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A team roping heeler (left) aims for the hind legs of a roped steer during Cowboy Christmas in July at Linden Valley Arena on July 4. Team ropers by the hundreds, from all across the Southwest, are expected at LVA July 31 through Aug. 2 for the Ariat World Series Team Roping Qualifier, featuring 11 team roping events over the three days.

20 years ago
20 years ago: Round Valley runners Parkey, Bosen in national spotlight

In the late 1990s, a pair of Round Valley High School graduates dominated on a national level in collegiate distance running.

After successful careers as Lady Elks, Kimberly Bosen and Sarah Parkey set records and won multiple national championships during Hall of Fame careers at Adams State College in Alamosa, Colo. They went to ASC shortly after it had become a national contender in NCAA Division II athletics and helped it become the second-winningest school, in terms of national titles, in D2 sports history.

The peak of their careers came a little more than 20 years ago after the pair led the Grizzlies to the 1999 national championship in women’s cross country. Parkey tacked on national titles in the year 2000 and both runners claimed multiple Athlete of the Meet and Athlete of the Year honors that year.

The Adams State women’s cross country team set a record for low points in a national meet (23) on Nov. 20, 1999, at the National Championships in Joplin. Mo. Bosen, who was second at the finals, and Parkey, who was fourth, teamed with Melissa Bouren, Cory Chastain, Esther Hartsky, Jinny Mortensen and Ganado freshman Alvina Begay to claim the Grizzlies’ ninth straight national title.

That team was honored at the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Awards Banquet in Denver on Feb. 29, 2000. Parkey received a special citation for her national championship in the outdoor 1,500-meter race in Emporia, Kan. in ’99.

Also in February, 2000, Bosen and Parkey each won two individual events to lead the Adams State women’s indoor track and field team to the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference title at the conference championship meet.

The Grizzlies won every running event en route to a meet record 200 points, easily outdistancing the host team, Nebraska-Kearney, by 89 points, another RMAC record.

Bosen claimed the Women’s Athlete of the Meet award after winning both the 3,000- and 5,000-meter races. Parkey won the 800-meter and mile events, setting NCAA Division II provisional qualifying marks in each. Parkey also anchored the winning 4x400-meter relay team.

Bosen was among 16 Grizzlies to receive the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference/Phillips 66 Academic Award in February of 2000. To be eligible, a student-athlete must maintain at least a 3.2 GPA and be a starter or key reserve for his or her team, as well as be enrolled at the institution for at least two consecutive semesters. Bosen was named ASC’s 1999 Scholar Athlete of the Year.

Parkey claimed the national championship in the women’s mile run at the D2 Indoor Track and Field National Championship at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston, Mass. on March 11, 2000.

Later in the spring of 2000, Parkey was selected as the Track and Field Nominee for the Honda Awards Division II Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year Award for the 1999-2000 academic year nationally.

Parkey was also the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships Female Athlete of the Meet that year.

Parkey, a 1996 Round Valley graduate, went on to win six national championships at ASC. She was named the National Cross Country Athlete of the Year in 2000, and was named Colorado’s NCAA Woman of the Year in 2001. An assistant coach at ASC in 2001 and ’02, she became the first athlete from ASC to be inducted in the NCAA Division II Track and Field Hall of Fame in May of 2006.

Bosen, who competed at ASC from 1997 to 2002, won three individual national titles, all in 1999, and 10 individual RMAC championships. Her outdoor 5K record time of 17:03.9 at the ’99 RMAC Championships still stands.

Parkey was inducted into the Adams State University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006. Bosen was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011.

Kim Bosen and triplet sisters Madlyn and Tonya, graduated from RVHS in 1997. Madlyn and Tonya were also distance runners in college.

About Adams State University cross country, track and field

The Adams State cross country program unseated Cal Poly, which had won a record 10 straight national titles (1982-1991), atop NCAA Division II by winning the national championship in 1992. The Grizzlies also won the next seven (1992-1999) years for eight titles in a row, a feat matched a year later by Abilene Christian (Texas) which won indoor track and field national titles from 1993 to 2000.

Saint Augustine’s (North Carolina) has the most NCAA DII championships amongst active DII programs with 39. The Falcons have done so behind their track and field programs led by George Williams, who has brought all 39 titles to Saint Augustine’s. Sixteen of those titles have come in men’s outdoor track and field, making him tied for the ninth-most by a head coach across all NCAA divisions.

Adams State is right behind, winners of 37 national championships. Twenty-seven of those have come from head coach Damon Martin’s cross country teams. In fact, 29 of their 37 national championships have come on the men’s and women’s cross country courses.

