Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Excercise at an early age is the Key to a Healthy, Happy Life

L to R: Kobayashi, Connors, Nishimura-Thornton

I’m a firm believer in physical education of our youth.  While we are in a midst of an obesity crisis in this country, bureaucrats look at trimming the educational budget by taking courses like PE out of our schools.

That is why I am in total support of anything that rewards our youth for being active and in continuous movement.

For the past several years the Big Island Road Runners have been awarding two high school harriers, one boy and one girl, with a $1,000 scholarship to apply towards their college education.

The money was a gift from Richard and Virginia Alderson who wanted to help local cross county and/or track runners who are in financial need.

The Alderson’s, along with Corp Counsel attorney Joe Kamelamela, Department of Education Hilo District Office Resource Teacher Dano Bank and the Big Dog sit on the selection committee that determines who will be the recipient.

“This year we had the most applicants and our decision was very difficult,” Banks said.

After many hours of reviewing the applications the committee decided to give Honokaa’s Robert Connors and Keaau’s Deann Nishimura-Thornton each a $1,000.

“The applicants were all outstanding so we decided to give an additional $500 to Waiakea’s Kelsie Kobayashi,” Richard Alderson said.

All three wowed the selection committee with their years of experience and love for running.

“I started distance running in the fifth grade,” Nishimura-Thornton said.  “My love for running has shaped me to be the person I am today, literally and figuratively.”

Nishimura-Thornton often ran in community events over the past six years and regularly placed in the Big Island Marathon’s 5K races.

“Running is therapeutic and gives me a chance to decompress from my day,” she said.  “The sport has taught me to have confidence in myself.”

While Nishimura-Thornton is one of a long line of Cougar runners to be selected for the
BIRR scholarship over the past several years, Connors becomes the first Dragon to win the award.

“Long distance running has taught me to overcome adversity and has made me mentally strong,” Connors said.

During this year’s Big Island Interscholastic Federation season Connors was bitten on his foot by

a centipede just before the championship race and not wanting to let his team down still ran the race, helping Honokaa to win another team title.

“To me, long distance running is not for the weak minded; it is for those who know what it takes to give it everything you got and more to accomplish your goals,” Connors said.

Connors transferred to Honokaa during his sophomore year and in his attempt to fit in tried some inappropriate classroom behavior.

“I didn’t know many people so I would make jokes in class,” he wrote in his application.  “I had a hard time adjusting to the surrounding and behaviors in class but as my sophomore year ended I decided to make a change.”

In his junior and senior years Connors became a role model that the underclassmen could look up to and as a result he helped put in motion the Honokaa Max Out 212 Degree.

“It primarily works because volunteer upperclassmen choose to sacrifice their lunch recess to help 9th graders feel welcome in high school,” he said.

Besides Nishimura-Thornton and Connors the selection committee wanted to add an additional half scholarship to Waiakea’s Kelsie Kobayashi.

Kobayashi has participated on the Warriors varsity track and cross country teams all four years as one of the top distance runners on the Big Island.

Kobayashi points to the discipline of distance running which helped her to become successful in the classroom.

“I’ve learned discipline, motivation and commitment through my schools career in track and cross country,” she said.  “These traits have encouraged me to integrate the same disciplinary actions into my everyday life.”

Through her four years of prep competition Kobayashi has learned the secret to long distance running.

“Running pushes me beyond reasonable limits of physical endurance and I have realized that the toughest form of competition is self-competition,” she said.  “I am demanding more of myself, battling my own strength, my own body and my own mind.”

Kobayashi has decided to attend the University of Hawaii at Manoa and enter into the nursing program

Nishimura-Thornton plans on attending Northern Arizona University with hopes of majoring in Environmental Science.

Connors has been accepted to Colorado Mesa University where he will major in kinesiology.

“The dedication and commitment to running and staying in shape has influenced me to pursue a career in kinesiology,” he said. 

All three of these young people were on hand Sunday to participate in the Big island Road Runners 5K (3.1 mile) race.  Following the event a formal ceremony took place and each were awarded with their scholarship checks.

The 5K event was won by Chris Gregory in 17 minutes and 27.

“I went to the state track meet yesterday and saw some of them competing,” Gregory said.  “I wanted to come out today in support of them.”

The women’s division saw Kobayashi take first place, even though the gritty senior ran the 3K in the state championships on Friday and Saturday where she finished fourth in the State.

Despite a foot injury Connors also participated in the 5K and the day before helped the Honokaa relay team finish 7th in the State.

“I am very grateful to the Road Runners Club in granting me this scholarship,” Connors said.  “It will go a long way in helping with my college tuition.”

Each of the awardees journey began with their physical education teachers in middle school who provided them with the tools to stay healthy and fit. 

And someday should you happen to see a lifelong runner being gratified by the many successes of young people, remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”


May 14, 2012 Posted by | High School Runners | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Scholarship 5K run/walk on Sunday, May 13, 7:30 am, Coconut Island

The Big Island Road Runners in partnership with Wayne Joseph and Big Dog Productions will be holding its 2012 Scholarship 5K run on Sunday, May 13, 2012.  The run starts and ends at the Moku Ola or Coconut Island Parking Lot.  The run starts at 7:30 am with on-site registration starting at 7:00am 

The run is free and open to the public, however donations to the scholarship fund are greatly appreciated.  This event is a run/walk and all are welcome. 

Each year the Big Island Road Runners awards two promising high school seniors a $1,000.00 scholarship.  This year’s recipients are Keaau’s Deann Nishimura-Thornton and Honokaa’s Robert Connors, full $1000 each and a half scholarship to Waiakea’s Kelsie Kobayashi.

L to R, Big Dog, Connors, Nishimura-Thornton, Kobayashi

The scholarship fund was created through the generous donation from Richard and Virginia Alderson and is sustained through donations from participants and members of the Big Island Road Runners.  There will be post run refreshments.   Any questions can be directed to Steve Pavao at 430-0267

Come out and support our young runners and in the process do a 3.1 mile run/walk and keep yourself healthy.

Congratulations to the Road Runners for once again supporting the youth in our community.

May 10, 2012 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , | 1 Comment

Hawaii Prep girls cross country HHSAA state champions for 2011


“Something special and magical happened today,” Coach Michael Franklin said when learning that his Hawaii Preparatory Academy girls cross country team won the state title.

Ka Makani harriers gave everything they had during the 49th Annual Hawaii High School Athletic Association cross country championships held Saturday at the Kapalua Village Golf Course on Maui.

 “Everything worked out according to how we trained over the years, as we ran as a team and packed our runners together,” Franklin said.

HPA the Big Island Interscholastic Federation team champion went step to step with HHSAA six time defending champion Punahou in what proved to be a run for state bragging rights.

Ka Makani harriers were runner up to Punahou last year, but turned the tables on the Buff and Blue with their pack style running.

HPA had all five girls in the top 9, which saw their lead pack of Kristiana Van Pernis, Mariah Haight,   Zoe Sims, Emily Evans and Kelly Ulrich finish fifth through ninth respectively.

This was Hawaii Preps first girls cross country state title since 1994 when the team was coached by Phil Conley.

“Phil Conley and Stan Shutes have played an important role in the success of this program,” Franklin said.  “Those two coaches established the foundation for what we have today as they instilled the tradition and philosophy behind our success.  I just happened to step into a program that fits my style of coaching.”

Franklin also contributed a huge portion of his team’s ascent to being the best in the state to having the right combination of young runners.

“We have the right group of personalities with great team leadership and really positive attitudes,” Franklin said. “What happened today was very special and magical and I’m very proud of what we did.”

Kelly Ulrich

HPA’s number five runner, Kelly Ulrich, didn’t run on the varsity team last year and was key to the team’s success in winning the team championship by finishing 9th overall this year.

“Our coaches read a poem called ‘Power of the Pack’ and I kept listen to the words in that poem as I wanted to be able to see our top four girls during the race,” Ulrich said.  “I didn’t expect to do as well as I did, but it felt really good to run fast and stay with our pack.”

Kristiana Van Pernis had a 14th place finish last year during state competition and was the first BIIF girl to cross the finish line this season in fifth place overall.

“I felt like I turned my brain off during the race and just focused on running,” Van Pernis said.  “I enjoyed running with my teammates and that’s where all my thoughts went.”

Trying to stay with the HPA pack was Waiakea’s Kelsie Kobayashi who placed 11th overall (the top 20 individual boys and girls received state medals.

“This was a phenomenal season,” Kobayashi said.  “I had my best finish ever in the four years I’ve run states.  I just tried to get out fast and not get boxed in at the beginning of the race.  I used the HPA pack as I was trying to make my way up to them.”

Kobayashi, a senior, was pleased with the outcome.

“I left everything on the course,” she said.  “I kept thinking about what my coach (Rosado) told me early in the season, that cross country doesn’t require a lot of equipment, just a lot of heart.”

