WAIMEA – It wasn’t a repeat performance for the state defending champions the Hawaii Preparatory Academy as they finished runner up to Punahou in team standings while Dakota Grossman of Seabury Hall won her third individual Hawaii High School State Championship.
“I won it my freshman, sophomore and this year my junior year,” Grossman said of the third consecutive state championship. “It doesn’t get any easier as I still need to work just as hard.”
Things haven’t changed for Grossman as she always tries to get out fast and at the state meet she has lots of harriers willing to do just that.
During her 3 mile race Grossman in traditional fashion took the lead from start to finish with Elli Brady of Punahou and sister Teri Brady sticking close behind.
“My father Bobby Grossman has been coaching me since I was little,” Grossman said. “Just this season we became Division II (Seabury) and we won the D II title.
Grossman won the race in 20 minutes 21 seconds with HPA’s Zoe Sims becoming the first Big Island Interscholastic Federation top finisher in 5th place with a time of 21:00 flat.
Other BIIF girls medaling at states (top 20 medals) was HPA’s Erin Evans (7th 21:21); HPA’s Kristiana Van Pernis (9th 21:40); Hilo’s Carmen Garson-Shumway (19th 22:13); Mehana Sabado-Halpern (20th 22:20).
There were chants of go HPA erupting from the Parisian crowd as the course favorite certainly had those in attendance on their side.
“I’m happy with my race and I did have a PR (personal record) on this course today.” Garson-Shumway said. “I went out more relaxed but wasn’t able to stay with my friends from HPA except for Mariah (Haight) as we usually run together as a pack.”
Viking teammate Salbado-Halpern allowed her adrenaline to carry her to a medal.
“I was really excited and this was my first cross country state meet,” she said. “I didn’t allow those negative thought to creep into head.”
Punahou girls regained the girl’s team title and coach Duncan MacDonald was quick to point out his Hilo ties.
“I was born in Hilo,” MacDonald said. “This is a great cross country course, we would be happy to run here every year because this is a true cross country course and the course is challenging.”
MacDonald had Kudos for his girls saying that “they are great, and very coachable.”
Punahou won the team title with 42 points over runner up HPA with 72, Kamehameha-Kapalama 186, Mid Pacific Institute 205.
Kamemaha-Hawaii was 9th overall with 247 and Hilo 10th with 255 to round out the top BIIF schools.
For the boys team title it was Coach Steve Jenness from Kamehameha-Kapalama returning his to the winners circle for his 11 state championship in 16 years.
“I would like to have the state meet here every year, as this type of course, I feel is one of the best cross country courses in the state,” he said.
Jenness is in his 29th year at the helm and his coaching philosophy is simple.
“I tell my kids to ‘never say never.” “At HPA there is a little bit of surprises and there is an interesting mix out on the course to keep it challenging.”
In the boys 3 miler it was a source of redemption as Parker’s Paul Gregg became the first BIIF harrier to cross the finish line.
“My goal today was just to come in first from the BIIF,” Gregg said. Gregg did just that finishing 22nd overall in 18:30, two places out of pocketing a state medal).
“This was redemption, pretty much a payback for letting Honokaa’s Tony Conners win BIIF’s,” Gregg said.
Conners finished in 51st place with a time of 19:13.
Waiakea’s Ian McQuate was the only one to challenge Gregg, finishing 31st in 18:51.
“I passed Ian with .5 miles to go in the race,” Gregg said. “I feel as though I am going out on top as a senior.”
Gregg did manage to set a PR on the HPA course.
In boys team standings it was 6 times BIIF champions Honokaa placing 12th with 315 points with Kealakehe 337, Kamehameha-Hawaii 14 with 345.
But it wasn’t as bad as it seemed for the Warrior boys.
“It was the first time we’ve had a scoring team qualifying for a state championship,” Coach Ryan Cabalse said. “I was hoping for a top 10 finish but I’ll take 14th overall.”
