took second in the Gallup Invite, propelling Kirtland Central to first overall.
  • The Shiprock girls landed in second in Desert Twilight behind all-around team performance.
  • McKinzey Allee won the girls race at the Chicken Creek Challenge, her second straight individual win.

FARMINGTON — For the fifth straight time this season, the Kirtland Central boys cross-country team placed in the top three.

Led by Kashon Harrison’s second-place finish, the Broncos earned first out of the 10 schools that ran at the Gallup Invite on Saturday.

Aaron Bunny took fourth, and Koby Blackwater grabbed 10th for coach Lenny Esson.

On the girls side, out of 10 schools, Kirtland Central snatched fourth, led once again by LaKyla Yazzie and her second first-place finish of the season.

“LaKyla didn’t really have anyone to work with, so it really just became a long tempo run for her from mile two on,” Esson said. “No one really even pushed her.”

The Navajo Prep boys and girls teams were also in Gallup on Saturday. The two teams landed in fifth overall, but according to coach Stephanie McDonald, both thought they underachieved.

“I don’t think either team was too happy with how they ran, but I was,” McDonald said. “Their times weren’t far off from what they ran a week ago.”

Justina Slim placed highest among Lady Eagles by earning 13th place.

Sophomore Cameron Becenti took 11th and junior Mathis Quintana took 13th for the boys.

Shiprock girls just miss first at Desert Twilight in Arizona

Just like the Kirtland boys, the Shiprock girls team has earned a spot in the top three in all five meets it has competed in this year.

The Lady Chieftains, who have won three meets this year and placed third in another, took second at the Twilight Run in Casa Grande, Ariz., on Friday.

Shiprock coach Alice Kinlichee said she was “quite happy” to come away from the huge, 22-school invite with the second-place trophy.

“We were running No. 1 as a team until the last 400 meters or so,” she said. “But we did not run at full strength as a team, so it was still good to see. We had a few girls really step up.”

Those girls were Destiny Rockwell, Tyana Harry and Nicolette Weaver, according to Kinlichee. Rockwell ran well enough to take 11th place, while Harry and Weaver took 21st and 34th, respectively.

Lacey Howe had a bit of an off day compared to the excellent standards she has set this year. She wound up in 20th place.

The Lady Chieftains ran in the championship division in Casa Grande, which is just below the sweepstakes division.

The Shiprock boys were also placed in the championship division, where they ranked 13th out of 26 schools on Friday.

Aaron Ghoul and Aaron Lee were the previous individual leaders in all races this season for coach Brian Paniagua, but senior Dominic Crosby led the way for Shiprock on Friday.

“He got a really good start, jumped out in front and did the best he could to hang on,” Paniagua said of Crosby’s day. “He ended up 38th.”

Piedra Vista’s teams raced in the championship division as well.

Led by Paris Chee, the PV girls finished 8th out of 22. Kendall Williams ran just behind Chee.

The boys got 12th out of 26, led by Ben Vanotteson, who finished 24th. He was followed very closely by Brayan Barajas, who ran a breakout race with his best time of the year.

Ryan Kruger and Cassandra Crowell finished third among PV runners on their respective teams, though they usually pace their squads. Panthers coach Sampson Sage said they were fatigued.

“Ryan and Cassandra were on day 12 of a 14-day training cycle on Friday,” Sage said. “So they were just going off of fumes, really. It explains why their times weren’t quite as low as usual.”

Farmington teams impress at Chicken Creek Challenge in Colorado

Freshman McKinzey Allee turned heads again on Saturday at the Chicken Creek Challenge in Mancos, Colo., by winning the girls race. The win was her second individual win in as many weeks.

“Right now, the way we’ve been training, McKinzey has adjusted really well as far as picking up the gist of what we’re trying to do as a program,” Farmington coach Kevin Deswood said. “She’s getting faster, and she seems to be right now just running smart races.”

Allee helped the Farmington girls secure third place out of six teams.

The Farmington boys were impressive as well, finishing second.

Daniel Hickman took fourth and Tanin McDermott got eighth for the Scorpions, who have put together a really strong first half of the season that includes three, second-place finishes in five weeks.

The Aztec teams were off over the weekend, aside from senior Elana Kresl.

Aztec coach Steve Lanier said his team needed a week to rest up, but since Kresl has missed a couple of meets due to her role as starting goalie for the Aztec soccer team, she needed to get the Mancos race under her belt.

“Elana needed to run,” Lanier said. “Plus, she loves the Chicken Creek course, but just hasn’t been able to run it because of soccer.”

Kresl did very well, finishing second behind Allee in the girls race.

The Bloomfield boys and girls were scheduled to run in the Cuba Invite on Saturday. Coach Julian Garcia could not be reached for comment on Sunday.

Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.