Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

HPA Girls – Honokaa Boys Favored to Win BIIF Team Titles

Ramirez out for season

In what might have been one of the closest cross country races in Big Island Interscholastic Federation history Hilo’s best runner has turned up lame.

Viking Nadia Ramirez, who has led the Big Island in every race this season, has been sidelined due to an unexpected injury according to Hilo Coach Bill McMahon.

“Nadia’s season is over,” said the glum Hilo coach.  “Our team is going to pull together and we’ll run the best we can to a very good Hawaii Prep team.”

With Ramirez in the lineup it could have come down to the sixth runner during the BIIF championships to be held at Hawaii Preparatory Academy on Friday, but without the Viking ace McMahon has not yet resigned himself to the runner-up position.

Coach McMahon

“My girls are ready and they are fired up so we will do well on Friday,” McMahon said.

HPA is the girl’s defending team champion and was expected to face strong challenge from Hilo as both squads have a bevy of talented harriers competing.

With points awarded to the top five runners on each squad the sixth member on the team would have counted in the event of a tie.  The Viking and Ka Makani have been battling each other during the regular season and it was believed by both coaches that the sixth runner was going to play an important role in determining the outcome.

“Hilo has a great team this year,” HPA coach Michael Franklin said.  “They are fast and they seem to have fun at every race.  We are excited for such intense competition and it has made us a stronger team.”

Franklin’s Ka Makani girls have won the BIIF title three of the past four years and, along with Hilo, is considered to be one of the top five teams in the state.

Coach Franklin

“I expect the team scores to be very close, but we are not focused on points,” Franklin said not knowing that Ramirez was out of the lineup.  “Defending the team title is not one of our primary goals; we’re focused on running our personal and team best on Friday.”

Leading the way for the girls all season long was Hilo’s Nadia Ramirez who went undefeated in BIIF competition this year.  HPA’s Kela Vargas gave Ramirez her closest race during the season when the two last met on Oct 2 at the Waimea campus. 

Vargas early kick was answered when Ramirez responded with a burst of her own to narrowly eclipse the Ka Makani harrier by less than a half second at the finish line.

Coach Franklin believes that Vargas leadership to the team plays an equally important role as her running talent.

“We are not focused on Kela winning anything,” Franklin said.  “This season and this week she is focused on joining our other captains, Sam Neal and Phoebe Hono, inspiring our younger runners and developing a strong team.”

Three time defending BIIF champion, Honokaa’s Tialana Greenwell, has been hampered by a series of nagging injuries throughout the season and has not been able to display her powerful running skills as in years past.

“I just started out the season with no races that I’ve been happy with,” Greenwell said.  “Midway through the season I developed an Achilles problem and I’ve needed to do pool workouts to keep up with my cardio conditioning.”

Despite the setbacks this season Greenwell is a proven talent and cannot be counted out of winning her fourth BIIF title.

“My confidence hasn’t really come through for me this season, but I’m going into the championships wanting and hoping to win,” Greenwell said.

Coach Abner

The boy’s race is not expected to be as close as the girls with three time defending team champion, Honokaa, expected to four-peat.  Leading the way for the Dragon’s is individual BIIF champ, Chris Mosch.

Mosch got a late start this season as he was nursing a stress fracture he received at the end of the BIIF track & season this past May.  But in the last few weeks Mosch has reasserted himself at the top and is the clear favorite to claim another individual crown.

“My training has been going very well and I trust my training,” Mosch said.  “I feel very confident going into the championships and I know everything will go well on Friday.”

Mosch believes that Dragon teammates Josh Robinson and Chayce Moniz will also be at the front of the pack and is looking to see a strong team finish.

“I’d like to better my time from the last HPA meet, but my main focus is just to win,” Mosch said.

As for the team title Honokaa coach Josh Abner believes that his boy’s team will claim yet another title.

“This is my third year coaching at Honokaa and this is the third year we’re going for the team title,” Coach Josh Abner said.

“We have fostered such a competitive nature amongst ourselves that we focus on what Dragons do,” Abner said.  “Our competitive nature is our driving force and competing daily brings out our teams best.  These guys understand that every day is an opportunity to make each other better.”

Hilo had been placing second to the Dragons all season long and is expected to capture the runner up position.

“Anything can happen during a race,” Coach McMahon said.  “That is why they run the races rather than call them in.  With that said Honokaa is very strong and they will need to falter significantly to not take the championship.  We are aiming to make it to states as a team.”

The top two boy’s teams and top two girl’s teams advance to the HHSAA championships along with the 36 fastest girls and 37 fastest boys. The state championships will be held on Oahu on Thursday, Oct. 28.

October 19, 2010 Posted by | High School Runners | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment