Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Big Islanders Win Six Medals at HHSAA Cross-Country

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Start of girls race at HHSAA - Kauai 2009

Lihue, Kauai   Runners from around the state converged on the Garden Island for the 45th Annual Hawaii Athletic Association cross-country championships held at Island School on Saturday.

An estimated crowd of more than 500 witnessed an upset in the girl’s 3-mile race as Punahou freshman, Elli Brady, beat out heavily favored Hailey Grossman from Seabury Hall to win the individual crown.

Honokaa’s Tialana Greenwell, the defending Big Island Interscholastic Federation champion and last year’s state runner-up, had challenged the leaders early on.

“It was a crazy fast start and I just wasn’t ready for that fast race,” Greenwell said.  “I had to get out hard because I didn’t want to get caught in the back early on.”

The start of the cross country race narrowed and took a sharp turn to the left in the first 200 yards which required the early leaders to get out quickly in the field of 160 harriers.  Grabbing the early lead was Grossman with Greenwell a stride behind.

Near the half way mark Greenwell took a brief lead with Grossman two steps behind as Brady began to make her move from the chase pack.  The final mile became a race between Grossman and Brady with Greenwell fading back and eventually finishing in 7th place.

Brady won in a time of 18 minutes and 53 seconds with Grossman 14 seconds behind.

“It wasn’t my best race but I’m happy with my finish,” Greenwell said of her 19:34 time.

Hawaii Preparatory Academy’s Kela Vargas (14) and Emily Evans (18) did well in helping the Ka Makani to a fourth place team finish.

“My goal coming into the race was to break into the top 20,” Vargas said.  “This course was like a maze and it zigzagged and had all these sharp turns.  It was good in a way because I could always see the girls in front of me and whether or not they were getting tired.”

Evans, just a freshman, was also pleased with her overall finish.  “I exceeded my expectations going into this race,” Evans said.  “I didn’t even know, early in the season, if I would even make the varsity team.  I was really nervous coming into the race and I didn’t know what to expect.”

HPA coach, Michael Franklin, was pleased with his team’s top five finish.  “One of our goals coming into the state meet was to finish in the top five,” Franklin said.  “This is a very close, loving team, and one of the best that I’ve ever coached.”

The only other BIIF girl making the top 20 was Waiakea’s Kelsie Kobayashi, who claimed 19th overall.

Kobayashi was in 23rd at the half way mark and 21st with a mile to go and needed to make up ground to medal in the HHSAA.  “I found the start to be a little scary and it was hard to get out quickly,” she said.  “I’m just happy I could break into the top 20.”

Perennial champion Punahou won the girls team title for the fifth year in a row and narrowly beat out a strong Mililani team by eight points

The start of the boys race was hampered by a recall as a dozen runners fell going into the first turn.  A second start didn’t change the overall result as Leilehua’s Margarito Martinez ran away from the competition, leading from start to finish, and winning in a time of 15 minutes and 50 seconds.

Host Island School had lots to cheer about as Voyager Pierce Murphy ran the entire race in second place and finished 28 seconds behind Martinez.

Honokaa’s Chris Mosch, the BIIF regular season champion, went out quickly and stayed in the chase pack for the first two miles.

“The start was really hectic and hard to do as it took me a lot of extra work to get out,” Mosch said.  “I needed to jump over some cones early on to make my way close to the lead group.”

A half-mile into the race Mosch got into the chase pack and stayed there for the next two miles. At one point the junior from Honokaa had moved into third place, but with less than a mile to go the wheels fell off and Mosch was visually in trouble.

“I was just trying to hang on during that last mile and with about 300 yards to go I mustered all I could and beat out Hobson (Mid Pacific Institute Ryan Hobson) at the finish.

Mosch finished 14th overall in a time of 17:15.  “I’m satisfied with my place, it wasn’t the most ideal race, but it sure beats my 45th place finish at states last year,” Mosch said.

Also placing in the top 20 for the BIIF was HPA senior, Tyler Tsubota, who claimed 16th in 17:17.

“This course was really flat and I loved it,” Tsubota said.  “I was in 20th the whole time and people were telling me my position as I really wanted to medal, so I picked up my pace.”

Tsubota put on a good kick with 400 yards to go and passed several competitors to claim his state medal. 

As expected Kamehameha-Kapalama won the boys team title with 56 points points beating out Punahou with 85.   The top BIIF team was Honokaa who finished sixth out of the 14 scoring teams.

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November 1, 2009 Posted by | Events, High School Runners | , , , , , | 3 Comments