Tight-knit Chief athletes form core of strong distance teamApr 8, 2012 By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor
PAVILLION -- Alvin Spoonhunter and Joey Aragon feed off each other while playing sports at Wyoming Indian High School.
The WIHS juniors opened the year by winning a Class 2-A cross country team title in the fall.
The pair followed up the performance helping the Chiefs celebrate a Class 2-A state title a month and a half ago at the Casper Evens Center.
"We are pretty close friends," said Spoonhunter about his relationship with Aragon. "We became friends in elementary school."
The tandem took part Thursday afternoon at the Wind River Invitational in Pavillion.
"Joey is one of the athletes that you want on your team," Spoonhunter said. "He works hard at everything."
Clifford in mix
WIHS junior Donald Clifford also is a member of the track, basketball and cross country team. Clifford was out of town on Thursday with his family on vacation.
"Donald and Alvin are like my brothers," Aragon said.
WIHS cross country and distance track and field coach Chico Her Many Horses said he is lucky to have the talented juniors in his programs.
"They all seem like they all want to run distance races," Her Many Horses said. "Donald and Joey are both sprinters. Alvin is a just a total cross country guy."
Her Many Horses said the three are excellent role models for the younger students at WIHS.
"They are real special guys," Her Many Horses said. "Everybody has a core. They were the core for cross country. They were the core on the basketball team, and they are a core on the track team."
Aragon, Clifford and Spoonhunter are focusing on repeating in the Class 2-A 4x800-meter relay title they won a year ago in Casper.
"Our first meet we ran the same time we did at state last year," Aragon said. "I think that we can get it down this year."
The big question mark for the three is who is going to be in the final spot on the 4x800-meter relay.
Freshman Keegan Her Many Horses ran on the relay squad Thursday in Pavillion. WIHS won the 4x800-meter relay race. Aragon anchors the relay team.
"I like being last," Aragon said. "It puts a little bit more pressure on me, but I like it."
Aragon has a goal set of breaking the WIHS school record of 8:15 in the 4x800-meter relay.
"I think that it will be down to the wire," Aragon said. "We are going to try are hardest to break it.
Spoonhunter captured the 1,600 meters (4:52.02) and the 3,200 meters (10:34.78) in his individual races on Thursday.
"You can expect all kinds of good things from them at the state meet," Her Many Horses said. "They are going to pull the young guys along. We have one of the fastest 4x800-meter relay teams in the state."
WIHS won is third title in four years recently at the Class 2-A state basketball title after the Chiefs knocked off Lovell in the championship game.
"It was the best feeling because we pushed each other in practice," Spoonhunter said.
Aragon said winning the basketball title was the highlight of his young career.
"It was the greatest feeling in the world," Aragon said.
Spoonhunter is already thinking about the 2013 state tournament.
"We are hoping to get it back-to-back because we are seniors next year," Spoonhunter said.
In the fall, Spoonhunter and Aragon pushed Wyoming Indian's team cross country title streak to five in a row at the Class 2-A level.
Spoonhunter finished the race in second with a time of 17:52.69. Alejandro Garcia from Pine Bluffs finished first in 17:45.07.
"I felt like I could have gone harder," Spoonhunter said. "I will train all summer for cross country."
Donald Clifford placed sixth (18:36) and Aragon was eighth (18;45.9).
"I don't have to worry about their grades because when it comes down to being a state champion they known they have to out work the other team," Her Many Horses said."
The Chiefs scored 17 points in the team standings, and Pine Bluffs was a distant second (44 points).
"We don't even talk about the streak," Aragon said.
Spoonhunter thinks he isn't finished winning state titles.
"I hope to win a couple of more," Spoonhunter said.
"It feels good to win those titles. It's a different feeling every time."