SIPI Runners Capture National Honors

Nov 15th, 2002 | By | Category: 14-2: American Indian Higher Education Consortium 30th Anniversary, Tribal College News

Brent Reiter finished his brilliant running career by leading Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) to a second place overall team finish at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Marathon Championships in Levelland, TX, last June. Reiter (Menominee), who was competing in his first marathon, completed the grueling 26.2 mile event as the fifth place finisher overall and first SIPI runner to cross the finish line in 2:56:18. The winner of the event was Abraham Kimeli of South Plains College of Levelland.

Other student runners also placed in the marathon. SIPI sophomore Jason King (Navajo), who also finished his running career for SIPI, finished ninth; freshman Cedric Coochyamptewa (Hopi/Tewa) eleventh; and sophomore Reuben James (Navajo) seventeenth. Both King and James were members of SIPI’s team that won the 2001 marathon team title.

The NJCAA record books shows that SIPI has been the most dominant program to ever compete in the history of the NJCAA National Marathon Championships, which has been contested since 1975, according to coach Michael Daney. SIPI, a small American Indian Community College with an enrollment of only 600 students in Albuquerque, NM, has finished as one of the top three teams for the past 10 consecutive years, winning the title five times. This year SIPI finished second. .

For the second year in a row, SIPI took a small contingent of four runners to the NJCAA Division III track meet in Long Island, NY, earlier in the summer (May 1-3) and finished as one of the top eight schools in the overall team standings. SIPI was seventh of 28 teams entered. This is quite a feat because most of the other teams competing have an average of twelve or more athletes on their squads. That accomplishment was noticed by the NJCAA Division III Track Coaches Association, which named SIPI Coach Michael Daney (Choctaw) “Coach of the Year.” He has been coaching at SIPI since Aug. of 1990 when he started the running program. He formerly coached at Haskell Indian Jr. College 1980-1986. Reiter earned the NJCAA Division III Coaches Association Most Valuable Performer Award in the distance events at that track meet.

Several of the SIPI runners have outstanding athletic and academic records. Freshman transfer Filbert Begay (Navajo), who is a former state high school running champion, earned a 3.81 grade point average, which landed him a place on the 2002 NJCAA Track and Field Academic All-American team. Jason King has been on the honor roll all five trimesters he has attended SIPI, and he has been named NJCAA Academic All American three times. The final member of the SIPI track team is freshman Cedric Coochyamptewa (Hopi/Tewa), who along with Reiter and King, was also a member of the SIPI cross-country team that won the NJCAA Division III National Cross Country Champions last fall.

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