The Ottumwa Courier

AP Sports

November 1, 2013

Hopi High in Ariz. becomes cross-country standout

POLACCA, Ariz. (AP) — The group of boys head out toward the mesa, setting their feet upon dirt trails lined with scrub brush and corn fields. It's the same earth that their Hopi ancestors would tread as they ran in prayer for rain, prosperity and all of mankind.

For these boys, the drive is as much about the competitive spirit as the enduring spirit of their culture.

Hopi High School, where they are students, has earned 23 state cross-country titles in a row, and according to its coach, is one of three schools in the country to earn a perfect score at a state meet.

No high school in the nation is as dominant when it comes to winning consecutive championships, and the team wants to make sure the streak continues.

"We have a lot of pressure at every race," said junior Kelan Poleahla. "Everyone wants to beat us. Our job is to not let that happen."

Running is deeply rooted in the northern Arizona tribe's tradition as a way to carry messages from village to village and bless the reservation that gets little moisture with rain. Tribal members regularly challenge each other to footraces on the trails considered the veins of the villages, and running is prominent in ceremonies.

The boys on the team draw from that tradition and a desire to remain champions, as the school has done since shortly after it opened in 1987 to keep Hopis rooted in their culture and attending classes on their own land.

The team is led by coach Rick Baker, a high school and college runner known as "The Legend." His program encourages students to rack up 500 to 1,000 miles in the summer. During the cross-country season, the team meets for at least one early morning practice and daily afternoon practices during the school week, with a long run on Sundays.

Text Only
AP Sports
  • Rockies Cubs Baseball [Duplicate] Wada earns first MLB win as Cubs beat Rockies CHICAGO (AP) — After nine seasons in Japan and three years in the minor leagues, Cubs starter Tsuyoshi Wada finally picked up that elusive first major league victory. Wada (1-1) left little doubt to Monday night's outcome, pitching seven strong innin

    July 29, 2014 7 Photos

  • Baseball Capsules ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Yu Darvish struck out eight in seven innings for his 10th victory and J.P. Arencibia had a tiebreaking two-run single for the Texas Rangers in a 4-2 victory over the New York Yankees on Monday night. Darvish (10-6) shouted out

    July 29, 2014

  • NCAA Concussion Lawsuit-9 [Duplicate] APNewsBreak: NCAA settles head injury lawsuit CHICAGO (AP) — The NCAA has agreed to settle a class-action head injury lawsuit by creating a $70 million fund to diagnose thousands of current and former college athletes to determine if they suffered brain trauma playing football, hockey, soccer an

    July 29, 2014 4 Photos

  • Golf rounds donated for Linn County veterans CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Corporate sponsors and the city of Cedar Rapids have donated 675 rounds of golf for active duty and honorably discharged veterans in Linn County. Patriot Golf Week begins on Aug. 25 and ends on Labor Day. The week is set up

    July 29, 2014

  • Hall of Fame Strahan Football-6 [Duplicate] The Big Hurt and Joe Torre headline HOF class COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — Frank Thomas choked back tears, Joe Torre apologized for leaving people out of his speech and Tony La Russa said he felt uneasy. Being enshrined in the Hall of Fame can have those effects, even on the greats. Thomas, pitchers

    July 28, 2014 24 Photos

  • Clippers Sterling Basketball [Duplicate] It's all over but the arguing in Sterling trial LOS ANGELES (AP) — Only final arguments and a ruling remain in the trial to determine whether Donald Sterling's estranged wife can sell the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion. Lawyers for Sterling plan to argue

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • NL Capsules SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Carl Crawford hit an RBI triple to back Hyun-Jin Ryu's third straight victory, and the division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers completed a sweep of the San Francisco Giants with a 4-3 victory Sunday night. Ryu (12-5) moved within tw

    July 28, 2014

  • Baseball Capsules OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Brandon Moss hit a grand slam and the Oakland Athletics gave Jeff Samardzija more run support Thursday than he has had all season in a 13-1 victory over the Houston Astros. Jed Lowrie had three hits and drove in a run for the A

    July 25, 2014

  • Padres Cubs Baseball-6 [Duplicate] Padres rout Cubs 11-3 CHICAGO (AP) — You would never know the San Diego Padres have the lowest team batting average in the major leagues by the way they hit against the Chicago Cubs and starter Edwin Jackson. The light-hitting Padres broke out for a season-best nine runs

    July 25, 2014 4 Photos

  • Bears Emery Football [Duplicate] Bears aiming high in Year 2 under Trestman BOURBONNAIS, Ill. (AP) — This time last year, Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman was still something of a curiosity. He was a guy leading an NFL team for the first time as training camp started, plucked from Canada after spending several years out of

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National