team excels at state meet with 27- year winning streak
High boys won their national record 27th straight state championship
and girls took second at the state meet at Cave Creek Golf
Course in Phoenix Nov. 5. Photo/Stan Bindell
High boys jog before the state meet Nov. 5. Photo/Stan Bindell
High girls show they are ready at the starting line. Photo/Stan
PHOENIX The Legend continues to grow. Hopi High School
Coach Rick Baker has been tagged with the nickname of The Legend
after leading the Bruins to a national and state record 26 straight
Make that 27 consecutive state titles after winning another
trophy Nov. 5 at Cave Creek Golf Course in Phoenix. Adding to the
folklore, Baker took over the girls cross-country team this season
and led the young upstarts to a second place finish at state.
The Hopi High girls grabbed second place at the Divison 4 Arizona
State Cross Country Meet in spite of three girls getting kicked
off the team for violating team rules.
Both teams had to overcome obstacles. The Hopi High boys lost
their top runner to academic ineligibility, but still won state.
Despite losing three girls for rule violations, the girls finished
a strong second at state.
It was great to win state again, Baker said. This
is great for the kids and the program.
Baker said the Hopi High runners ran to their potential.
We kept the team concept and the kids ran with heart of
a champion, he said.
The temperature ran into the mid-80s, but the coach felt the
runners were prepared because they ran throughout the summer.
Baker said the fan support from Hopi High remained strong and
encouraged the runners.
Theyre always here, he said.
Baker praised Andre Dennis, who was Hopis third runner throughout
the year but finished as their best runner on the day, coming in
fourth overall. Baker said the top five Hopi High runners were outstanding.
This championship team will lose two seniors to graduation,
Andre Dennis and Andre Lucas.
Well have a young team next year, but well
be competitive, he said.
Hopi High won the boys race with 56 points, Pinon grabbed second
with 80, Flagstaffs Northland Prep took third with 86 and
Many Farms finished fourth with 110 points.
There were 27 teams in the boys race and 20 teams in the
girls race. The top ten teams included Thatcher, fifth, 175;
Alchesay, sixth, 176; Scottsdale Prep, seventh, 279; Red Mesa, eighth,
282; Bisbee, ninth, 305; and Glendale Prep, tenth. 328.
For the boys, Andre Dennis topped Hopi by finishing fourth.
The rest of the championship team included Jihad Nodman, seventh;
Andre Lucas, eighth; DeWayne Laban, 17th; Steven Baker, 27th; Shaunanthony
Pashano, 65th; and Tyrell Humeyesetwa, 101st in the 198 runner race.
Andre Dennis, who placed fourth for the Bruins, said it felt
great winning state because it was Hopi Highs 27th straight
and they were happy to carry on the tradition. Dennis said he ran
to his potential because he was nervous and didnt want to
be on the team that lost the streak.
We all ran to our potential because we were anxious that
we didnt want to be the team that broke the streak,
Dennis, a senior, said the best part of the race was coming
in as Hopi Highs top runner. However, he said all of his teammates
The hot weather and the elevation got to me so I was exhausted
at the end. Pinon gave me a challenge with their top three runners,
Dennis said the fan support was incredible.
They were loud and we had to work for their support,
he said. There were lots and lots of fans there from Hopi.
Dennis said he kept his grades up throughout the season by turning
everything in on time. He plans to go to Northern Arizona University
and hopes to get a cross country scholarship. But for now hes
focused on the state championship.
We did it. We brought the trophy home again, he
DeWayne Laban, a sophomore, said winning state was exciting.
I trained for this all year, he said. The
team ran to their potential because we trained all year.
Laban said his favorite part of the race was that it was fast-paced
and it went by quickly. He said the team could have run better if
they stuck together in more of a pack.
Laban said he got tired faster because it was hot. He said he
stayed academically eligible by turning in his work and asking his
teachers if he had any missing assignments.
Im glad there was a lot of fans there to support
us, he said.
Laban ran with some pain in his leg, but just put Icy Hot on
it and worked his way through it.
I was glad to run for Coach Baker because hes a
really good coach, he said.
Steven Baker, the coachs son, said he was proud to win
state because the Bruins did everything that they needed to do to
win. Baker said he had a hard time running to his potential because
his legs were sore. He felt, like his teammates, that the Bruins
ran at their best because of their training.
I like that we got out there and got the win. We ran our
best, he said.
For the girls Maya Smith from Northland Prep was the individual
state champ for the third year in a row. She came across the finish
line in 18:21. The rest of the championship team included Nora Blodgett,
ninth; Alana Minkler, 17th; Megan Bounds, 26th; Kate Bailey, 34th;
Andrea Lopez, 46th; and Hannah Reidman, 138th in the 169 runner
Pinon finished second despite having the top three runners cross
the finish line. Wesley Cook was the individual state champ with
a time of 16:16. Teammates Tyrin Begay and Adriano Joe finished
second and third.
Other female runners finishing in the top 10 were Precious Robinson,
Pinon, fifth; Olivia Pitci, sixth, Veritas Prep; Liyah Begay, seventh,
Many Farms; Elizabeth Washburn, eighth, Veritas; Alysa Aurigemma,
tenth, Scottsdale Prep.
Baker said the Lady Bruins ran an impressive race.
The girls ran the way they are capable of running,
he said. We were knocking at the door. Next year well
knock the door down.
Baker said the top three runners ran tough, but the fourth and
fifth runners need to improve for next year.
All the teams runners were so spread out. Our fourth
and fifth runners need to finish in the top 30, he said.
Baker said all of the Hopi High runners were academically eligible
and healthy except for Jaeda Honani battling a knee injury.
She was at 80 percent, he said.
Baker said the runners were academically eligible throughout
This is a smart group, he said.
Lauryn Honwynewa, a sophomore, said she was surprised that the
girls took second because they had to pull up all those runners
from the junior varsity team. She felt she ran to her potential
because she trained hard.
Even our junior varsity runners were ready to go,
Honwynewa said the best part of the race was getting the trophy.
She said the team could have done better if they ran in a pack.
She said the fan support was great.
It was excellent because they encouraged us to keep running
and push our hardest, he said.
Honwynewa said she stayed academically eligible by turning in
her work on time and listening to her teachers.
Honwynewa said it was fun running for Coach Baker.
He has new expectations and he expected a lot, she
Honwynewa said the Lady Bruins will be shooting for the state
championship next year.