The Page High School boys' cross country team has established a new dynasty for Sand Devil sports. Securing a first place team win at the 2017 Arizona Division 3 Cross Country Championships on Saturday at the Cave Creek Golf Course in Phoenix, the boys locked in Page's fourth title in a row – tying a record set by another Sand Devil squad between 1989 and 1992.
Junior Bowen Martin and senior Dorian Daw led Page to an easy win, taking third and fourth place on times of 16:14 and 16:17, respectively. Martin trailed Matthew Bradley of Prescott, who won the meet with an individual time of 16:04, and Chinle's Josiah Tsosie who took second at 16:07. Bowen is the son of Theo Martin and nephew of Tim Martin – two of the runners who also helped lead Page to its four titles between '89 and '92.
With one more year of cross country running ahead of him, head coach MacArthur Lane, who also ran during the first two years of '89 - '92 championship team, said he could see Martin winning an individual title next year.
"He really went for it, but sometimes that's just how racing goes -- everything has to line up just perfectly. I have no doubt it has made him hungry for next year," Lane said. "I'm really proud of the way he ran regardless."
Runners dealt with 80-degree heat as the race kicked off after what started off as a cool and balmy morning. But the lower elevation and the relatively smooth layout of the Cave Creek course made easy going for Page athletes.
Junior Morgan Fowler rounded out the top three Page runners with a fifth place finish on a time of 16:25. Page's remaining runners finished as follows:
Trent Holiday, Freshman, 11th, 16:52
Cullen Nockideneh, Senior, 22nd, 17:07
Jacob Secody, Senior, 43rd, 17:46
Kaipo Uejo, Junior, 46th, 17:49
Lane said the boys' team this year has been a "pleasure" to coach. He cited their maturity, determination and discipline as factors in their fourth year of dominance. At 45 total team points, the Sand Devils blew out second place Tuba City by a whopping 55 points and third place Chinle by 95 points. Team points in cross country are calculated by combining the placings of a school's top five runners – the lower the score, the better.
"They're already talking about winning again next year and I know they have it in them," Lane added. "They started this year by wanting to be one of the best teams in the state. That was a goal from the get-go. They've been working towards that non-stop."
With Secody, Nockideneh and Daw graduating in 2018, Lane still feels confident the team will continue to make strides next year and potentially setting a fifth win record. He is especially excited for freshman Trent Holiday, who secured an 11th place finish in his first ever state meet.
"Between [Holiday] and some really promising younglings coming up from the middle school next year, the talent pool is still wide. We just need to keep the drive there and keep everyone in shape and training in the off season," said Lane.
Meanwhile, the Lady Sand Devils took eighth place at the state championships, concluding what amounted to a rebuilding phase for the team this year. Their individual scores are as follows:
Victoria Tenpenny, Senior, 13th, 20:32
Sofia Bryan, Junior, 18th, 20:41
Kodi Tate, Junior, 42nd, 21:28
Nahaniya Fowler, Freshman, 54th, 21:48
Mikala Benally, Junior, 66th, 22:09
Nariah Begay, Junior, 82nd, 22:55
Nadya Begay, Freshman, 86th, 23:04