“The Kamehameha boys cross country program has been in existence 10 years and this is the first time in our history we’ve qualified a scoring team to state,” Coach Cabalse said.
“The difference is now they enjoy running and each other,” Coach Cabalse said. “Run for each other and enjoy the moment.”
Lupe Diaz returned an HPA boys scoring team for the first time since 2010 and felt that his scoring team had the ability to break into the top 10 at states, but Ka Makani team was 17th overall to conclude the season.
Kamehameha-Kapalama’s Davis Kaahanui won the boys individual title with a time of 17:07.
KEAAU – Three defending state champions sunk their spikes into the all weather track at Kamehameha to rise to the top of their competition at a Big Island Interscholastic all schools track and field meet held on Saturday.
Konawaena’s Lia Galdeira and Ua Ruedy along with Kamehameha’s Kaenen Akau distanced themselves from the rest of the league as they prepare to defend their state crowns in three weeks.
Galdeira opened the day running away from the field in the 100 hurdles in a blistering time of 14.8 seconds, then moments later returned to win the 100 dash in 12.54.
The amazing Wildcat managed to squeeze in the long jump between the two 100 races, winning with a giant leap of 17-11.75 and finished the day with a triple jump victory of 35-08.5.
The state champion in the 100 hurdles complemented her coaches for much of her track success.
“Our coaches are great, as they know what they are talking about,” Galdeira said. “I wasn’t even going to come out for track this season because I wanted to focus on academics but they convinced me to come out.”
Galdeira needed to get up early to catch the 5 am bus from Kona to Kamehameha and forgot something in the process.
“I forgot to pack my track shorts and just brought this ordinary pair of shorts,” she said. “I think I could have done better had I brought my correct shorts, especially in the long jump.”
Teammate Ruedy brought all the right equipment and dazzled the crowd in the 300 hurdles racing away from the rest of the field.
The defending state champion in the 300 ran a flawless race while looking like a gazelle traversing the obstacles in perfect strides.
“It was okay today because I got a slow start,” Ruedy said. “I know I can improve my time a lot and I need to get out of the blocks quicker and not slow down.”
During the girls long jump 8 girls jumped over 15 feet.
“It shows the level of competition is at an all time high and at a state level,” Jordan Rosado the long jump official said.
Kamehameha’s Akau was up to his normal patterns in the long jump, fouling in his first two attempts before making the final jump count.
“I know that my first jump is the most important, but I have marks from the previous weeks so I can give my all on every jump,” Akau said.
The defending state champ in the long jump decided to take two steps back on his final jump then unleashed his personal best launching a 22-.75 and in the process setting a new stadium record.
“On my final jump I moved back 2 steps, but I know that getting a mark on my first jump is most important,” Akau said. “I’m shooting to reach 23 feet by the BIIF championships.”
Akau also started his day winning the 100 meter dash and in the process set a new stadium record at 11.04 seconds.
“I’m still working on being relaxed in the 100,” Akau said. “I tense up and my stride lessens.”
In the 100 Akau was challenged by Keaau’s Jesse Huihui in a battle to the finish.
“Jesse is a great competitor and I felt the urge to push myself harder with him in the race.” Akau said.
The 400 dash saw the return of Kealakehe’s Luca Walter to his first all schools meet this season.
Walter wasted no time reminding people who the BIIF champion is by clocking a 50.7 second time to place himself as the second best time in the state.
“I want to hit 49 seconds by the BIIF championships,” Walter said. “I need to work on my start out of the blocks to be faster.”
Walter clocked a league leading time in the 800 with a 2:01.87.
“I’m pretty excited with my 800 time and I think I can bring that under 2 minutes within the next two weeks,” he said.
In the 200 dash it was Keaau’s Damien Packer winning his second race after taking the 110 hurdles.
“My 200 time can improve if I kick out of the turns better and have faster feet,” Packer said. “I need to get faster and not tense up as much.”
