Parker’s Gregg and HPA’s Sims top BIIF cross country leader board
WAIMEA – There is no place like home and in Big Island Interscholastic Federation cross country nothing could be closer to the truth than running in the rolling hills of Waimea
The BIIF continued their regular season cross country with an all schools meet on the campus of Hawaii Preparatory Academy with the Lady Ka Makani dominating in team scoring.
In the girls race the top BIIF finisher was Ka Makani Zoe Sims and for the boys the league’s top finisher was Parker’s Paul Gregg.
There were 7 off island schools that came over to run the state course, according to HPA Athletic Director Stephen Perry.
The schools making the trip were Baldwin (Maui), Campbell, Hawaii Baptists Academy, Iolani, Nanakuli, Pearl City and St. Louis so Perry decided to run 4 races which included 2 races for the open division.
“We had 17 girls’ teams and 21 boy’s teams,” Perry said.
The girl’s race saw a freshman from Kamehameha-Kapalama win the difficult 3 mile course, Hennessey Ellis in 20 minutes and 55 seconds.
“We came here to prepare for states,” Ellis said. “The course is hard but coaches prepared us well for it and it was a good race today.”
Ellis took the final downhill lead from a pack of Ka Makani lead by the defending BIIF champ Zoe Sims.
“It was really good to have Oahu schools here today,” Sims said. “She (Ellis) ran really well. It was also good to run on our home course as it is nice to have the home crowd as it motivates us to run faster.
Finishing third behind Ellis and Sims was HPA Kristiana Van Pernis in what became a sea of red jerseys to leave little doubt about the team outcome.
“While I am where I want to be at this point of the season there is still room for improvement,” Van Pernis said. It was great to be motivated by her (Ellis) and all the off island schools really motivated me, it was good to see new faces.”
HPA won the girls team title with 29 points followed by Kamehameha-Kapalama with 58 and Pearl City with 94 was in third.
For the girls open HPA continues their dynasty winning the open division with just 19 points with second place Kamehameha-Kapalama 36 and Christian Liberty with 95.
Coach Fred Losano of the Baldwin Bears from the Maui Interscholastic League just brought 3 boys over to HPA to challenge the course.
“I heard they changed the course and they made it more challenging,” he said. “This is a strategic course especially during the full mile uphill because it’s run into the wind.”
The Bears also had a runner that was trying to win it all.
For the boys it was David Clarke a senior from Iolani taking top honors in 18:20.
“This is my first time running on the HPA campus and it’s the toughest course I’d ever run,” Clarke said. “I took the lead on the downhill section of the course around the 2.5 mile mark from James (Pearson) and was never seriously challenged after that.”
Pearson, from Baldwin, is one of the top contenders for the state title and he learned a lot from running on the course.
“I tried to challenge the course and I went out fast and had the lead for awhile until Iolani (Clarke) took over with about half a mile to go,” Pearson said.
While several off island schools were on top of the leader board it was Parker’s Paul Gregg leading the way for all BIIF runners.
“It was hot but it felt good,” Gregg said. “I guess now the targets on my back?”
Gregg came in at 6th place overall but likes where he is at during this part of the season.
“I felt fatigued and dizzy at the end, but I ran my race today,” Gregg said. “I am still confident and I must be the league favorite on this course.”
In the boys team standing it was Iolani taking first with 52 points followed by Pearl City with 75, HBA 91 and HPA with 122.
Iolani Coach Jack Kuo brought 14 boys to the state preview championship course on Friday to get a run in before Saturdays meet.
“It is a tough course with strategic sections in different spots,” Kuo said. “It is one of the toughest courses in the state and it’s hard to find this type of terrain to practice on.”
HPA girls Coach Michael Franklin in his seventh season ask about his girl’s success as the defending state champion.
“We try to have the girls be in the moment and pushing oneself beyond comfort,” Franklin said. “When we speak of fun we mean true joy and freedom.”
The BIIF regular season is next at Kamehameha with an all school meet on Saturday beginning at 3 pm with two 3 mile varsity races on tap.
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