Raiders, Cougars open cross country season at Loyds Lake Classic
by Jessica Walker
The Whitehorse High School cross country team traveled to Monticello on Friday, September 2 to compete in the Loyds Lake Classic against teams more than five times larger than them.
Composed entirely of underclassmen, the Raider girls tested out the waters in their first race of the season. The girls team has been small in number in recent years, but the six freshmen who joined the team this year are surely a welcome sight and paint a bright future for the team.
Lamiya Benally was the first Raider to come in for the girls team. She placed 25th with her time of 26:36 and led the team to a sixth-place finish.
Benally was followed by Heidi Clark who finished 30th in 28:40 and Harmony Thomas in 31st with her time of 29:04.
The next three runners claimed 39th, 40th, and 41st. Shantel Begay led the trio with a time of 33:24. Isabel Zuniga followed with a time of 33:50 and Hannah Clark completed the group with a time of 34:57.
Hope Palmer and Samara Begay rounded out the team, finishing 46th and 47th with times of 40:02 and 49:25.
The boys team also sports a few new freshman additions. One of those additions, Ethan Begay, led the team with his impressive 39th place finish and time of 21:44.
The next four Raiders claimed consecutive spots, 54th through 57th places. Robryan Tapaha was first among that group, finishing the Loyds Lake course in 30:04. Next came Lyrell Primeaux in 30:15 and Tavin Benally in 31:26. Rounding out the group was freshman Brayden John with his time of 35:59.
Also worth noting was Keiarra Martin’s performance in the junior high division. Martin won the girls race for the second year in a row, by nearly a minute with a time of 10:08. An eighth-grader, Martin will be an exciting addition to the high school team next year.
Monument Valley, like Whitehorse, was also competing in their first race of the season at the Loyds Lake Classic. Although fewer in number than other local teams, the Cougars still put up a good showing.
Seniors Lillianna Fatt and Caitlyn Yazzie led the Cougar girls. Fatt finished 29th with a time of 28:06, while Yazzie finished 36th with a time of 32:29. Gratona Gray rounded out the girls team with a 43rd place finish and a time of 35:43.
The boys team was led by freshman Josiah Gipe who placed 41st and crossed the finish line with a time of 22:13. Gipe was followed by Isiah Singer in 47th with a time of 23:03.
Next to come in was Keshawn Atene. He was less than two minutes behind Singer in 49th with a time of 24:46. Tyrik Benally completed the varsity squad with his 58th-place finish and a time of 37:13.
In the junior high division, two girls and two boys, placed in the top ten. Tessa Jackson and Addison Spitzer took eighth and tenth for the girls with times of 12:05 and 12:17. William Vlair and Harley Shumway placed fourth and sixth for the boys with times of 10:17 and 10:25.