Times' All-Stars, athletes and coaches of the year selected
By Quentin Jodie
WINDOW ROCK, Nov. 27, 2013
(Times photos - Donovan Quintero)
But with the help from of area coaches, the Times' sports department was able to put together a list of All-Stars, which includes a breakdown in each sport with the exception of soccer.
This year we highlighted more than 45 athletes in each of the fall sports categories -- cross-country, football and volleyball -- with each broken down into a first team, followed by a second team and an honorable mention list.
Soccer, meanwhile, was composed of one list of all-stars.
In addition, we have included our athletes and coaches of the year starting with Ganado's Daangoiina Haven and Navajo Pine's Annoesika Laughlin.
Both girls were selected as runners of the year in girls cross-country.
Entering the Arizona state cross-country meet, Haven was rated the 10th best runner in Division III. But in her final race of the year, the Ganado sophomore was resilient and finished second overall with a time of 18:58.
"I really surprised myself," Haven said afterward.
Laughlin placed fourth overall during the New Mexico Class 2A state meet despite being sidelined with a knee injury for nearly four weeks. For the year, the Navajo Pine freshman won six of the eight races she entered including the Gallup Invitational.
In boys cross-country, Jeffrey Miller of Page and Niles Thomas of Miyamura were chosen the runners of the year in the boys' category. Both runners posted the fastest times during the state championships in Arizona and New Mexico. Miller placed third overall in the Arizona Division III race with a time of 15:59 while Thomas crossed the finish line in 16:00 during the New Mexico Class 4A meet.
Hopi coach Rick Baker and Zuni coach Chris Carroll were selected as coaches of the year. At the Arizona Division IV state championships, Baker led his boys team to its 24th state title, which set a national record.
"This is what we train for all year," Baker said of the state title. "It's good to end the season on a positive note."
After winning the District 5-2A title with a perfect score, the Zuni Thunderbirds maintained their dominance as they topped the New Mexico Class 2A field with 39 points and won its 15th state title under the guidance of Carroll.
"We've been doing very well this year and a lot of it is because we have a team concept going," Carroll said earlier this year. "There is no selfishness going on and they are there supporting each other."
In a record setting year, Monument Valley senior quarterback Redmond Delmar and Navajo Prep junior signal caller Tyler Sorenson earned the Times' player of the year awards in football.
Delmar threw for 2,662 yards and 26 touchdowns, which set a single season school record in both categories. In addition, the MV quarterback has set the all-time career record at the school with 6,651 yards and 73 touchdowns. Earlier this season, Sorenson set a new record for passing yards in a game when he threw for 630 yards on 38-of-63 passing with five touchdowns against 2012 Class 1A state champ Escalante.
In volleyball, Kamia Yazzie of Tuba City and Autumn Begay of Piedra Vista were selected as our players of the year. As a four-year starter, Yazzie was instrumental in leading the Lady Warriors into the Final Four round of the Arizona Division III state volleyball championships.
As a sophomore, Begay stepped up as the No. 1 middle hitter for the Panthers as they made the championship game in Class 4A for the second consecutive year.
Coach of the year honors in volleyball goes to Shonto Prep coach Merle Beard and Newcomb coach Ramona Shepherd. Under the direction of Beard, the Lady Grizzles made history by playing in its first postseason game during the Arizona Division V state volleyball tournament.
"We had a couple of challenges in our division and it was our goal to attend our first state tournament for our school," Beard said in an early interview with the Navajo Times. "We were successful with that."
As a first-year coach, Shepherd also changed some history in regards to the pecking order of the District 1-2A race. With a senior-dominated team, the Sky Hawks finished atop the league race with a 13-1 record, which includes a win over 2A powerhouse Navajo Prep.
"The girls are naturally talented -- so after the first practice I knew I hit the jackpot," Shepherd said.
In soccer, Hailey Morris of Aztec and Nathaniel Pavlick of Farmington led their respective schools to the state title game in Class 4A. Farmington's Bryron Farnsworth was selected as our coach of the year.