Another defending state champion in the shot put, HPA’s Shane Brostek, was at the Punahou Relays on Oahu and was selected most outstanding for winning both the shot and discus.
Running around the oval and not getting much attention is Pahoa sophomore Micah Davis.
Davis, for the past two weeks, has decided to run in every event from the 100, 200, 400, 800, 1500 and 3000.
“I thought it was amazing that someone who finishes last in every event would have the will power to do all the running events,” Kamehameha Coach Ryan Cabalse said.
“I feel like I’d rather run than sit in the bleachers,” Davis said. “I’ve been second to last twice and I beat my times from the week before.”
Davis has a twin brother, Josh, who also runs for the Daggers, but it is Micah that will take on the task of doing every running event that the league has to offer.
“I’m improving each week and I want to get faster,” Micah said. “I do it just for me and not for anyone else.”
The BIIF regular season concludes with an all schools meet at Hawaii Predatory Academy on Saturday starting at 9 am.
Kamehameha Rugby team photos provided by Coach Ryan Cabalse
The newly formed Kamehameha Rugby team looks and shows the fierce nature as they prepare for the upcoming season. Surely no one would want to mess with these gruesome Warriors.
The other photo shows the Kamehameha team after playing their first rugby match. The Warriors are clearly disoriented and not in their right minds.
Coach Cabalse later informed me that this wasn’t the Rugby team, but rather the cross country team who showed their attitude towards practice with their angry look.
The team later took a photo after running 4 miles and again, clearly shows their disoriented nature.
Either way the Warriors are consistent in their desire to be offensive to their competition.
Whether or not their irate strategy works, one thing for sure…….they have a great sense of humor
WAIMEA – The Waiakea boys and Hawaii Preparatory Academy girls kept their unblemished record intact on Friday winning team scoring during all schools Big Island Interscholastic Federation 3 mile cross country meet on Ka Makani home turf.
Leading the way for the Warriors was Jackson Halford while HPA had Emily Evans in the front of the girl’s completion.
Halford needed a late kick at the finish line to hold off a feisty Andrew Langtry from St. Joseph.
Both boys have exchanged BIIF victories during the season with each winning two meets.
“Andrew (Langtry) really pushed me hard today and I ran a lot faster than I would have if I ran on my own,” Halford said.
Halford led for most of the race before being challenged by a gusty Langtry in the final 150 yards of the race.
“He had me worried and he put up a great fight,” Halford said of his opponent. “I had no idea he has such an awesome kick and it caused me to dig deeper for that little extra effort that made the difference.”
Halford won in a time of 18 minutes and 27 seconds, just .27 of a second ahead of Langtry.
“Jackson did great and I feel great because I was able to push him the entire way,” Langtry said after the race.
Langtry allowed Halford to keep the lead for most of the race saying it was part of his strategy.
“I wanted to draft off him, and it was actually fun to do that,” Langtry said. “I waited until the flat straight away to do my kick, but it was probably too late as I should have started the kick earlier.”
Parkers Paul Gregg surprised the crowd by taking third with Makua Lani’s Brandt Mabuni sneaking into a season high fifth place.
“I was more focused today than I’ve been the entire season,” Gregg said. “My mental drive was better and I didn’t think about most of the people in the race and just tried to run my own race.”
For Mabuni, a senior, doing his final race at HPA of his four year harrier career may have made the difference.
“I decided to run for a greater cause,” he said. “I ran in appreciation for all that I have and I’m hoping that today’s success is something I can build upon for the rest of my life.”
Absent from the top five leader board was Kamehameha’s Shawn Correa Doll.
“We tried something different today and asked Shawn to run with our teams pack,” Coach Ryan Cabalse said.
“Shawn has been injured for the past couple of weeks, so we asked him to relax during the first two miles and open up during the last mile,” Cabalse said. “We want him to be ready for the BIIF championships and we didn’t want him to push too hard today.”
