What amounted to great beach day weather on Saturday turned into a difficult and challenging day for collegiate harriers in Hilo.
The University of Hawaii at Hilo played host to a Cross-Country Invitational Meet with schools from the Pacific West Conference , along with Victor Valley College from the So Cal conference.
Jaime Guerpo, coach of the Vulcan men and women squads, designed a challenging course that started on the girl’s softball field at Waiakea High School and traversed the perimeters of the entire Waiakea Complex before heading back to the finish line at the UHH athletic department.
“I had to modify the course several times as Waiakea Inter had construction going on,” Guerpo said. “What was supposed to be a 6K course (3.8-miles) was actually closer to 4-miles.”
The extra distance was the least of the runners concerns as the beautiful, sunny day in Hilo was complemented with high temperatures and humidity that made the mid morning start difficult for most runners.
For the women it was Hawaii Pacific University’s Quinn Horochuk claiming top honors in a time of 25 minutes and 34 seconds.
“This is probably the hardest course of all the races I’ve done this year,” Horochuk said. “With the heat and the hills it made for a very difficult race.”
Horochuk won her first race in her four years at HPU, partially due to her attitude. “Hey, this is my senior year, and I might as well make it count,” she said after winning the race.
Two weeks ago at the Big Wave Invitational, hosted by UH Manoa, Horochuk placed third overall and was the first PacWest runner to cross the finish line.
First for the Vulcan women was Nina Hagemann who finished tenth overall. “This was a tough one, heat wise,” Hagemann said.
“Even though we train on this course regularly I found it to be surprisingly hilly and it felt a little long. I am still working to get better and improve and I want our whole girl’s team to improve,” she said.
Vulcan women, Kirsta Andrew, 11th, Malia Williams, 16th, Lauren Vieira, 21st, and Liliana DeSmither, 24th, helped claim third place out of the five schools participating.
For the men’s race it was Spencer Deavila battling it out with Daniel Lyon for top honors.
Lyon crossed the finish line first in 20 minutes and 23 seconds with Deavila 22 seconds behind, but you won’t see Lyon’s name in the official results because he was running “unattached.”
Several other “unattached” runners participated in the Invitational and included former UHH harrier star, Germain Ortiz, and former Waiakea standout, James Imai.
“I’m the assistant coach at Victor Valley,” Lyon said after the race. “I was not ready for this humidity and at mile three the race became pretty tough.”
Victor Valley brought six men and six women to compete against the Pac West teams and Lyon found the hilly, grassy course to be extremely challenging.
BYUH’s Spencer Deavila won the race for the PacWest men, clocking in at 20:45. “I had the lead for the first mile,” he said. “I knew the guy (Lyon) was unattached and I tried to stay with him, but he kept a pretty good distance from me.”
“I liked this course, especially because it doesn’t replicate itself. It has lots of hills and is a good cross country course. I ran for an Arizona junior college last year and I’m used to the heat,” Deavila said.
Top man on the Vulcan squad was Stefano Barbis Rochabrun who placed fifth overall in a time of 21:31.
“It was definitely one of the hardest runs that I’ve ever done,” Barbis Rochabrun said. “I started out good and felt unified with our team. (Vulcan’s) had a little pack with Garrett (McAllister), me and Keoni (Ucker) in third through fifth place after the first mile.”
The Vulcan trio began to separate on the first hill as BYUH’s Brendan McMaster started to surge ahead. “I tried to stay with him (McMaster) but at the last hill, coming up to the finish, I fell off pace. That last hill was brutal and I know that it’s more mental than physical and I need to be tougher mentally,” Barbis Rochabrun said.
Other top runners for the Vulcan men were Ucker, 7th; McAllister, 10th; Zach Johnson, 24th; Nicholas Hagemann, 27th; Derek Dominguez, 28th, and Justin Pang, 29th.
Like the Vulcan women, the men also finish third out of five team competing. BYUH swept the team titles, winning both the men and women’s divisions.
BYUH veteran coach, Norman Kaluhiokalani, was low key about his team’s sweep. “My wahine are doing well. All I do is tell them to go run and come back as fast as you can,” said the smiling coach.
“I thought the course was a little confusing and challenging. The weather was intense, but everybody had to run the same race.” Kaluhiokalani said.
7 Michelle Lundh. Hawaii Pacific 26.11
8 Danielle Anderson BYU-Hawaii 26.25
9 Mariane Uehara Hawaii Pacific 26.30
10 Nina Hagemann UH Hilo 26.44
11 Kirsta Andrew UH Hilo 26.55
12 Amanda Tanhchaleun Hawaii Pacific 27.02
13 Sarah Taylor Victor Valley 27.46
14 Jamie Torres Hawaii Pacific 27.50
15 Lacee Kurtz BYU-Hawaii 27.57
16 Malia Williams UH Hilo 28.21
17 Melissa Hernandez Victor Valley 28.39
18 Mariane Magallanes Victor Valley 29.14
19 Gloria Espinosa Victor Valley 29.26
20 Monique Hoover Victor Valley 29.34
21 Lauren Vieira UH Hilo 29.37
22 Shay O’Grady Victor Valley 29.42
23 Wendy Darling Hawaii Pacific 30.36
24 Lilliana DeSmither UH Hilo 31.13
25 Rachel Martin Chaminade 31.16
26 Ashlie Salas-Selem Chaminade 31.36
27 Shelley Wee Chaminade 31.57
28 Monica Kvas Chaminade 37.11
29 Kelly Korras Chaminade 37.44
6 Brandon Krout BYU-Hawaii 21.37
7 Keoni Ucker UH Hilo 21.38
8 Luke Graesser BYU-Hawaii 21.41
9 Kevin Enriques Hawaii Pacific 21.44
10 Garrett McAllister UH Hilo 21.51
11 Flemmin Erilksen Hawaii Pacific 21.59
12 Vaughn Harber Hawaii Pacific 22.08
13 Matthew Gulden BYU-Hawaii 22.13
14 John Hansen Chaminade 22.22
15 AJ Pulice Victor Valley 22.29
16 Taylor Whiteside Victor Valley 22.31
17 Jon Cleghorn Hawaii Pacific 22.34
18 Kevin Wright Hawaii Pacific 22.43
19 Garret Prinslow Chaminade 22.48
20 John McCreadie Victor Valley 22.50
21 Nathan Braswell BYU-Hawaii 22.51
22 Chris Reeves Victor Valley 22.55
23 Andrew Rivera Victor Valley 23.17
24 Zack Johnson UH Hilo 23.24
25 Alejandro Pardi Chaminade 23.52
26 Craig Kandler Hawaii Pacific 24.07
27 Nicholas Hagemann UH Hilo 24.10
28 Derek Dominguez UH Hilo 24.17
29 Justin Pang UH Hilo 24.43
30 Charles Gumm Chaminade 25.44
31 Lance Takenaka Chaminade 27.05
32 Cedric Panganiban Chaminade 29.55
33 Shawn Jullian Chaminade 32.28