The Tonto Apache Track and Field team the Grand Canyon Games Male and Female Athletes of the Year tuned up for upcoming Junior Olympic competition at the USA Track and Field Arizona state championships May 18 and 19 at Glendale Community College.
The Junior Olympics gold medal games will be June 8 and 9, also at Glendale college.
According to Tonto Apache coach Billy Joe Winchester, the athletes are looking forward to the challenge of the showdown.
"They are working real hard because the kids who finish in the top three in each event will be moving on to the Region 10 meet in New Mexico in July," Winchester said.
Top three finishers there qualify for the national championships later this summer.
Traditionally, the Tonto Apache team believed to be the only Native American Track and Field squad in Arizona qualifies several athletes for nationals.
In the state championships, the Tonto team was missing 10 athletes including standouts Waylon Quotskuyva, Garrett Quotskuyva and Michael Waterman who had other commitments.
Also, Heather Waterman broke her arm this spring and will be out for the season.
Although the team was shorthanded, it did produce several outstanding performances.
Among them were first-place performances by Mirle Weisser in the intermediate boys high jump and Kindell Begay in the young boys discus.
Tonto Apache results
Shot-put: Valentino Doka, 4th; Jarred Begay, 6th
Shot-put: Justin Johnson, 2nd; Miguel Lopez, 4th
Discus: Justin Johnson, 4th; Miguel Lopez, 5th
Shot-put: Alex Winchester, 4th
Discus: Charlie Lopez, 6th
Javelin: Kindell Begay, 3rd; Matt Johnson, 3rd
Shot-put: Kindell Begay, 2nd
Discus: Kindell Begay, 1st; Matt Johnson, 4th; Charlie Lopez, 6th
100: Matt Johnson, 11th
Long Jump: Matt Johnson, 13th
Shot-put: Josh Qoutskuyua, 2nd; Paul Burdette, 3rd
Discus: Josh Qoutskuyua, 2nd, Paul Burdette, 4th
Javelin: Josh Qoutskuyua, 4th
Discus: Shauntel Begay, 4th
Long Jump: Mirle Weisser, 2nd
Shot-put: Junior Burdette, 3rd
Discus: Junior Burdette, 2nd