Waiakea won the team scoring with 69 points over a newly awakened and more focused Parker team with 98.
In the girls race it was HPA dominating from start to finish with their third different runner winning the overall individual honors.
A smiling, jubilant, and what might have appeared to be happy carefree, Emily Evans, claimed her first victory in her young prep career.
“It was all about fun today,” Evans said of her smiling during the entire race. “I was feeling good and I believe that we should be here to have fun or we shouldn’t be running.”
Evans was in eighth place at the halfway point in the race before passing runners going up the second and final steep hill in the back slopes of the HPA campus.
“I wasn’t thinking about winning and just tried to run my hardest, like I do in every race,” Evans said.
In second place was Ka Makani harrier Zoe Sims, who is making a comeback from an early season injury which saw her sit out for four weeks.
“I’m happy to be running again,” Sims said. “I just wanted to run hard and have fun which is something the entire teams believes in.”
Sims held the lead for just past the half way mark with a host of other Ka Makani in hot pursuit.
HPA nearly had a perfect score, which is only accomplished in cross country when a team takes the top five spots. But Waiakea’s Kelsie Kobayashi prevented Ka Makani harriers from the 15 point victory by claiming the fifth spot.
“I never thought about team scoring during the race,” Kobayashi said. “I was just trying to run my best and to get use to the elevation.”
HPA coach Michael Franklin was impressed in seeing a fifth different girl in five weeks win top horrors for the league.
“Five winners in five weeks that’s the way it should be,” Franklin said. “It’s good for cross country supporters and it’s good for the BIIF.”
Franklin also spoke about his decision to keep Sims out of competition for four weeks.
“Zoe stayed in shape by doing pool workouts and by riding the bike,” Coach Franklin said.
“We saved her from possible further injury so that she can be happy and healthy and be able to run and win races when she’s 60 years old,” he said.
When told about Coach Franklin’s saving her so that she can be running well into her 60’s Sims replied, “I expect to be running well into my 90’’s.”
“We don’t have any stars on this team,” Franklin said. “We believe in team and the girls believe in that concept and that is why we are where we are.”
The BIIF season continues on Saturday, Oct. 8, with an all-schools meet at Kamehameha starting at 2:30 pm with the boy’s 3 mile race followed by the girls 3 miler.
The Hawaii Prep girls cross country program doesn’t don Yankee pinstripes, it doesn’t channel Celtic pride and it’s never celebrated their victories with the Lambeau leap. But in its own realm, Ka Makani wahine are every bit as dominant.
Since 1980 the ladies from Hawaii Preparatory Academy have dominated the Big Island Interscholastic Federation cross county winning league titles in 27 of the past 31 years, according to Ka Makani athletic director Stephen Perry.
The BIIF cross country season opens this Saturday with the HPA girls team coming in as heavy favorites to win yet another league championship.
Waiakea (1983 & 1991) and Kamehameha (2005 & 2007) were the only other schools to win BIIF girls team titles and HPA looks on track to continue their cross country dominance.
Ka Makani return four of the varsity seven from last year’s league champions with Zoe Sims, Emily Evans, Kristiana Van Pernis and Mariah Haight leading the way.
Head coach Michael Franklin returns at the helm, but down plays his team’s goal of winning another league title.
“Truly, people don’t believe me when I say this, but winning a championship is not one of our goals,” Franklin said. “Our goals are simple as they come from the basic philosophy that life is more satisfying if one pushes him or herself beyond perceived limits.”
Franklin believes that his harriers need to focus on themselves and their team rather than on trying to win a league championship.
“Focusing on winning a championship would require too much attention on others,” he said. “We really have a team focus.”
Ka Makani girls finished second in the state last season and this year is considered the team to challenge Punahou again for the Hawaii High School Athletic Association title.
“This is the strongest team that I have yet coached at HPA,” Franklin said. “That does not mean that it is the fastest team. It is the strongest because of its unified spirit and unanimous love for the running lifestyle. Whether we win or lose races, this team’s attitude makes it exceptional.”
Gunning for the girl’s title will be the Warriors of Kamehameha as Coach Joel Truesdell return five of his top seven girls.
“This is the first time since we last won the BIIF championship that we return this many varsity starters,” Truesdell said.
Kamehameha returns three girls that were in the top 20 at the BIIF championships last season in Tiana Iwata (12th), Corin Kim (16th) and Erin Carvalho (20th).
“We’ve got some depth on our girl’s squad as we have 8 girls running in the lead pack,” Truesdell said. “Our goals are the same as last year, to get a full team into states.”
Also shooting to get a full team to qualify for the state championship is Hilo’s veteran coach, Bill McMahon.
“Our top two returning girls are Shalila De Bournmont and Carmen Garson-Shumway,” McMahon said. “Our boy’s team are all young, but I do have a good sized group.”
Waiakea’s fastest girl is Kelsie Kobayashi and she will be anchored by Haley Rasse, Vanessa Ignacio, Skye Ombac, and Vandey Okinaka, according to Coach Jordan Rosado.
“We have a large team, with 40 boys and 28 girls,” Rosado said. “I feel we have as good a chance to compete for the boy’s team title as anyone else, since Honokaa lost some of their best runners to graduation.”
Waiakea will be led by Jackson Halford and Keoni Rice with Ian McQuate, Hajime Hiyano and Dyson Sato providing needed support according to Rosado.
Honokaa, returns as the four time defending league champion, but has some holes to fill from last season.
“Chayce Moniz, Clayton Robinson, Pedro Sanches, Robert Conners, Tony Conners, Riston Matias, Koa Phenice, Sean Quinlan, Justin Warren, and Mason Wilkes are our returners,” Coach Joshua Abner said.
Abner lost three of his seven starters from last year, including two time individual BIIF champion Chris Mosch, which leaves the door open for several teams to vie for the team title.
“Every day is an open tryout for us and every one of these boys are hungry,” Abner said.
Last season’s big surprise came from the boys at Parker School as Coach Ceri Whitfield qualified her team for the HHSAA.
“I feel with the hard work these boys put into their training they have as much chance as any of the other schools to come in first,” Whitfield said. “They are very committed and positive about their chances this year as they work very hard.”
Leading the way for the Bulls is Jesse Tarnas who will brings a solid core of runners which includes Jesse Tarnas, Paul Gregg, Tyler McCullough, Jess Burns and Evan Kasberg.
Kamehameha boys coach, Ryan Cabalse, has four returnees that made it to the state championships last season in Shawn Correa-Doll, Kaulana Ho, Colton Hill, and Jonah Knell.
“Our boy’s squad has never qualified as a team for states yet, (five from the same team need to qualify to score as a team) but we are hoping to contend for one of the automatic team slots this season,” Cabalse said.
St. Joseph returns one of the best BIIF runners in Andrew Langtry who is expected to challenge for the individual league crown. Langtry ran in various community races during the off season and was often seen in the top leader board.
Keaau brings 41 boys and 15 girls into competition with returnees Deann Nishimura-Thornton and Natalie Hagemann leading the girls while Jhun-Delle Venture, Davin Alviento, Greg Matias, Arman Navarro and Adrian Martinez headline the boy’s squad, according to Coach Donna Wong Yuen.
Though difficult, we always want to try and qualify a team for states,” Wong Yuen said. “Our goals are to have fun and improve from last year.”
Christian Liberty Academy doesn’t have any girls on their cross country team but will bring 10 boys to the starting line, according to Coach Frank Grotenhuis.
“Caeden Cambra and Keenen Freitas are the two fastest on the team,” Grotenhuis said. “We’re looking at having the boys push hard so that they can achieve their personal best.”
The BIIF harriers get off to a running start on Saturday with Grotenhuis as his CLA family playing host to the Canefire Conditioner starting at 10 am on the Keaau campus.