Returning AIA D4 Girls' Team Rankings (Based on Average): 1st
The St. Michael girls dominated the D4 Girls' race last year with just 63 points, and they have a good chance to do it again. Ali Upshaw and Chiara Holgate are dependable front runners for the Cardinals and will likely be one of the best one-two punches in the State. Upshaw and Robinson finished ahead of the rest of the field by almost two minutes and without a challenger in the D4 Girls' race, Upshaw will likely defend her title once again. It'll be interesting to see if Holgate can keep Upshaw in her sights for most of the race and possibly finish second or third.
Ashley Phillips and Auri Quintana are solid varsity athletes who will return with depth for St. Michael. Phillips ran in the D4 Girls' 3200m at the Track and Field State Meet and finished 12th in the D4 Section 3 Girls' race at the Holbrook Sectionals, while Quintana also finished 9th at Sectionals.
The Cardinals locked down the win with four sophomores last year and will rely on strong junior class to make it back-to-back D4 state titles at Cave Creek Golf Course, this fall.
Coach Kelly Bia Says...
Who are your top returners?
Our top returners for lady Cardinals are Ali Upshaw, Chiara Holgate, Ashley Phillips & Auri Quintana
Do you have any impact freshman or incoming transfers?
We have 2 Freshman young ladies that can make a great impact on our program. Nizhoniibaa Phillips and Amber Woody came up from our Middle School Program which is a mirror of our High School program in terms of mental and physical preparation just with less intensity and more games, etc.
What kind of mileage the Cardinals been running and what has been the focus of the current phase of your training?
With our ladies it varies from 15 miles to 45 miles per week depending on the athlete and where they picked up in our Summer Running Program. We have 12 young ladies in our program, all at different levels of running. It's the most we've had in our program. Usually we have about 6 to 8.
Currently with school starting and coming off of foundation training (base building) we have been doing a workout every week just to keep some intensity but a lot of it is building our foundation so we can build other workouts on top of our foundation for months coming ahead. It's a lot like building a house. With August and official practice starting we'll do some workouts to gauge where we're at as a group and sub-groups to move forward for August and September.
(Left: Chiara Holgate was the top sophomore in the D4 Girls' race at State, last year. - photo by John Hays)
What meets are you keying in on this year?
We will open at Peaks Invitational. That will be a good meet to see what we look like as a group and continue to work on feeding off of one another and moving together as a pack or "flock". Second meet will be Desert Twilight a mid-season meet. Then the next big meet is "Eye of the Tiger." Then we head into Sectionals and State, then hopefully we'll have a good group of ladies for Nike Southwest.
Have you set any goals as a team?
Team goals are always having a good work ethic, get outside of the comfort zone especially during harder workout days, accountability and being a good team-mate/sister in our Program and have fun along the way. We have the chance to run against the best this year and to have a good showing regardless of Division.
Our main goal to keep progressing and challenging themselves as young Navajo ladies that are representing St Michael Indian, their families and themselves. Always striving to be the best person they can be for their team, their families and their school.
Check out the St. Michael girls' stats on the next page.