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Lady Sand Devils take state title in cross country

Modified: Wednesday, Nov 7th, 2012

(Front row) Jordan Roskelley, Summer Rocke, Victoria Benally, Helly Whitehorse; (back row) Megan Yellowman, Tomeka Church, Jayde Secody, Nicolette Coleman, Alexis Smith, Nicole Douglas, Mariah Haskie, Jordan Kensley, Mia Smith
Like Nostradamus, Mac Lane saw it coming.

Near the beginning of the season, and then again a few weeks ago he predicted his Lady Sand Devils cross country team was bound for a state championship. Last Saturday, he was proved a seer.

Jayde Secody, Nicolette Coleman and Nicole Douglas finished sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively, to power Page High to the Arizona state Division III cross-country championship Nov. 3.

“It was a pretty good weekend for the girls,” he said with chuckle when reminded of his prognostication, “but it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I expected us to be there, but I wasn’t quite sure.”

It was the ninth state championship for the Page girls cross country program since 1989—the fifth title for Lane as a coach. The boys have won 11 in that time.

Lane said the key to a somewhat narrow victory over Mingus Union was the performance of his seniors Secody, Coleman and Douglas.

“I expected Jayde to do well, and I expected Nicolette and Nicole to do well, too, but they really came through,” he said.

Thanks to the three seniors’ performances, the Devils outpointed Mingus Union 51-58 to take the title. Chinle was a distant third with 110 points. Eighteen teams competed.

Secody churned through the 3.1-mile course on the Cave Creek Golf Course in Phoenix in 19:53, well behind winner Diana Garcia, of Tempe, who turned in a scorching 18:39. Sierra Jarriel, of Fountain Hills, was a distant second, 32 seconds back..

Mingus Union’s Skyler Storie, who won the sectional championship the previous week, took third, with her teammate, Justine Taylor taking fifth, four seconds ahead of Secody.

But the Sand Devils depth countered the two Mingus runners’ high finishes.

Coleman was six seconds behind her teammate and two seconds ahead of Douglas.

Lane said junior Tomeka Church did a terrific job, placing 18th. (See sidebar story about Church’s inspiration.)

Among the other underclassmen, sophomore Jordan Roskelley, despite struggling, finished 23rd. “She’ll regroup and we expect big things from her next year,” Lane said.

Freshmen Lara Yazzie, who was battling a bit of a thigh injury, placed 40th and Aniya Nez 70th.

Lane didn’t predict a championship for the boys, but thought they had a solid chance to finish in the top three.

Instead they had to settle for fifth.

Physical ailments cost the Sand Devils, as Xiaija Schuldies got sick on the course during the race, according to Lane, who said perhaps twenty-some runners passed the stricken junior, who crossed the finish line 55th.

“We probably would have been in the top three had he not had that difficulty,” Lane said.

In addition, Jeffery Miller, the Devils’ top runner for much of the season, suffered back spasms a few weeks before the sectional meet.

Lane said the sophomore was unable to train intensely, and so was a little off his time at state.

Still, Miller finished 12th, four positions behind teammate Ammon Secody, who ran 16:26, about 28 seconds behind winner Jake Wynn of Saguaro.

Tyron Yazzie placed 21st and Stefan Benally 47th.

Rio Rico took the team title, easily outscoring a talented Tuba City team, 29-73. Page had 125, nearly 100 points clear of Winslow. There were 21 teams in the race.

“I was very pleased with the boys’ performance,” Lane said, “but a few could have run better.”

The coach, perhaps again channeling Nostradamus, said he’s sees good things for the boys next season.

“I think the boys team overall will realize how far they came this season, and after track and a good summer, they can be among the top two teams next year,” he said.

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