Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Parker Bulls Cross Country a Team to Watch in BIIF Competition

Parker cross country team 2011

The Parker Bulls boys cross country team was the surprise of 2010 as their team got one of the automatic births to the big dance HHSAA championships.

Under Coach and Athletic Director Ceri Whitfield the Bulls have several talented runners and is a threat to capture another birth to the state championships in 2011.
Coach Whitfield has done a terrific job but if they repeat this year it won’t be a surprise.
Jesse Tarnas leads the Bulls through the Big Island Interscholastic season, but as all good coaches know it takes five to score well.
click photo to enlarge

September 9, 2011 Posted by | High School Runners | , , , | Leave a comment

Lady Ka Makani looking to continue BIIF Cross Country Dynasty

Lady harriers from Hawaii Prep

The Hawaii Prep girls cross country program doesn’t don Yankee pinstripes, it doesn’t channel Celtic pride and it’s never celebrated their victories with the Lambeau leap.  But in its own realm, Ka Makani wahine are every bit as dominant.

Since 1980 the ladies from Hawaii Preparatory Academy have dominated the Big Island Interscholastic Federation cross county winning league titles in 27 of the past 31 years, according to Ka Makani athletic director Stephen Perry.

The BIIF cross country season opens this Saturday with the HPA girls team coming in as heavy favorites to win yet another league championship.

Waiakea (1983 & 1991) and Kamehameha (2005 & 2007) were the only other schools to win BIIF girls team titles and HPA looks on track to continue their cross country dominance.

Ka Makani return four of the varsity seven from last year’s league champions with Zoe Sims, Emily Evans, Kristiana Van Pernis and Mariah Haight leading the way.

Head coach Michael Franklin returns at the helm, but down plays his team’s goal of winning another league title.

“Truly, people don’t believe me when I say this, but winning a championship is not one of our goals,” Franklin said.  “Our goals are simple as they come from the basic philosophy that life is more satisfying if one pushes him or herself beyond perceived limits.”

Franklin believes that his harriers need to focus on themselves and their team rather than on trying to win a league championship.

“Focusing on winning a championship would require too much attention on others,” he said.  “We really have a team focus.”

Ka Makani girls finished second in the state last season and this year is considered the team to challenge Punahou again for the Hawaii High School Athletic Association title.

“This is the strongest team that I have yet coached at HPA,” Franklin said.  “That does not mean that it is the fastest team.  It is the strongest because of its unified spirit and unanimous love for the running lifestyle.  Whether we win or lose races, this team’s attitude makes it exceptional.”

Gunning for the girl’s title will be the Warriors of Kamehameha as Coach Joel Truesdell return five of his top seven girls.

“This is the first time since we last won the BIIF championship that we return this many varsity starters,” Truesdell said.

Kamehameha returns three girls that were in the top 20 at the BIIF championships last season in Tiana Iwata (12th), Corin Kim (16th) and Erin Carvalho (20th).

“We’ve got some depth on our girl’s squad as we have 8 girls running in the lead pack,” Truesdell said.  “Our goals are the same as last year, to get a full team into states.”

Also shooting to get a full team to qualify for the state championship is Hilo’s veteran coach, Bill McMahon.

“Our top two returning girls are Shalila De Bournmont and Carmen Garson-Shumway,” McMahon said.  “Our boy’s team are all young, but I do have a good sized group.”

Waiakea’s  fastest girl is Kelsie Kobayashi and she will be anchored by Haley Rasse, Vanessa Ignacio, Skye Ombac, and Vandey Okinaka, according to Coach Jordan Rosado.

“We have a large team, with 40 boys and 28 girls,” Rosado said.  “I feel we have as good a chance to compete for the boy’s team title as anyone else, since Honokaa lost some of their best runners to graduation.”

Waiakea will be led by Jackson Halford and Keoni Rice with Ian McQuate, Hajime Hiyano and Dyson Sato providing needed support according to Rosado.

Honokaa, returns as the four time defending league champion, but has some holes to fill from last season.

“Chayce Moniz, Clayton Robinson, Pedro Sanches, Robert Conners, Tony Conners, Riston Matias, Koa Phenice, Sean Quinlan, Justin Warren, and Mason Wilkes are our returners,” Coach Joshua Abner said.

Abner lost three of his seven starters from last year, including two time individual BIIF champion Chris Mosch, which leaves the door open for several teams to vie for the team title.

“Every day is an open tryout for us and every one of these boys are hungry,” Abner said.

Last season’s big surprise came from the boys at Parker School as Coach Ceri Whitfield qualified her team for the HHSAA.

“I feel with the hard work these boys put into their training they have as much chance as any of the other schools to come in first,” Whitfield said.  “They are very committed and positive about their chances this year as they work very hard.”

Leading the way for the Bulls is Jesse Tarnas who will brings a solid core of runners which includes Jesse Tarnas, Paul Gregg, Tyler McCullough, Jess Burns and Evan Kasberg.

Kamehameha boys coach, Ryan Cabalse, has four returnees that made it to the state championships last season in Shawn Correa-Doll, Kaulana Ho, Colton Hill, and Jonah Knell.

“Our boy’s squad has never qualified as a team for states yet, (five from the same team need to qualify to score as a team) but we are hoping to contend for one of the automatic team slots this season,” Cabalse said.

St. Joseph returns one of the best BIIF runners in Andrew Langtry who is expected to challenge for the individual league crown.  Langtry ran in various community races during the off season and was often seen in the top leader board.

Keaau brings 41 boys and 15 girls into competition with returnees Deann Nishimura-Thornton and Natalie Hagemann leading the girls while Jhun-Delle Venture, Davin Alviento, Greg Matias, Arman Navarro and Adrian Martinez headline the boy’s squad, according to Coach Donna Wong Yuen.

