Warrior pairs take season opener at Canefire Conditioner – BIIF cross country
KEAAU-Warrior pairs took center stage on the opening day of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation cross country season on the campus of Christian Liberty Academy.
“This is the sixth year that we’ve hosted the BIIF season opener with the Canefire Conditioner,” CLA Coach Frank Grotenhuis said.
Grotenhuis format requires schools to pair their runners, with each doing three alternating one mile legs.
Each pair completed a total of six miles with each runner doing three miles. Canefire officials took the top four scoring pairs from each school to calculate who won the team title.
“Each year we’ve hosted the race the course has been changed slightly to accomadate our growing campus,” Grotenhuis said.
A total of nine BIIF schools participated at CLA, zigzagging their way around the open expanse this past Saturday.
“We have 89 pairs of boys and one individual entered in today’s race,” Grotenhuis said. “It is the largest field we have ever had.”
Two pairs of Warrior boys claimed top honors with Waiakea’s Jackson Halford and Keoni Rice taking first and Kamehameha’s Shawn Correa Doll and Maka’ala Cruz second.
In the early going the lead exchanged hand with Honokaa’s Robert Conners and Chayce Moniz, along with Parkers Jesse Tarnas and Paul Gregg going out fast while Kamehameha chased in third and Waiakea in fourth.
“We decided to run relaxed in the first leg of the race as we knew everyone else would be going out quickly,” Rice said. “We had a strategy and were just happy we could be in the top 10 after the first mile.”
“The idea was for us to run our last mile hard and see if we could finish in the top 5 overall,” Jackson said. “Things worked out better than we had hoped.”
The other Warriors, Kamehameha’s Correa Doll and Cruz were equally happy with their overall finish.
“We just wanted to do our best today,” Correa Doll said. “I was a little afraid of Honokaa because they have the reputation of winning, but I know this is about being mentally strong and running as a team.”
Cruz was also hoping for a top five finish.
“I was trying for good placing after the first mile and didn’t want to hold anything back at the end,” he said. “I kind of held back in my running last year and want this to be a better year for me.”
The only boy choosing to run the entire 6 miles by himself was St. Joseph’s Andrew Langtry who is the lone Cardinal representative in the league.
“I could have teamed with someone from a different school, but I decided that I would try it alone,” Langtry said.
Langtry finished in 34 minutes and 55 seconds, placing 23rd overall out of 89 paired teams.
“I wanted to challenge myself and get in a good workout,” Langtry said. “I ran the entire way hard and it was good to have people around me to make me work.”
In the girls race it was all Warriors from start to finish as the duo of Kelsie Kobayashi and Haley Rasse led from start to finish winning top honors for Waiakea.
“I just wanted to run my own race and get in a zone,” Kobayashi said. “I took the early lead, but I really wasn’t paying any attention to anyone else.”
Rasse was in the anchor position and felt some pressure to maintain the lead given to her.
“I didn’t want to let Kelsie down,” she said. “I wanted to keep the lead or even give her a bigger lead.”
Following in second through fifth place were a group of runners from Hawaii Preparatory Academy as Coach Michael Franklin wanted his harrier to learn to pace.
“We’re teaching pacing with our experienced runners showing our new girls how to keep and maintain a desired pace.”
Ka Makani harriers looked to be in charge as they ran in a pack for all six miles, but a pair of Hilo runners decided to mix things up and challenged during the final mile.
Viking runners Karina Lawrence and Carmen Garson-Shumway stayed within striking distance in the early going, moving up from seventh place to eventually move into second with less than a quarter mile to go.
“Our job was to pace our other runners on the team, so we didn’t go out to hard,” Lawrence said. “We were hoping we could finish somewhere in the top five by the end of the race.”
After the first two miles the Viking duo were turned loose and made their way to the top of the field.
“I believed I could catch the HPA pack on my final mile,” Garson-Shumway said. “I wasn’t sure we could do it and we’re sure happy to have finished in second place.”
In overall team scoring for the boys it was Honokaa taking first with 33 points, followed by Waiakea, Kamehameha, HPA, Hilo, Keaau, Parker, Kohala and Hualalai.
The girls team scoring had HPA in first followed by Hilo, Waiakea, Kamehameha, Keaau and Honokaa.
The BIIF cross country season moves to the hills of Waimea on Saturday as HPA plays host to the traditional three mile individual venue with the first race getting under way at 10 am.