Diné College Warriors Win National XC Titles

Feb 15th, 2007 | By | Category: 18-3: Building Prosperity, Tribal College News

CHAMPION RUNNERS: Diné College teams won the men’s races and placed second in the women’s races at the USCAA Cross Country National Championship. Photo Credit: Edward McCombs, Public Relations Officer, Diné College

The Diné College (Tsaile, AZ) cross-country teams took the top spot in the men’s national championship and second in the women’s races at the U. S. Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) Cross-Country National Championship in Buena Vista, VA, on October 27, 2006.

The woman’s cross country team finished in second place, the team’s highest finish yet. The Lady Warriors were led by Academic All-American Lynette Dennison (Navajo), in eighth place with a time of 27:45.

A stride behind Dennison was Shantell Willie (Navajo) in ninth place. Blaire Belle Maryboy (Navajo) finished in 11th place; Maureen Tomasiyo (Navajo) in 12th place; followed by the sister duo Charmyne and Zena Archie (Navajo) in 15th and 16th places, respectively.

The men won their 8k race with a team score of 30 and a little controversy. The Warriors were led by Jacob Kirwa with the winning time of 27:01. Kirwa, a native of Kenya, won, despite being misdirected 300 meters off course by a course official.

Fellow Warrior Tony Perez (Navajo) finished in third place; followed by Aaron Johnson (Navajo) in sixth place; James Nduati (Kenya) in seventh place; Cody Tipler at 13th place; Erwin Chaco (Navajo) in 15th place; Edwin Shipp (Apache) in 21st place; Lucario Padilla (Apache) in 23rd place; and Bryant Goodluck (Navajo) in 25th place.

Four of the men’s team garnered All-American honors: Jacob Kirwa, Tony Perez, Aaron Johnson, and James Nduati. Abraham K. Bitok earned Coach of the Year honors for his efforts.

Bitok, a Diné College alumni and former runner, is a native of Kenya who has successfully coached the men’s team to five USCAA national titles in six years.

He was nominated and selected as one of the Top Ten Most Caring Coaches in the country by USA Today Weekend in its October 1, 2006 edition.

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