Though difficult, we always want to try and qualify a team for states,” Wong Yuen said.  “Our goals are to have fun and improve from last year.”

Christian Liberty Academy doesn’t have any girls on their cross country team but will bring 10 boys to the starting line, according to Coach Frank Grotenhuis.

“Caeden Cambra and Keenen Freitas are the two fastest on the team,” Grotenhuis said.  “We’re looking at having the boys push hard so that they can achieve their personal best.”

The BIIF harriers get off to a running start on Saturday with Grotenhuis as his CLA family playing host to the Canefire Conditioner starting at 10 am on the Keaau campus.

August 25, 2011 Posted by | High School Runners | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

HPA Girls – Honokaa Boys Dominate BIIF Championships

Three times BIIF champions, the powerful Ka Makani ladies

WAIMEA – Déjà vu!  If you were at the Big Island Interscholastic Federation cross country championships on Friday you weren’t having a reoccurring flash back from the past.

What you did see was the running dynasties of a talented Honokaa boys and Hawaii Preparatory Academy girls’ team both win another BIIF team crown.

Honokaa’s Chris Mosch led a powerful Dragon squad to their fourth consecutive team title and Mosch has the bragging rights to being the only member of the squad to pocket four BIIF medals.

“I feel good and well rested today,” Mosch said before the race.  “I’m out here to run my own race and to run as fast as I can.  I feel a little pressure, but confident that things will go well.”

Chris Mosch

On Friday Mosch went out quickly and took a commanding lead to also grab his second consecutive individual title on the hilly foothills of HPA’s sprawling campus. 

“The pace of the race was really fast as Jesse (Tarnas from Parker) and the CLA kid (Jordan Grotenhuis) went out quick and me and Josh (Robinson) stayed back during the first half mile,” Mosch said.

Dragon teammates, Mosch and Robinson began to separate from the rest of the field after climbing HPA’s first steep hill.

“On the second trip over the large hill my dad yelled at me that I had a 30 to 40 yard lead over Josh,” Mosch said.

Mosch won the race in 17 minutes and 37 seconds with Robinson 10 seconds behind.  The real surprise came when Dragon teammate Chayce Moniz finished third overall.

“My goal going into the race was to stay with Chris (Mosch) for as long as I could and to keep him in range,” Robinson said.  “I was shooting to win the race, but if anyone was going to beat me it was going to be Chris.”

For Moniz this was a dream race come true.

“We bet our science teach, Mr. Dan Whetstone, that if we finished one, two, three that he would shave his head,” Moniz said.  “Looks like we’re going to have a bald teacher at school on Monday!”

The Honokaa boy’s team ran away from the rest of the BIIF schools scoring just 26 points in route to their 4th title.  Brothers Robert (10th) and Tony Connors (12th) rounded out the team scoring for the Dragons.

Honokaa head coach, Josh Abner, had high praise for his high flying Dragons.

“I like to think that we have a bunch of hard working people,” Abner said.  “This is a dynamic group of amazing kids and each one has a special place in my heart.”

Parker Coach Ceri Whitfield

Another surprise came when Parker School finished second in the team scoring which will allows their entire boys team to run at the HHSAA championships on Oahu.

“This is the most incredible thing I’ve ever done,” Parker Coach Ceri Whitfield said.  “We really worked very hard and I am one proud coach.  We knew we were improving each week and we put the challenge out to the boys.”

In the girl’s team and individual competition it was all HPA dominating from start to finish.

Ka Makani Kela Vargas, Zoe Sims, Emily Evans and Kristiana Van Pernis ran away from the rest of the field taking the top four overall places with teammates Mariah Haight, Sam Neal and Hana Scully finishing 7th through 9th respectively.

HPA won their third consecutive team title and fourth out of the last five years under head coach, Michael Franklin.

“This is what I expected today from our team,” Franklin said.  “They overwhelmed me as individuals and I’m very proud of them.”

“My goal was to just go out and help my teammates,” Kela Vargas said after winning the individual BIIF crown.  “We try to push each other and we don’t want to disappoint each other so we just try to run our hardest.”

BIIF runner up, Zoe Sims, also had high praise for her team saying, “We’ve grown a lot as a team and we love each other so much that we did it for our team.”

Tia Greenwell

The girl’s race started with Honokaa’s three times defending BIIF champion, Tialana Greenwell, going out fast and pushing the pace.

“I came into the race feeling confident and I wanted to get away from the pack early on,” Greenwell said.  “But Zoe (Sims) and Kela (Vargas) kept up with me and eventually passed me.”

Greenwell, who had been hampered by nagging injuries, had her best race of the season and finished fifth overall.

“I’m happy that I finished in the top five and I hope this will carry over to states next week,” she said.

Greenwell and Waiakea’s Kelsie Kobayashi were the only BIIF runners to infiltrate a powerful onslaught by Ka Makani harriers, with the Warrior taking sixth overall.

“I wasn’t happy with today’s race as I thought I could have done better,” Kobayashi said.  “I was hoping to break into the top three, but I just couldn’t keep up with the HPA girls.”

The Honokaa girls, like the Parker boys, surprised everyone with their second place team finish which allows the entire seven person squad to run at the state championships on Thursday, Oct 28th.

“We were shooting for a second place team finish,” Honokaa Coach Abner said.  “This was a hell of an accomplishment and our highest team finish all season.”

Joining the top two boys and girls teams going to the state championships the BIIF also sends the top 23 individual boys and 22 individual girls.

October 23, 2010 Posted by | High School Runners | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment