2016 Wings Team

Training for “out-of-season” competition demands a special type of focus that not all student-athletes possess. This is part of the reason Wings requires prospective National Team members to post a qualifying mark at a Footlocker or Nike Cross Regional meet. Typically held a few weeks after regular-season championship meets, these races test the commitment of each runner. Wings would like to congratulate each and every competitor that chose to extend their season a few extra weeks to take advantage of another opportunity to race. We would like to extend a special thanks to those Native runners that chose to enter the race with hopes of making The Wings National Team.

For a list of the runners that officially “tried out” for the 2016 Wings Team, along with their qualifying mark, please CLICK HERE: 2016 Team Selection Sheet (Public)

We are very proud to report that 14 runners hit new 5K cross country “PR’s” in the process of trying out for the Wings Team! Congratulations to all those who improved.

Ultimately, Wings can only sponsor 16 athletes to travel to Bend, OR to race in the “Junior” race at the 2016 USATF Cross Country Championships. 7 men, 7 women, and and alternate for each team. We are proud to announce:

The 2016 Wings National Team (ordered alphabetically)

(Name, High School, Grade, Hometown, Tribal Affiliation(s), Qualifying Mark(s), Qualifying Race(s))

Men Women
Jalen Chase, New Town HS, 10th, New Town, ND, Fort Peck Sioux, 15:54, NXR Heartland Chamique DuBoise, Window Rock HS, 11th, Oak Canyon, NM, Diné, 18:31/19:24, NXR Southwest/Footlocker West Regional
Albert Fuller (alternate), Tuba City HS, 12th, Tuba City, AZ, Paiute, 16:13/17:01, NXR Southwest/Footlocker West Regional Nikesha Eagleman, Chinle HS, 12th, Chinle, AZ, Rosebud Sioux/Diné, 18:50, NXR Southwest
Santiago Hardy, Chinle HS, 11th, Many Farms, AZ, Diné, 15:59, NXR Southwest Daangoiina Haven, Ganadao HS, 12th, Ganado, AZ, Diné/Hopi, 20:05, Footlocker West Regional
Kashon Harrison, Kirtland Central HS, 9th, Kirtland, NM, Diné, 15:50, NXR Southwest Courtney Lewis, Flagstaff HS, 12th, Flagstaff, AZ, Fort Mojave Indian Tribe/Hopi, 18:23, NXR Southwest
Jordan Lesansee, Albuquerque Academy, 11th, Jemez Pueblo, NM, Jemez/Zuni, 15:37, NXR Southwest Kloé Littleman (alternate), Page HS, 9th, Page, AZ, Diné, 19:21/20:47, NXR Southwest/Footlocker West Regional
Gabe Prettypaint-Fechter, Timpanogos HS, Orem, UT, Crow, 15:36, NXR Southwest LaKyla Yazzie, Kirtland Central HS, 9th, Kirtland, NM, Diné, 19:15, NXR Southwest
Michael Tenorio, Santa Fe Indian School, Laguna Pueblo, NM, Laguna, 15:52, NXR Southwest Lara Yazzie, Page HS, 12th, Coppermine, AZ, Diné, 18:52/20:25, NXR Southwest/Footlocker West Regional
Niles Thomas, Miyamura HS, Gallup, NM, Diné, 16:02, NXR Southwest Mariah Yazzie, Page HS, 11th, Coppermine AZ, Diné, 19:17/20:34, NXR Southwest/Footlocker West Regional

We commend these young men and women for their outstanding athletic and academic achievements thus far. We are thrilled that each has agreed to commit to an additional 8-week training cycle leading up to the race in Bend (February 6th). During this time, National Team Members will receive detailed weekly training plans from Wings with the aim of preparing them for a slightly longer race (Men 8km, Women 6km).

Honorary Coaches:

Wings has selected two honorary coaches to help the Program Director check-in with and advise National Team Members as they train through the winter:

Coach Lynette Lookingback, Ganado High School, Ganado, AZ

Coach Clay Mayes, Bacone College, Muskogee, OK

Chosen for their continued commitment to Native runners and consistent willingness to go above and beyond for their athletes, these honorary coaches will communicate with Team Members on a regular basis to make sure they are getting sufficient rest, receiving the proper nutrition, warding off injury and properly challenging their fitness level. These honorary coaches will also travel with the team in February. We are especially proud to report that Coach Clay Mayes is also a former Wings National Team Member (’06) himself.

Qualifying Notes:

The qualifying process and criteria for the 2016 Wings National Team can be found, in full, here. In order to test their composure and commitment, Wings requires runners looking to capture a spot on our “elite” squad to race in a large field. Wings adopted this post-season regional qualifying standard after many years of selecting team members based on their regular-season times. This process, however, did not always favor those runners who ran well late in the season (closest to USA Cross Country Championships). Also, it did not account for the fact that many regular-season cross country races are run on courses of questionable lengths.

By only using qualifying times posted at large regional-level meets, Wings feels that our selection process has become as fair as possible. Additionally, we view the experience as beneficial to the development of young student-athletes across Indian Country.  Native runners must regularly test themselves on the regional and national stage if they aim to compete with the best.

Regional Race Assistance & Thank-yous

The recruitment and selection of the Wings National Team is an involved process that takes months of planning each year. However, this process would be for naught without the dedication of thousands of student-athletes and coaches across the United States. Without the determination of individuals and teams to get faster, there would be no Wings National Team. The pride and history of Native runners might go unnoticed. Thanks to ALL runners and coaches across Indian Country that work to keep the tradition alive!

Finally, Wings would like to extend a sincere thanks to the parents, aunties, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters and chaperones that helped runners hoping to make the Wings Team get to their qualifying race. Without their help, the pool of talent to select our National Team from would be VERY small.

We would especially like to thank Alicia Littlebear, Andy Yazzie and Cheyenne Lewis for volunteering to serve as chaperones for a group of 13 runners from New Mexico and Arizona who chose to take advantage of Wings’ regional race assistance program. Along with the Program Director, this group travelled to Casa Grande, AZ to compete at the NXR Southwest Regional qualifier the weekend of November 21st. Thanks for returning to the Wings family to pass your passion on to the next generation.

National Team hopefuls pose at Buffalo Park in Flagstaff, AZ after their "shakeout run" on the way to Casa Grande to compete in the NXR Southwest Regional Meet.

National Team hopefuls pose at Buffalo Park in Flagstaff, AZ after their “shakeout run” on the way to Casa Grande to compete in the NXR Southwest Regional Meet.