Yeego Warriors!

Diné College Men Win, Women Take Second

September 21, 2012

Durango, CO - This past Friday, the Diné College cross country runners competed in the Southwest SC Challenge” hosted by Fort Lewis College. The Warriors captured the team title in the men’s race by pulling out a close victory over Fort Lewis and CCU, while the Diné College women took 2nd place behind Fort Lewis.

Following the mid school and high school races, the collegiate women toed the line for their 5K race. CCU’s top runner jumped out to an early lead, and Diné College’s women raced with purpose from the start. Freshman Tatiyana Johnson (Tuba City, AZ) ran with the early leaders, running a fast opening mile. Starting fast was key in this meet, as much of the course was a single-lane trail where passing was difficult. Johnson was followed closely by teammates Telaina Henry (Huerfano, NM), RaeShelle Largo (Metmore, NM), Tizanna Henry (Pinon, AZ) and Annette Brown (Chinle, AZ).

In the end, the Lady Warriors were able to place 2 women in the top 8 and finish 20 points behind the women of Fort Lewis for second place. Tatiyana Johnson captured 3rd overall in the college race with a time of 20:41. Telaina Henry finished in 8th place (21:22), RaeShelle Largo took 11th (21:58), Tizanna Henry claimed 13th (22:27), and Annette Brown rounded out the scoring in 19th (23:38).

“This young team is improving and getting stronger each week, and if we stay healthy, we’re going to be a very tough team to race against as the season progresses” said Diné College coach Gavin Sosa.

In the men’s race, the Warriors were looking to prove that they could run with Fort Lewis, after being soundly beaten by the Skyhawks the week before. “From the gun, we took the lead and never looked back” Sosa commented. Diné College Sophomore Andrew Honyaktewa (Second Mesa, AZ) led the entire race, finishing first and capturing the first win of his collegiate career with a time of 27:35. His victory did not count for the Warrior’s team score however, as Honyaktewa competed as an unattached runner.

That made Rusty Eddie Jones (Chinle, AZ) Diné College’s top runner. Jones ran an aggressive race, charging to the front and pushing the pace. He placed 2nd amongst scoring runners in 28:04, a breakout race for the sophomore. He was followed quickly by a pack of teammates. The Warrior’s strong pack proved to be the difference in the team standings, as Diné College pulled out a very close victory, beating Fort Lewis by 3 points: 28 to 31.

The Warriors placed 5 men in the top 10. Dustin Abeita (Thoreau, NM) ran an impressive race finishing 3rd, followed by Ronald Hicks (Page, AZ) in 5th, Darrick Joey (Chinle, AZ) in 8th, and Herbert Beyale, III (Shiprock, NM) in 10th. Other runners for Diné College were Charles Manymules (Chinle, AZ) in 16th place, Justin Yazzie (Chinle, AZ) in 23rd, and Reynold Draper (Del Muerto, AZ) in 24th.

“We have a young, fairly inexperienced team this year. But each of these guys is just getting stronger, learning to race, and gaining confidence in themselves and their training. When we’re at full strength, and as our runners continue to progress, we’re going to become more competitive with the larger programs that we race against,” Sosa said.

Diné College will compete next on October 6th at the Grand Canyon University Invite at Estrella Mountain Regional Park in Goodyear, AZ. See full schedule here.