FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 26, 2019
TSAILE, Ariz. — Four members of the Diné College cross-country team competed in the recent Northern Arizona University Tune-Up — an annual indoor track and field meet held at the Flagstaff campus.
The meet was the first meet of the year for the Diné College runners. The college doesn’t have a track and field team, but participated in the NAU race to stay prepped for the upcoming cross-country season.
Diné College runners Alwyn Reid, Cauy James, Malcolm Peters and Kevin Jensen participated in the Feb. 15 meet. Each ran the 800 meters and 3000 meters races.
“I thought that we ran very well, considering that we’re still getting to know each other as a team and that we haven’t really been practicing that long,” new cross-country head coach Rodell Williams commented. “There were a lot of teams and clubs there, so I’m happy that we competed like we did.”
A Ganado High School graduate, Reid finished No. 20 in the 3000 meters run with a time of 10:29:31. James (10:53:38), Peters (11:45:93) and Jensen (12:15:63) finished the race as Nos. 22, 23 and 24, respectively. There were 26 runners that ran the race with Blaise Ferro of NAU winning the 3000 with a time of 8:39:38.
In the men’s 800, Reid finished with a time of 2:12:94. No other Diné College runner placed in that race. Erik Oswald, who was not a part of a school or club, won the race with a time of 1:58:35.
“I’m OK with how I did in the races,” Reid said. “I think we all ran hard.”
Besides Diné College and NAU, others that participated in the indoor event were Oregon Tech, Central Arizona Community College, Mesa Community College, Grand Canyon University and the University of New Mexico Track Club. The next meet for Diné College is March 23 at Arizona State University in Tempe.
New Head Coach
They say cross-country is the kind of sport where you always see someone new — no matter if it’s at the coaching or running level.
Diné College followed through on that adage late last year, hiring Williams as the Warriors’ head cross-country coach. Williams is a former student and runner at Diné College under legendary head coach Abe Bitok.
“We welcome (Rodell) as our new cross country coach,” Diné College Athletic Director Shawn Frank said. Frank served as interim head coach during the 2018 cross-country season after Leonard Lee left the job. “He (Williams) was a member of a past cross-country team here at the college.”
Chinle’s Williams was a member of the mid-2000s Diné College team that finished very high at nationals, Frank noted. Williams graduated from Chinle High School, Ariz., and is an avid runner in marathons.
Diné College’s last head cross-country coach was Lee of Newcomb, N.M. Lee now is the head cross-country coach at Navajo Technical University in Crownpoint, N.M. — which is a United States Collegiate Athletic Association rival of the Warriors.
Besides Bitok, some of Diné College’s past head cross-country coaches include Gavin Sosa, Lenny Esson and Shaun Martin. Bitok’s team won an eye-popping eight consecutive cross-country championships. Williams becomes the third head cross-country in as many years at the college.