Twins lead Tuba boys to state win over defending champs
By Quentin Jodie
PHOENIX, Nov. 14, 2013
(Times photo - Donovan Quintero)
Last year the Warriors were one of the heavy favorites to win the state title but in convincing fashion the Rio Rico Hawks placed five runners in the top 10 and won the meet over Tuba City by a 29 to 73 margin.
On Saturday, the Warriors returned the favor as the first five finished in the top 18 and won the Arizona Division III title with 48 points. Rio Rico finished a distant second with 71 points while Page finished third with 118.
"This is the epitome of teamwork," Tuba City coach Arvis Myron said afterward. "I told the boys that it was going to take all seven runners to win this race."
Myron said they used last year's finish as a motivation tool as well as a learning lesson to win this year's meet.
"I know they were disappointed about last year because we didn't run a very good race," he said. "The boys ran a real good race and they deserved it. They worked as a team and that's what counts."
The Warriors made this one memorable as their final push offset the 1-2 finish from Rio Rico's Oscar Amaya and Carlos Villarreal. Amaya was the overall winner as he crossed the finish line 15:47. Villarreal came in next at 15:55, four seconds ahead of Page's Jeffrey Miller.
But after those three runners, Tuba City showed how much depth they have with Brian Masayesva (16:02) placing fourth while twin brother Anthony Masayesva (16:20.2) took sixth and Albert Fuller (16:20.4) finishing seventh.
With a time of 16:36, senior Eddie Loughran took up 13th-place honors while freshman Jaiden Melendrez (16:47) completed the team score with an 18th-place effort.
"We worked hard all season and we didn't really care about the other races we ran," Fuller said. "The main point was to win state and we stuck together to beat Rio Rico and Page."
Fuller said the plan was to stay together until the two-mile mark and what helped him finish near the top was the support he received from the Masayesva twins.
"They help me stay up there," he said. "That was how we won the meet."
After leaving Tuba City for three-plus years, the Masayesva twins moved back to the area from San Diego, Calif. And as the team's top two runners, Myron said the other boys feed off of them.
"We are delightful they came back home," the Tuba City coach said. "They helped bring the program back up because they made the other boys work hard."
Entering the race, Brian admitted that he was not too familiar with Rio Rico but based on last year's performance he said they were a team to look out for.
"I really didn't know where we were going to finish when I got done with my race because they had two runners in front," the older twin said. "But when I saw my teammates coming in I knew we had won."
Brian said winning Saturday's race was more meaningful than the other races because this was the first time he's run at a state meet. While living in San Diego, he said it was difficult to qualify for state.
"It was more competitive," he said. "You had to qualify for the league and then state. I've always made the finals for the league but I always missed qualifying for state by one place."
Anthony, on the other hand, ran at state in Fresno, Calif. and placed 21st overall as a first-time qualifier last season.
"It's nice to know that I ran with him today because last year it felt weird not running with him," said Anthony, who is usually the faster of the two. "It was nice that I had someone with long hair to catch up to."