Waiakea uses home course advantage to take top cross country spots
Home course advantage paid big dividends for Waiakea as Warriors Jackson Halford and Kelsie Kobayashi raced to the finish line to win cross country meets on the home turf this past Saturday.
Kobayashi won her first Big Island Interscholastic Federation of the season in convincing fashion beating out a talent laden Hawaii Preparatory Academy squad.
“This is my home course and I’m a senior so those things were my motivation today,” Kobayashi said. “I wanted to raise the bar and make my mark as I know I’ll never be able to compete here again.”
Kobayashi gave the crowd of over two hundred little doubt as the Warrior took the lead early with a pack of four Ka Makani giving chase.
“I was running scared for two miles as I knew there were girls behind me and I kept telling myself to keep the pace,” Kobayashi said. “I really wanted to win this one today and I wasn’t going to let anyone catch me.”
Kobayashi, who has had an up and down season this year won her last cross country race last season, on where else, the Waiakea course.
“I can be my biggest critic and have been battling some confidence issues, but today I put all that behind me,” she said.
Ka Makani Mariah Haight and Zoe Sims finished second and third respectively behind Kobayashi finishing more than 30 seconds behind while Viking sophomore Carmen Garson-Shumway took fourth.
“I liked the Waiakea course,” Haight said. “I especially like the downhill’s as I felt as though I was gliding. It was a fun day and I set a personal record time in running 20 minutes and 1 second. This has to be my second favorite course behind HPA.”
Another sophomore, Garson-Shumway, had trouble getting out and separated from the more than 140 girls in the competition.
“There were a lot of girls ahead of me at the start and I had a hard time getting out,” Garson-Shumway said. “I was in eighth place going into the first hill and tried to catch up to the HPA girls.”
Garson-Shumway managed to break the foursome of Ka Makani and then tried valiantly to pull pass Sims and Haight at the end.
“I need to work on the middle part of my race as my finish is good,” she said.
Prior to the boys race Kamehameha’s Shawn Correa Doll made the bold statement that he was going to win, but the gritty senior fell a little short as Halford pulled out the big win.
“I went out too fast,” Correa Doll said from the trainer’s tent after the race. “My shin splints were painful as I am trying to train and race through the discomfort.
Despite falling short Correa Doll had a positive attitude about his second place finish.
“I didn’t allow anyone to pass me on the course,” he said. “I have to give Jackson (Halford) a lot of credit as he is an awesome runner.”
Halford clocked in at 16 minutes 37 seconds with Correa Doll less than 20 seconds behind.
“I like running on this course and racing against Shawn,” Halford said. “We traded the lead several times as he would throw surges at me and I’d have to respond. I could tell that Shawn was here to win and he gave me a very good race.”
The surprise came when Honokaa’s Tony Connors claimed third place, his highest finish in his BIIF cross country career.
“I just wanted to see how I’d do and I tried to stay with the top runners in this race,” Connors said. “I surprised myself that I could stick with the leaders as I’ve never finished in the top 10 of any race before.”
In team scoring Waiakea won the boys race by 18 points over Kamehameha to a jubilant home cross country coach Jordan Rosado.
“Our boys have won every race this season and winning on our home course today is extra special,” Rosado said. “We basically told them all week that this is their home course and it’s all about pride.”
Does home course have an advantage?
“It was definitely an advantage to be running here as we train on this course everyday and a couple of days ago we had time trials,” Rosado said. “I’m glad the boys are pushing themselves in races and at practice.”
The girl’s team scoring race was won by HPA, which has won every BIIF race this season with Hilo following in second.
The BIIF season continues on Friday with an all schools meet in Waimea on the campus of Hawaii Prep starting at 3 p.m.
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