Tonto Track Team Growing

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A strong performance at the USA Track and Field Arizona State championships and the Arizona Junior Olympics is the goal of the Tonto Apache Track and Field team.

"They are the big ones, then it's off (for qualifiers) to New Mexico for the (USATF) Region 10 finals in July," Tonto coach Billy Joe Winchester said.

The Arizona championships will be held June 2 and 3 at Mesa Community College and the J.O. games June 16 and 17 at Glendale Community College.

The team tuned up for the upcoming showdowns May 19 at a USATF track and field meet held at Mesa College.

After seeing only a handful of team members turn out for early season meets, Winchester was encouraged by the contingent of 12 athletes who turned out for the competition.

"We had a better turnout and did very well," he said.

Among those the coach cited for exceptional performances were Hunter Doka, Jarred Begay and Kindall Begay.

Doka, competing in the bantam boys shot put, took first in the event.

"Hunter is improving each week and is very confident in his throws," Winchester said. "Like I said at the beginning of the season, he is going to be our sleeper at the nationals."

In the discus, Jarred Begay was tops among the intermediate boys and Kindall Begay claimed the gold in the youth women's division.

Val Doka, Hunter's younger brother, took runner-up honors in the intermediate boys shot put, but did not compete in the discus, due to a finger injury.

Bronze medal winners include Cassie Johnson, midget girls, shot put; Jordan Hinton, intermediate boys, shot put; and Shawtee Hinton, youth girls, discus.

Shawtee Hinton was also fourth in the youth girls shot put and Jordan Hinton fourth in the intermediate boys discus.

In the 100 meters, in which the tribe traditionally has few entries, sisters, Carolina Guerra and Davda Guerra, represented the tribe well.

Carolina was timed in 22.43 among the sub-bantam girls and Davda in 19:44 in the bantam girls division.

"Our sister runners are doing well," Winchester said.

The two sprinters joined the team in April, giving the Tonto Apaches a third family combination.

Also on the team is Ressa Johnson.

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