Lady Chieftains upset by Window Rock at home meet
Kashon Harrison breaks Shiprock course record, takes first
- Navajo Prep ran twice in 12 hours, taking third in the boys' race and fifth in the girls' in back-to-back days.
- The Lady Chieftains were upset by Window Rock, which won by two points in Shiprock.
- Kashon Harrison set a new course record at Shiprock, finishing first with a time of 15 minutes and 26 seconds.
- Piedra Vista's Paris Chee represented her school well with a third-place finish at the Shiprock Invitational.
FARMINGTON — The Window Rock girls cross-country team spoiled Shiprock's annual Shiprock Invitational on Saturday, edging the Lady Chieftains by two points to pull off the upset.
Just one year ago, Window Rock finished 53 points behind the Shiprock team, which easily won that meet.
"We continue to struggle with too large of a pack time," Lady Chieftains cross-country coach Alice Kinlichee said.
Destiny Rockwell had her best run of the young season for second-place Shiprock, taking second overall with a time of 20 minutes and 14 seconds. Khadija Lapahie was fourth after Piedra Vista's Paris Chee, who finished the race three seconds faster than Lapahie and just eight seconds off of Rockwell's time.
PV coach Sampson Sage said Chee, a senior, is benefiting from the best off-season of her career.
"In the past few years, she would say, 'I've been running hard all summer,' and the season would start and I'd think, 'Not really,'" Sage said of Chee. "But this year, I could definitely see it. Rather than starting from scratch with her, she's been able to hit the ground running because of the hard work she put in this summer."
The Lady Panthers were third as a team with 85 points, 34 more than Shiprock. Navajo Prep earned fifth with 155 points, and Kirtland Central's girls were sixth at 160.
Rounding out the top 10, Bloomfield was eighth with 225 points, and the Lady Scorpions landed in ninth with 251. Thirteen girls' teams participated in the Shiprock Invite.
Individually, LaKyla Yazzie of KC was fifth after Lapahie. T'yana Harry earned sixth for Shiprock, McKinzey Allee was seventh for Farmington and freshman Shannus Becenti represented Navajo Prep in eighth place. McDonald said Sarah Chacon left big shoes to fill when she graduated, and believes Becenti may be a candidate to fill them.
"She has the ability, she's been doing everything right at practice," McDonald said. "With Sarah gone, the returning athletes are struggling to find momentum. She was their leader and motivator."
On the boys side, it was another first-place finish for sophomore Kashon Harrison out of Kirtland Central, but this one was record-breaking.
Harrison set a new course record at the Shiprock Invite by breezing through the race in a cool 15:26, 17 seconds better than Santiago Hardy, who was also his nemesis in last week's Canyon de Chelly meet. Harrison has now finished first in every race he has run so far this year.
Koby Blackwater had a great day as well for the Broncos, taking sixth and helping his school place second out of 15 with 58 points. Chinle was first, accumulating 56 points.
Navajo Prep was third with 98 points, and Shiprock was right behind the Eagles with 106 points, good for fourth.
Prep didn't have anyone in the top 10, but the school boasted six runners between 15th and 33rd place.
Aaron Gould ran a great meet for the hosts, taking fifth place overall.
Brayan Barajas paced sixth-place Piedra Vista by earning ninth.
Farmington nabbed ninth as a school, while Bloomfield settled for 13th overall.
Aztec, Navajo Prep run in Durango's Southwest Sunset XC Classic
Tigers coach Steve Lanier committed to running in Friday's Southwest Sunset XC Classic in Durango, Colo., before the meet was moved up one week, making it conflict with the Shiprock Invite.
The Lady Tigers took fourth in Durango, while Aztec's boys placed fifth. Lanier said it was a nice change of pace to run at night.
"It was a night meet, so it was a little different and exciting," Lanier said. "I think the kids had fun running under the lights."
The flu bug was running through Aztec's crew, so they were missing a couple of male runners. The top Tiger finishers were Matthew Smith (12th) and Andrew Day (13th), who crossed the finish line four seconds apart.
Hailey Chapman was Aztec's top girl finisher. She placed 13th.
The weekend was long but successful for Navajo Prep. Before the Class 4A school placed its boys third and its girls fifth in Shiprock, coach Stephanie McDonald's XC teams ran in Durango the night before, where the boys and girls finished in the exact same slots.
McDonald said she was weary about competing twice in a span of just 12 hours, but she thought the experiment worked out well, and now she's looking toward the future.
"By placing third at both meets, that makes for a successful season opener for the boys," McDonald said. "We just need to keep everyone healthy, injury free and hope that leads to a strong desire to stay competitive."
Just like they did in Shiprock, Cameron Becenti and Mathis Quintana led the way for the Eagles. Becenti was 15th, and Quintana was 17th.
Prep, Shiprock, Farmington, KC, Aztec, PV and Bloomfield all compete in the Totah Invitational at 3 p.m. Friday at Lions Wilderness Park in Farmington.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.