Chee, Williams help PV girls take 2nd at Totah

Kashon Harrison wins another boys race, guides Kirtland Central to a first-place team finish

Jake Newby
  • Piedra Vista's girls finished second behind Window Rock in the Lady Panthers' home meet.
  • The Kirtland Central boys finished in first for the first time this season.
  • Strong races from Mathis Quintana, Cameron Becenti and Tyrese Begay helped the Eagles land in second.
  • Khadija Lapahie and Destiny Rockwell earned top-10 finishes for a shorthanded Shiprock squad.

FARMINGTON — The Totah Invitational was kind to the hosts on Friday afternoon.

Piedra Vista's Paris Chee, right, runs ahead of Shiprock's Destiny Rockwell at the Totah Invitational on Friday at Lions Wilderness Park in Farmington.

The Piedra Vista girls cross-country team was denied first place by Window Rock, Ariz., but finished 37 points ahead of third-place finisher and perennial powerhouse Shiprock when all was said and done at Lions Wilderness Park in Farmington.

Aztec took fourth place with 103 points, and Navajo Prep's girls rounded out the top five with 134. Kirtland Central corralled seventh with 168 points, 23 better than eighth-place Farmington.

Bloomfield fielded an incomplete girls team and did not make it into the list of 10 qualifying schools that placed.

Paris Chee and Kendall Williams ran to second- and- third-place finishes, respectively, to guide the Lady Panthers past a Shiprock team that was without three of its usual varsity girls. Still, the placement was very encouraging to PV cross-country coach Sampson Sage, who said he expected the Sept. 3 UNM Lobo Invitational to look more like Friday's meet.

"If you dive through the results, you can see that Shiprock was a little shorthanded, but, regardless, I thought this was how the season would start," Sage said. "Because it's taken a couple of races for Kendall to start racing the way she should be racing."

Williams, a senior, is coming on strong for PV after a slow first month of the season. Sage said she picked a good time to break out.

"This is who Kendall is," Sage said. "For her to take so long to get to this point, it was a bit frustrating on both her end and my end. But for her to perform so well in front of friends and family at the home meet — on top of the excellent fall Paris is having — really, it was a great showing."

Navajo Prep's Shannus Becenti competes in the Totah Invitational on Friday at Lions Wilderness Park in Farmington.

Lady Chieftain sophomore Khadija Lapahie was just three seconds behind Williams in taking fourth.

Impressive Navajo Prep freshman Shannus Becenti placed fifth, and behind her was Shiprock's Destiny Rockwell, whose time of 21 minutes and 23 seconds was good enough for sixth.

Farmington's McKinzey Allee (seventh) and Kirtland Central's LaKyla Yazzie (ninth) placed within the top 10 of 62 qualifying runners.

Kirtland Central sophomore Kashon Harrison made it 4-for-4 in races he's conquered this season when he took first in the boys meet to lift the Broncos to first as a team.

Harrison's time of 16:03 was nearly a full minute faster than Shiprock's Aaron Gould, who claimed second.

Broncos coach Lenny Esson said the race served as more of a practice session for his top runner.

"No disrespect to anyone, it's just with not really having anyone that's gonna push (Harrison), we kind of made a workout out of the whole thing," Esson said. "It's a 5-mile workout; he did the first two miles just at tempo, then he ran the third mile in under five minutes. Then he came back and did two more miles at tempo."

KC's 45 points were 17 better than runner-up Navajo Prep. Aztec earned third with 71 points, while PV took fourth with 96.

Aztec's Matthew Smith runs in the Totah Invitational on Friday at Lions Wilderness Park in Farmington.

Just outside of the top five was Shiprock (sixth) with 144 points and Farmington (seventh) with 175. Bloomfield placed ninth out of 10 qualifying schools.

Individually, Koby Blackwater had a nice day in earning third. Fellow Bronco Jacob Hawkins took sixth for the victors.

Aztec's Matthew Smith was fourth, and Benjamin VanOtteson placed fifth as the highest placer from the host Panthers. VanOtteson's teammate Brayan Barajas was five seconds behind him in seventh.

Rounding out the top 10 were Prep's Mathis Quintana (eighth), Aztec's Andrew Day and Prep's Cameron Becenti (10th).

Tanin McDermott nabbed 12th as Farmington's highest placer. More pressure will be on McDermott to help the Scorpions qualify for state now that FHS senior standout Danny Hickman is slated to miss the remainder of the season with an abdominal strain and possible hernia, according to coach Kevin Deswood.

Expectations have been tempered for Deswood, who said he anticipates Miyamura and Gallup to be Farmington's top competition in District 1-5A as the school tries to make it to state.

"Kirtland's a great team, and you got Aztec, a team that won the district last year," Deswood said. "We've got Tanin anchoring our team, and we really want to see how we stack up against Miyamura and Gallup and see who gets that third spot in our district."

Clayton White, who took 24th, was Bloomfield's fastest finisher on Friday.

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