Waiakea Boys, HPA Girls, perfect in BIIF cross country
WAIMEA – The Waiakea boys and Hawaii Preparatory Academy girls kept their unblemished record intact on Friday winning team scoring during all schools Big Island Interscholastic Federation 3 mile cross country meet on Ka Makani home turf.
Leading the way for the Warriors was Jackson Halford while HPA had Emily Evans in the front of the girl’s completion.
Halford needed a late kick at the finish line to hold off a feisty Andrew Langtry from St. Joseph.
Both boys have exchanged BIIF victories during the season with each winning two meets.
“Andrew (Langtry) really pushed me hard today and I ran a lot faster than I would have if I ran on my own,” Halford said.
Halford led for most of the race before being challenged by a gusty Langtry in the final 150 yards of the race.
“He had me worried and he put up a great fight,” Halford said of his opponent. “I had no idea he has such an awesome kick and it caused me to dig deeper for that little extra effort that made the difference.”
Halford won in a time of 18 minutes and 27 seconds, just .27 of a second ahead of Langtry.
“Jackson did great and I feel great because I was able to push him the entire way,” Langtry said after the race.
Langtry allowed Halford to keep the lead for most of the race saying it was part of his strategy.
“I wanted to draft off him, and it was actually fun to do that,” Langtry said. “I waited until the flat straight away to do my kick, but it was probably too late as I should have started the kick earlier.”
Parkers Paul Gregg surprised the crowd by taking third with Makua Lani’s Brandt Mabuni sneaking into a season high fifth place.
“I was more focused today than I’ve been the entire season,” Gregg said. “My mental drive was better and I didn’t think about most of the people in the race and just tried to run my own race.”
For Mabuni, a senior, doing his final race at HPA of his four year harrier career may have made the difference.
“I decided to run for a greater cause,” he said. “I ran in appreciation for all that I have and I’m hoping that today’s success is something I can build upon for the rest of my life.”
Absent from the top five leader board was Kamehameha’s Shawn Correa Doll.
“We tried something different today and asked Shawn to run with our teams pack,” Coach Ryan Cabalse said.
“Shawn has been injured for the past couple of weeks, so we asked him to relax during the first two miles and open up during the last mile,” Cabalse said. “We want him to be ready for the BIIF championships and we didn’t want him to push too hard today.”
Waiakea won the team scoring with 69 points over a newly awakened and more focused Parker team with 98.
In the girls race it was HPA dominating from start to finish with their third different runner winning the overall individual honors.
A smiling, jubilant, and what might have appeared to be happy carefree, Emily Evans, claimed her first victory in her young prep career.
“It was all about fun today,” Evans said of her smiling during the entire race. “I was feeling good and I believe that we should be here to have fun or we shouldn’t be running.”
Evans was in eighth place at the halfway point in the race before passing runners going up the second and final steep hill in the back slopes of the HPA campus.
“I wasn’t thinking about winning and just tried to run my hardest, like I do in every race,” Evans said.
In second place was Ka Makani harrier Zoe Sims, who is making a comeback from an early season injury which saw her sit out for four weeks.
“I’m happy to be running again,” Sims said. “I just wanted to run hard and have fun which is something the entire teams believes in.”
Sims held the lead for just past the half way mark with a host of other Ka Makani in hot pursuit.
HPA nearly had a perfect score, which is only accomplished in cross country when a team takes the top five spots. But Waiakea’s Kelsie Kobayashi prevented Ka Makani harriers from the 15 point victory by claiming the fifth spot.
“I never thought about team scoring during the race,” Kobayashi said. “I was just trying to run my best and to get use to the elevation.”
HPA coach Michael Franklin was impressed in seeing a fifth different girl in five weeks win top horrors for the league.
“Five winners in five weeks that’s the way it should be,” Franklin said. “It’s good for cross country supporters and it’s good for the BIIF.”
Franklin also spoke about his decision to keep Sims out of competition for four weeks.
“Zoe stayed in shape by doing pool workouts and by riding the bike,” Coach Franklin said.
“We saved her from possible further injury so that she can be happy and healthy and be able to run and win races when she’s 60 years old,” he said.
When told about Coach Franklin’s saving her so that she can be running well into her 60’s Sims replied, “I expect to be running well into my 90’’s.”
“We don’t have any stars on this team,” Franklin said. “We believe in team and the girls believe in that concept and that is why we are where we are.”
The BIIF season continues on Saturday, Oct. 8, with an all-schools meet at Kamehameha starting at 2:30 pm with the boy’s 3 mile race followed by the girls 3 miler.
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