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Oree Foster
Staff Writer, AZPreps365.com

Wings of America inspires Native American youth to become mentors for next generation

December 27, 2019 by Oree Foster, AZPreps365


Sixteen of Native America's fastest youth cross country runners, representing Wings of America, began its five-day training camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Thursday.

Eight young men and eight young women, ages 14-19, will don Wings of America's uniform to compete in the USA Cross Country Championships in the female and male junior age division race at Mission Bay Park in San Diego, California on January 18, 2020.

Wings of America's vision is to build healthy Native communities, using running initiatives.

The organization's mission statement is inspired by the cultural, spiritual and competitive legacy of Native runners. Wings of America empowers Native youth and their families.

Wings of America Executive Director Dustin Martin said for the 32nd consecutive year, the organization will sponsor a team.

"With the help of Wings of America and their high school coaches, the student-athletes will train through the holidays to stay in shape for running competion," Martin said.

Martin said team members will also attend a multi-day training camp in Albuquerque between Christmas and New Year's to supplement their knowledge of elite conditioning techniques and foster unity befor traveling for competion.

Martin said runners were selected for the team, based on their performance at post-season championship races, including Nike Cross Regionals in Casa Grande, Arizona and Footlocker Regionals in Fresno, California.

Martin said after an open registration period, which runners identified themselves as eligible for selection, those with the seven fastest times, plus one alternate were invited to be a part of the team.

Martin added that a total of 62 student-athletes, representing 19 Native American tribes, registered to be considered for selection.

Martin noted that many other Native American athletes competed at these selection races without registering to be considered for the national team.

JUNIOR WOMEN'S TEAM MEMBERS CONSISTS OF THE FOLLOWING

Aliandrea Upshaw, St. Michael Indian School, St. Michaels, Arizona, senior, Navajo, 17:30.90, 5K Footlocker West.

Tiajhae Nez, University of Antelope Valley, Lancaster, California, college freshman, Navajo, 17:35.50, 5K, Footlocker West.

Whitney James, Ganado High School, Ganado, Arizona, sophomore, Navajo, 19:48.70, 5K NXR Southwest.

Shaelyn Honahni, Tuba City High School, Tuba City, Arizona, junior, Navajo-Hopi, 20:18.24, 5K NXR Southwest.

Jasmine Turtle-Morales, Eldorado High School, Albuquerque, New Mexico, senior, Mescalero-Apache-Cochiti-Hopi, 17:53.76, 5K NXR Southwest.

Alexandria Bewanika, Zuni High School, Zuni, New Mexico, sophomore, Zuni Pueblo, 20.00.36, 5K NXR Southwest.

Kendra Emery, Santa Fe Indian School, Santa Fe, New Mexico, freshman, Santo Domingo Pueblo, 20:20.15 5K NXR Southwest.NXR.

Larissa McElroy (Alternate), Wyoming Indian High School, Ethete, Wyoming, sophomore, Northern Arapaho, 20:21.50 5K NXR Northwest.

JUNIOR MEN'S TEAM MEMBERS CONSISTS OF THE FOLLOWING

Galvin Curley, Navajo Pine High School, Navajo, New Mexico, senior, Navajo, 15:37.43, 5K NXR Southwest.

Michael Marshall, Navajo Pine High School, Navajo, New Mexico, senior, Navajo, 15:55.13, 5K NXR Southwest.

Triston Charles, Piedra Vista High School, Farmington, New Mexico, senior, Navajo, 15:50.75, 5K NXR Southwest.

DeShawn Goodwin, Zuni High School, Zuni, New Mexico, senior, Zuni Pueblo, 15:55.60, 5K NXR Southwest.

Javien Hale, University of Antelope Valley, Lancaster, California, college freshman, Mandan-Hidatsa-Arikara Nation, 13:46.20 4.5K, Footlocker West.

Gabe Simonson, Mustang High School, Mustang, Oklahoma, junior, Muskogee Nation, 15:43.00 5K Footlocker South.

Robert White Jr., New Town High School, New Town, North Dakota, senior Mandan-Hidatsa-Arikara Nation, 15:50.40, 5K NXR Heartland.

Jonathan Fragua (Alternate), V. Sue Cleveland High School, Rio Rancho, NewMexico, junior, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs/Jemez, 16:00.20, 5K Footlocker West.