Sarah Meyer (Parkey) career highlights at Adams State:

• 13-time All-American and 6-time National Champion

• Led ASC to three straight NCAA II cross country titles from 1997-99

• Leading member of the 1999 low-point (23) record-setting team

• National Cross Country Athlete of the Year in 2000

• Named State of Colorado’s NCAA Woman of the Year in 2001

• Served as ASC assistant coach from 2001-02

• Became ASC’s first athlete to be inducted into the NCAA II Track and Field Hall of Fame in May 2006

Kim Bosen’s career highlights at

Adams State:

• 12-time All-American during 1997-02 distance running career

• Won 3 national individual titles, all in 1999

• 1999 NCAA Division II indoor 5K and outdoor 5K and 10K champion

• Named as RMAC Honor Student-Athlete in 1999

• Crowned RMAC’s Athlete of the Year for 2000 Indoor Track and Field Season

• Helped ASU win NCAA team titles in 1998 and 1999

• Won 10 total individual RMAC crowns

• Still holds the RMAC Championship record for the outdoor 5K of 17:03.9, set in 1999

Congress passes bill to help manage federal land

Congress last week approved a bill that will provide nearly $1 billion annually to maintain national parks and buy additional land to protect wildlife, scenery and natural resources.

Laura Singleton/The Independent 

A mule deer buck browses in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests. 

Arizona Congressman Tom O’Halleran co-sponsored the Great American Outdoors Act and hailed its passage by a 310 to 107 vote in the House. O’Halleran’s a Democrat whose district includes Flagstaff, the Navajo and Hopi reservations and the White Mountains.

However, Republican Rep. Paul Gosar strongly opposed the legislation. His district includes much of western Arizona, the Verde Valley, Prescott and all of Rim Country.

The Great American Outdoors Act passed the U.S. Senate with an 73-25, bipartisan majority. The measure would automatically set aside as much as $1.9 billion annually from oil and gas leases to protect natural resources and maintain national parks. The bill would require the federal government to spend at least half of the money to work on a $20 billion backlog in deferred maintenance in places like the Grand Canyon. The bill would also allow the federal government to spend a portion of the money for additional land.

President Trump has promised to sign the measure if it makes it to his desk, even though recent budgets have slashed the money earmarked for maintenance of national parks and other federal lands.

Rep. O’Halleran last week said, “there is little more important than the protection of our most precious public lands and parks. Today, I was proud to join my colleages on both sides of the aisle in voting to safeguard our nation’s treasures, wildife habitats, waterways and the rich cultural heritage of many Native American tribes and make critical improvements in BIE schools.”

But Rep. Paul Gosar said the bill would squander money buying additional land to add to millions of acres the U.S. government has already failed to adequately manage or maintain.

The bill would earmark half of the money from oil and gas leases to a Restoration Fund. Of that, 70% would go to the U.S. Park Service, 15% to the U.S. Forest Service, 5% to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 5% to the Bureau of Land Management and 5% to the Bureau of Indian Education. The bill would cap spending at $1.9 billion annually.

The bill would also make the Land and Water Conservation Fund a mandatory spending fund at $900 million annually, with 40% of the money earmarked for state and local governments for parks and other conservation projects.

Among other amendments, Gosar wanted to bar any fresh federal land purchases in counties where the federal government already owns more than 50% of the land – which would include Gila, Apache and Navajo counties. The federal government could only add land to its holdings in such counties if it sells an equal amount of land it already holds in that same county.

The cattle industry, the National Counties Association and other groups have lined up against the expansion of federal lands.

In a release Rep. Gosar said, “I am categorically opposed to permanent funding and reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This would take the program outside of congressional oversight and commit $900 million a year to be used for reckless land buying. The communities I represent in Arizona are tired of Congress giving up its responsibilities, piling up trillions in debt for future generations and allowing the federal government to mismanage their land.”

On the other hand, Rep. O’Halleran said, “These parks, monuments and historic sites bring in billions for our state and local economies each year. Maintenance of public lands plays a critical role in the health of our wildlife, the preservation of Native American cultural sites, the mitigation of deadly wildfires and the strength of our economy. I’m proud to join my colleagues on this bill to permanently fund the LWCF and preserve our public lands for generations to come.”

The Outdoor Industry Association has done an economic analysis suggesting outdoor recreation in Arizona contributes $21 billion to the economy annually and supports 200,000 jobs.

For the past 20 years, Congress has annually earmarked only a fraction of the money originally intended for the fund – spending between $255 million and $450 million in most years. The bill would basically double funding, with no need for an annual vote by Congress.

