Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

HPA Girls, Honokaa Boys, Favored to win BIIF Cross-Country Titles

HPA girls favored to win cross country team title

The Big Island Interscholastic Federation cross-country season will get off to a running start this Saturday when Christian Liberty Academy plays host to the Canefire Conditioner which will showcase prep harriers in a sequence of one-mile hand off races.

CLA has played host to the BIIF opener for the past four years with coach, Frank Grotenhuis, instituting a unique pair of races that develops both speed and endurance.  

 The Canefire Conditioner allows each school to enter their pair of runners with each running three alternating one-mile legs.  “This race can be brutal as each kid runs their hardest on each leg,” Grotenhuis said.

Grotenhuis ran cross country for Taylor University in Indiana, where his school hosted a preseason meet that featured the same format which is now featured at CLA as the BIIF harrier opener.

 The BIIF will see the returns of league individual champions Tialana Greenwell and Chris Mosch, both of Honokaa, who will attempt to retain their 3-mile long individual distance cross-country titles.

3x BIIF champ, Tia Greenwell

Greenwell is the three time defending BIIF champion and her only loss in league competition came during her first race as a freshman.  For three years she has totally dominated within the league and for her success she has been named Honokaa’s Female Athlete of the Year for all three years.

“I’ve been training and running on my own for the past several weeks,” Greenwell said.  “I don’t want to take anything for granted and I want to go out as a four time BIIF champion.”

Greenwell finished second in state competition during her sophomore year when the meet was held on a hilly HPA course.  “I’m hoping our team can make it to states this year and that I can finish somewhere in the top three.”

Joining Greenwell will be sister Kelly-Ann who is a sophomore.  The Greenwell duo will be paired once again in the Canefire Conditioner.   Another youngster, incoming freshman, Allie Shiraki, should bring added depth to a balanced Dragon squad.  “Allie is already running with us during practice and should help us repeat as BIIF team runner-ups,” Greenwell said.

Chris Mosch

 Mosch is coming back from a stress fracture which hampered his chances to medal during the end of his BIIF Track & Field season in May.

“My training has been coming along and I’ll be ready for the CLA meet,” Mosch said.  Mosch, along with teammate Josh Robinson, are the defending pair champions from the Canefire Conditioner and are hoping for a repeat performance on Saturday.

  “This season I’m hoping to defend my BIIF title and place in the top five overall at states.  Our team has five of its top seven runners from last year returning so we are hoping to defend the team title as well.” Mosch said.

 Defending team champions, Honokaa for the boys and Hawaii Preparatory Academy for the girls, are loaded with talented runners and look to be in position to defend their crowns.

 Dragon coach Josh Abner has most of his firepower back with Mosch and Robinson, accompanied by Chayce Moniz, Dylan Shiraki and Brandon Mah to make another run at the BIIF team title.

 Ka Makani girls are loaded with experienced talent with six of their top seven runners from last year ready to make another run at the league crown.

 Kela Vargas, Zoe Sims and Emily Evans return for HPA as the trio finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively during the 2009 BIIF championships.  Samantha Neal (13th), Hana Scully (18th), and Phoebe Hono (25th) give the Ka Makani enough firepower to defend their crown.

 “Our main goal this year, as always, is to develop healthy lifestyles that we can endure for the rest of our lives,” HPA coach Michael Franklin said.

 HPA carries 25 girls on the roster and Franklin is optimistic about their chances to see a few in that group battle for the opportunity to make the top seven on the varsity team.

 Franklin has coached the ladies from Waimea for four consecutive years, winning three BIIF team titles in the process.  “Each year that I’ve been here the league has become more competitive, so by no means does our past guarantee any future victories.  We are definitely not taking anything for granted,” he said.

Kamehameha-Hawaii girls will have a pair of their top runners coming back to lead a young Warrior squad.  “We’re hoping to get a team to the state meet this season,” Joel Truesdell, Warrior girls coach, said.

Truesdell believes that he’ll know more about his girl’s squad after the Canefire Conditioner.  “We will learn a little at this Saturday’s meet and a lot more once we get into the BIIF all-schools meets,” he said.

Around the league there are a number of returning harriers that should be running in the lead pack this year.  For the boys:  Jackson Halford, Waiakea; Brandt Mabuni and Devin Vandervoort, Makua Lani; Tyde Kaneshiro, Rick Michels and Billy Ray, Hilo.

For the girls watch for Grace Choe, Makua Lani; Kelsie Kobayashi, Waiakea; Shalia De Bourmont, Hilo; and Deann Nishimura-Thornton, Keaau, to all make a run for top honors and possibly challenge Greenwell.

However getting a BIIF team to qualify for the state championship this season might be more difficult compared to years past.  Two years ago the BIIF sent their top four teams to the big dance and last season that number was reduced to the top three.

The BIIF has reduced the number of teams that will win automatic qualification to the HHSAA meet this season to two.  “The BIIF coaches decided that they would rather have more individuals qualify and voted to reduce the number of teams in order to send more of our top runners to the state meet,” BIIF cross-country coordinator Steve Perry said.

Saturday’s Canefire Condition begins at 10 am with the girl’s race, followed at 11 am with the boy’s race.  Grotenhuis expects that results will be available around 12:30 and will present awards to the top 10 pairs of runners from each race, plus an additional 5 pairs of awards to the next scoring pairs in the open division.

August 25, 2010 Posted by | High School Runners | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment