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Coyote participates in Arizona cross-country championships

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Harvey Nelson Harvey Nelson
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PHOENIX -

Here in Arizona, we're used to seeing coyotes, but generally, they see humans and turn right back around.  That wasn't the case at the state championships for Arizona's top runners.

This all happened at the Cave Creek golf course in Phoenix.  They host the race every year, but nothing like this has ever happened before!

A YouTube video shows state champion runner Harvey Nelson up against a fierce competitor -- a coyote!

"So I look back down and there's this little furry ball that flies on by.  Then I give it a second look and I'm like, wow there's a coyote.. wow.. what's going on here?  Then it kinda just zoomed off, so I kept on running," he said.

Nelson is a senior at Catalina Foothills High School in Tucson.  While Skyping with us on Friday, the 18-year-old said the coyote never scared him, but it could have won the race.

"Oh, it was much faster.. coyotes are extremely fast -- it just zoomed on by."

Golfers that come to this course can't believe one of the shy coyotes they see regularly suddenly became so social.

"It's pretty amazing somebody happened to catch that.. that's a once in a lifetime video I would think," said Buffy Labombarde, head golf pro at the Cave Creek Golf Course.

The wash in the middle of the course is where coyotes are usually seen leaving the area late at night and the early morning, typically when they're chasing after rabbits -- and squirrels too, according to Steven Gepner.

"Because it was on the 17th hole and he was chasing a squirrel.. he just grabbed it at the end and ran away with the squirrel," he said.

The coyote was likely searching for a small animal again, but instead came across Nelson, who said, "For a cross country race, it definitely was pretty crazy."

Nelson's aunt snapped the amazing photo of the coyote running with him.  It's so good, he made it his Facebook profile picture.

Online: www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjSlQWHpxF4

 

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