AllAcademic.jpg: NTU cross country runners Danelle Benally (left) and Wilsonya Clay (right) pose for a photo after receiving All-Academic award honors from the USCAA. Also receiving the award was runner Loren Tsosie, who did not attend Nationals.
Published November 19, 2015
CROWNPOINT, NEW MEXICO – The Navajo Technical University men’s and women’s cross country teams felt the heat while competed at the 2015 USCAA Cross Country Championship in Lakeland, FL, on November 6th at Holloway Park and Nature Reserve.
According to NTU athletic director George LaFrance, temperatures reached as high as 92 degrees on top of humidity during the race. “The heat was nothing to play with,” explained LaFrance, who helped chaperone the team to Florida. “But the men and women’s team performed to the best of their ability and we’re really proud of them.”
Competing at Nationals for the women’s team included runners: Felecia Chischilly, Danelle Benally, Anastasia Yazzie, Tashina Nitra-Redhouse, Chelsey Largo, Wilsonya Clay, and Wynona Wilson. For the men’s team, Darren Joey, Chadwin Sells, Jermiah Curley, Cordale Begay, Tyson Ramone, Eric Bailey, and Laurence Draper represented NTU.
The highest finisher for the men’s team was culinary arts major Darren Joey, who placed 49th overall with a time of 31:39 – five minutes off the lead. Also placing in the top 100 included veteran runners Tyson Ramone (67th) and Eric Bailey (96th), as well as newcomer Laurence Draper (68th).
The women’s team also faired well, placing five runners in the top 100 leading to a 12th place team finish. Placing in the top 100 for NTU included: Felicia Chischilly (58th), Wynona Wilson (76th), Chelsey Largo (84th), Danelle Benally (97th) and Wilsonya Clay (98th).
While none of NTU’s runners were able to achieve All-American status during the race, both the men and women’s team received All-Academic award honors during the closing ceremony. Sophomores Wilsonya Clay and Danelle Benally received the distinction for the women’s team, while sophomore Loren Tsosie was recognized on the men’s team – although he was unable to attend the race. To achieve All-Academic award honors, students had to have a grade point average of 3.5 or higher.
“We, at Navajo Tech, emphasize academics and we are very proud of our student athletes that got the award,” explained LaFrance. “Education is something they’re going to have to fall back on after sports.”
With the season over, LaFrance is excited for next year’s team, who is expected to return a large majority of its runners. “We’re a young team,” stated LaFrance. “We’re only losing two seniors (Chischilly and Ramone) so everyone else should be coming back.”
Berea College out of Berea, KY won both the men and women’s team titles. NTU’s men’s team placed 14th overall. For more information about NTU’s cross-country teams, please contact George LaFrance at firstname.lastname@example.org.