Prep has no plans to let up in new classification

File photo
The Navajo Prep boys’ cross-country returns all but two runners from last year’s New Mexico Class 4A state championship team. The Eagles moved down to 3A under the new realignment.


After spending a couple of seasons turning heads in Class 4A, the Navajo Preparatory School cross-country team has no plans to let up.

With the new classification and alignment changes throughout the state, Navajo Prep has moved back down to their original class 3A.

Navajo Prep head coach Stephanie Zahne said after the boy’s team won back-to-back state titles in 4A, the team has no plans to be less competitive.

“I told the athletes at the end of the season, the classification move is just what it is, a move, and we should not let our guard down,” she said.

Navajo Prep boys lost two seniors who were a part of the championship teams, but has returned a good number of runners.

Seniors Tyrease James, Trejan Clichee, Tyrese Begay, and Dante Barton return to the lineup and all finished in the top 21 positions at the state cross-country meet last season.

On the girls’ end, Navajo Prep returns all but one on their roster.

Zahne said the entire team has been putting in the work over the summer, and most of it has been on their own because many of the runners live throughout Navajo country.

She said she made sure to remind the team that hard work will still be required despite the changes in classification and alignment.

“There will be competition in 3A and we can’t let ourselves think that it’s going to be easy,” Zahne said. “That is one of the reasons I kept communicating with athletes all summer.”

Navajo Prep will compete in 3A District 1 with Crownpoint, Thoreau, Tohatchi, Wingate, and Zuni.

Zahne said she expects some time will be needed to make necessary adjustments, but remains at ease with her team and their ability to compete this season.

“Losing two varsity runners will leave a void, but I’m confident someone will step up and fill that role,” she said. “Our team goal every season is taking one race at a time and always remember what our goal is.”

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Categories: Track & Field

About Author

Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi

Sunnie Clahchischiligi has been the sports writer for the Navajo Times since 2008. She has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of New Mexico. Before joining the Times, she worked at the St. Cloud Times (Minn.), the Albuquerque Journal, the Santa Fe New Mexican, Sports Illustrated Magazine in New York City and the Salt Lake Tribune. She can be reached at or via cell at (505) 686-0769.