Tuba City Coach Carl Perry was a little nervous after the 3A State Cross Country Race, "Our problem all year has been depth and it's really scaring me right now," said Perry.
While waiting for the team results Coach Perry talked with excitement about his team and his two top runners, junior, Ryan Yazzie and sophomore, Billy Orman. "They are terrific and I think we have the best one-two punch of any team in the state regardless of division. There are other guys that are faster but the best one-two together, you can't beat that." Running side by side almost the entire meet they were a force to be reckon with.
At the one mile mark the lead pack in the 3A race consisted of Yazzie, (pictured left #1235) Orman (#1232), Larry Hermance ( #31086 Sr, Chino Valley ), Juan Martinez (pictured far left in blue, Jr, Chino Valley) and Cody Wells (pictured 2nd from right, Sr, Snowflake). The group stayed close together until the two mile mark with Yazzie and Orman in the front and Wells and Hermance a step behind. Coming up the slope on the second mile Yazzie and Orman pulled away from the pack and as they continued toward the finish line they were still side by side until the final 100 meters when Yazzie sprinted at a full gallup and finished in 16:13.20 with Orman 3 seconds behind. "I knew Cody Wells was going to be right up front with Larry Hermance," said Yazzie. "We had to push a little harder." Wells finished in 3rd place with Jesus Rivera (Jr, Redrock) in 4th and teammates Martinez and Hermance in 5th and 6th.
Although Ryan Yazzie is a junior this is only his second cross country season. "He (Yazzie) is not a full time runner," explained Coach Perry. "He plays basketball in the summer and winter so he doesn't run at all over the winter. He figured out how to race this year....that's the key." Last summer was the first time Yazzie added summer cross country training but had to work his running around his summer basketball schedule.
It definitely paid off.
The one-two punch of Yazzie and Orman helped Tuba City win the 3A Team Title with 68 points. Other team members in scoring positions were senior Mitchell Bahnimptewa in 10th; senior Reggie Poleahla in 19th and junior Herschel Lester in 36th.
Second place Chinle earned 90 points by placing their top five runners in the top 28. Scoring for Chinle were senior Shaqulle Tsedah in 13th; junior Koyai Clauschee in 14th; senior Kyle John in 17th; sophomore Derrick Joey in 18th and freshman Nathaniel Hardy in 28th.
On the girls side freshman Rolanda Jumbo from Chinle ended her first high school cross country season with a State Championship win in the girls 3A race. Jumbo took a commanding lead right from the start and by the mile mark had a 24 second lead over defending State Champion senior Jessica Rydberg from Blue Ridge. At the two mile mark 20 seconds separated the top two runners but by the finish Jumbo had extended her lead to 42 seconds finishing the 3.1 mile course in 18:14.30. "I had fun," said a very shy Jumbo, "I like to run and I run every day." Jumbo will run all winter to train for the upcoming track season where she plans on running the 1600M, 3200M and possibly the 800M. As an eight grader she won the middle school state championship in the 1600M and finished 2nd in the 800M.
It must be in the genes! Jerrison Jumbo (Rolanda's Dad) also ran Cross Country for Chinle when he was in high school........ and he is still running...... "I run along with her (Rolanda) at the end of her race to encourage her," he said with a huge smile on his face, "I feel real good about her race."
"She trains very consistantly and it paid off for her today," said Chinle Coach Shaun Martin, "She let her running do the talking."
Chinle took the team title with 50 points by placing their top 5 runners in the top 20. Also scoring for the team were four juniors; Charnelle Curley in 4th; Angelica Bendonie in 6th; Reba Francisco in 19th and Andrena Jim in 29th. All seven runners will return next year.
Second place Tuba City earned 71 points. Their top five runners were; sophomore Tatiyanah Johnson in 9th, senior Olivia Flores in 12th, freshman Allissa Dallas in 13th; sophomore April Tracy in 16th and sophomore Jennifer Williams in 21st.