Tonto Apache Goal Is Indianapolis Finals

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The focus of Tonto Apache Track and Field team members has long been to earn berths in the USA Junior Olympic National Championships.

Team founder and coach Billy Joe Winchester uses the qualifying meets leading up to the finals as tune-ups and to set the stage for the big show.

This season, the national meet will be July 26 to 31 in Indianapolis, Ind. To earn berths to the championships, athletes must finish among the top three in their age division event classes at the state meet June 4-5 at Mesa Community College and at the Region X meet, July 14 to 17 in Denver, Colo.

"The kids have been working hard this season and I am hoping they all make it," Winchester said. "But, we'll just have to wait and see."

The strength of the Tonto Apache team has long been the throws events, which Winchester excelled in collegiately at Arizona State University.

The teams focus on the throws turned evident at a USA Track and Field meet May 21 and 22 at Tempe High School.

In the youth boys division, three Tonto Apache team members, Jarred Begay, Shane Levine and Val Doka, set personal records in the discus events. Began was first, Levin second and Doka fifth, Winchester said.

In the youth boys shot-put, Levine was third and Begay fourth.

In the young women's division, Kindall Begay won both the discus and shot-put.

Cassie Johnson was second in the bantam girls shot-put and Hanna Quade third in the youth girls discus.

Heath Quade was fourth in the midget girls shot-put and sixth in the mini-javelin.

In the intermediate boys shot-put, Miguel Lopez was second and Justin Johnson third.

Some members passed up the meet because the spring rodeo was the same weekend, the coach said.

"The kids that did go went right after it and did a very good job in unbelievable heat," Winchester said.

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