Polls suggest that perhaps 75% of voters support increased funding for parks and national monuments, which studies show face as much as $20 billion in deferred maintenance costs.

However, critics of the conservation fund like Gosar say it makes no sense for the federal government to buy additional wild lands when it can’t maintain its existing holdings.

A coalition of ranching groups made the same point in coming out against the permanent, automatic extension of the fund, which Congress has fully funded only twice in the past several decades.

“If passed, the act sentences hundreds of millions of acres of American land and water to a poorly managed future. We do not believe that acquisition on this scale would be anything but an utter failure by Congress to perform its oversight role,” the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council said in a press release.

The National Association of Counties also wrote Gosar supporting the amendment requiring an acre-for-acre tradeoff whenever the federal government buys more land.

“Federal land ownership can create burdens for local governments, including reduced property tax revenue from a decreased share of private land that in some cases are over 90% federally owned, which reduces their economic development potential and tax bases.”

A coalition of business groups in Arizona pushed for passage of the act to boost the economy through outdoor recreation.

“Arizona is the envy of the West, having world-class outdoor recreation opportunities. The reality is that our state depends heavily on outdoor recreation tourism and if we don’t stand up to protect this important economic asset, we could stand to lose access to these places from threats such as development, mining and underfunding,” said Scott Garlid, executive director of the Arizona Wildlife federation.

“We can’t have an outdoor recreation industry without protected federal public lands and that’s the bottom line,” said Ash Patel, CEO of Southwest Hospitality Management.”

Area athletes keeping distance during workouts

WHITE MOUNTAINS — Two area high school football coaches are taking the threat of COVID-19 seriously as they prepare for school reopening and possible restart of sports in the coming weeks.

The coronavirus pandemic cut short the spring sports season in March and schools in the state have been constantly re-evaluating the situation to determine how to reopen for the fall semester.

Gov. Doug Ducey lifted a stay-at-home order in late spring and Arizona saw a spike in cases during June and July. But in the last couple of weeks, the numbers, especially in hard-hit Apache and Navajo counties, have looked more promising.

Ducey delayed the start of in-person classes until at least Aug. 17, but has now left the decision to reopen to local school boards. The state is expected to release guidelines for safely reopening schools on Aug. 7.

The Arizona Interscholastic Association followed the governor’s lead by delaying the start of on-campus athletics and activities until Aug. 17, but the AIA is surveying member schools to develop a timetable.

Currently, all the state’s high school athletic programs are in summer mode until further notice. Athletes at Blue Ridge, St. Johns and other White Mountain schools are working alone or in small groups to try and stay in shape for the start of team practices.

“We are doing things in small groups. We’re getting 10 to 15 kids a day in the weight room.” said St. Johns head football coach Mike Morgan, who is tied with former Blue Ridge coach Paul Moro for the most career football coaching victories in state history. “We are running what the AIA calls our summer programs, We have basketball going on and they can play baseball. They are running on their own.

“We can start football practice on Aug. 17 (as it stands now). We’ll try to get the kids in in the next few weeks and throw the ball so kids can get back into shape,” Morgan said.

Blue Ridge High School plans to begin online learning on Aug. 10 and on-campus classes may not start until Oct. 5.

“We have opened the weight room to 10 people four times a day beginning at 6 in the morning,” said Blue Ridge head football coach and athletic director Bob London. “Each person has lifted with the same group of kids all summer. They have to wear masks and use the same racks. They are not wandering around.”

London and Morgan, two of Arizona’s most experienced coaches, are changing their procedures to halt the spread of the virus.

“We are going to do everything outdoors,” Morgan said of his pre-season practice. “And there is going to have to be social distancing. But everything is a go with us as long as school opens.”

“There are a lot of unanswered questions,” London said. “We’ve got to figure out how to maintain social distancing and travel to away games.

“We’ll minimize use of the locker rooms. Players will come from home dressed out. They will have to bring their own water and masks,” London said.

Normally, teams would be beginning practice about now, with games usually starting about three weeks from now.

Blue Ridge was scheduled to open the season in Lakeside on Aug. 21 against 3A East opponent Winslow, but that game will have to be moved back to a later date. Blue Ridge was to travel to Page on Aug. 29 but that game probably won’t happen.

“After we get the surveys back to the AIA, we have to re-calculate the start date, then eliminate the (schools) that have cancelled, and redo all of the schedules,” London said. “We’ll know more by the end of next week.”

St. Johns’ schedules will also change — with many region opponents having already canceled fall sports, the football team will move to a different region.

“The first varsity (football) game will be Sept. 11, if Aug. 17 stands as the first day of school,” London said. “My question is, are we going to have enough players and coaches to have a team? It’s weird.”