Aug 22, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorThe state-champion target is becoming bigger and bigger each year for the Wyoming Indian High School boys cross country program.
The Chiefs will be going for their sixth consecutive Class 2-A title this year under the direction of coach Chico Her Many Horses.
"I don't like the target on our back, but we have gotten used to it," said Her Many Horses.
In the 2011 state race in Douglas, Wyoming Indian's Alvin Spoonhunter finished second. Wilson Clifford was fourth, and Tyler Penatac placed fifth.
Spoonhunter is a senior, Clifford a junior, and Penatac a sophomore.
"Those guys are our three leaders," Her Many Horses said.
In the 2011 team race, the Chiefs won the title with 17 points. Pine Bluffs was a distant second at 44 points, and Sarataga placed third (65 points).
Getting in shape
"Right now, we are still trying to get into shape," Her Many Horses said. "We had some guys that were working jobs. When it's summer, I want them to be kids. That way they won't come in hurt. I think that we are sitting really good."
Seniors Donald Clifford and Joey Aragon decided to go out for the WIHS football team this fall. Clifford was sixth in the state race last year. Aragon crossed the finish line eighth.
Coach Her Many Horses expects Joseph Howell, Keegan Her Many Horses and Tristan Gardner to make up for Clifford's and Aragon's departure.
"Those guys can fill right in," Her Many Horses said.
Jocelyn Underwood and Chardale Brown are the two seniors for the WIHS girls. Underwood crossed the finished line 19th and Brown was 38th last year as juniors in the Class 2-A state race.
Her Many Horses said he will need the underclassmen to pick up the pace.
"Our girls team is young, but we have some outstanding freshman that are coming up," Her Many Horses said. "We have some good leadership with our senior."
The WIHS girls have never won the team title in school history.
"They are trying to make a run for the state title," Her Many Horses said.
Pine Bluffs is the defending Class 2-A team champion. Pine Bluffs scored 28 points on its way to a title last year. Saratoga was second (33), and the Lady Chiefs were third (54).
"Pine Bluffs can handle some of the 3-A teams," Her Many Horses said. "Lovell will be tough, This year, I think that we can shake things up."
The Chiefs start the season Friday at the Green River Invitational.
"The Green River meet is on a new course," Her Many Horses said. "We want to check that course out."
Her Many Horses doesn't know who will be in Friday's field. Riverton and Lander Valley High School will be at the Douglas Invitational.
"It's a sticker meet," Her Many Horses said. "That means anybody that shows up can run. I know that in the past Rock Springs was at the meet. We haven't been in there in some time."
WIHS competes in the Rawlins Invitational on Aug.31.
The Chiefs always look forward to the Lakota Invitational on Sept. 29 in Rapid City, S.D.
"That is some awesome competition in South Dakota," Her Many Horses said.
The Wyoming Indian Invitational is Oct. 2 in Ethete.
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