Seabury Hall’s Dakota Grossman a sophomore won the individual state title for a second year finishing in a time of 19 minutes 27 seconds

In the boys race it was Waiakea’s Jackson Halford being the first Big Island runner to cross the finish line with St Joseph’s Andrew Langtry close behind.  Halford finished eighth overall in a field of 160 runners, managed to redeem himself after a second place finish during the BIIF championships the week before.

“This race more than made up for my finish at the BIIF championships,” Halford said.

“I beat my personal goal coming into states,” Halford said.  “I was just hoping to come in 10th this year after my 25th place finish last year.”

Halford started out slow during the opening mile of the three mile race and his strategy paid big dividends.

“I knew everyone was going to go out really fast and then die,” Halford said.  “At the first mile marker I was in 40th place and people started falling back.”

Halford a senior believes this was the best race of his four year racing career.

For Langtry who finished tenth overall this was his first opportunity to participate in the state cross country championships.

“It was great and I went out perfectly,” Langtry said.  “I was staying close to Jackson and we helped push each other.  Also having my dad come out to watch the race was something that helped me run well.”

Waiakea boys were the top scoring BIIF team, placing ninth to BIIF champion’s Honokaa tenth place finish.

“I told my guys if they didn’t do well today they’d be walking back to Kahului,” a joking Warrior Coach Rosado said.  “They were a lot more serious and focused today than they were at the BIIF Championships a week ago.”

Leilehua won the boys team title with 55 beating out Maui 63 and Iolani with 74 points.

Other top BIIF finishers placing within the top 100 on Maui were:

Boys: 27) Parker’s Paul Gregg  30) Kamehameha’s Shawn Correa Doll,  45) Honokaa’s Robert Conners, 54) Waiakea’s Ian McQuate  62) Honokaa’s Tony Conners  76) Waiakea’s Robbey Meguro  77) Hilo’s Stephen Hunter  80) Kealakehe’s Luka Walter  84) Kamehameha’s Makaala Cruz  92) Parker’s Jesse Tarnas  94) Honokaa’s Chayce Moniz  96) HPA’s Justin Macy    97) HPA’s Michael Rogerson

Girls:   15) Kealakehe’s Kari Van Mols  26) Hilo’s Carmen Garson-Shumway  30) Hilo’s Satya Ray   35) Kealakehe’s Sydney Kirkhill  38) Makua Lani Joy Choe 45) Makua Lani’s Grace Choe  47) Keaau’s Deann Nishimura-Thornton  53) HPA’s Veronica Ladwig  56) Kamehameha’s Erin Carvalho  61) Konawaena’s Shayli Nakamoto  63) Hilo’s Shalila De Bourmont  66) Kealakehe’s Mika Bettencourt  67) Kamehameha’s Corin Kim  69) HPA’s Cat Bradley  80)  Hilo’s Jordyn Breithbarth   81)  Hilo’s Kaylee Rapoza    82) Keili Dorn Makua Lani  84) Honokaa’s  Hildhang Adams 85) Honokaa’s Elizabeth Aguirre  92) Honokaa’s Kelly Greenwell  93)  Kamehameha’s Mikela Cabel  95) Makua Lani’s Tiffany Nakamura   100) Keaau’s Natalie Hagemann

October 30, 2011 Posted by | High School Runners | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Keaau Athlete, Maka’ala Lum Ho, Remembered

KEAAU – “A mile to remember,” is how Greg Lum Ho explains it.

Lum Ho and over 200 people, some teary eyed, came out on Friday to remember by walking or jogging a mile distance in honor of Maka’ala Lum Ho a Keaau High School 16 year old whose life was abruptly ended on June 6, 2011 in an ocean kayak accident.

“Our run/walk was totally informal today,” Maka’ala’s dad Greg said.  “That’s how Maka would have wanted it to be, so there will be no results, just a time for all of us to reflect on a person that everyone was glad to have as a friend.”

The Lum Ho family attended with mother Imelda and younger brother Kahaku both doing the walk.

“I couldn’t believe when we were told Maka had died,” Kahaku said.  “It wasn’t till we went to the hospital and I saw his body that it hit me, but I tried to be brave and didn’t cry.”

It’s been hard on the Lum Ho family and 9th grader Kahaku is finding it difficult to even talk about the passing of his older brother.

Kahaku, Greg and Imelda Lum Ho

“It wasn’t until some friends started talking about Maka that I broke down and cried,” a teary eyed Kahaku said.  “As the days go by it gets better but I think about him every day.”

The Maka Mile was also a fundraiser for the Cougar cross country team to help defray part of their travel cost to the state championships at the end of October.

The tee shirts that were given out to the participants read “MakaFulu” which the dad had written to include his son’s name along with his best friend’s name, SeFulu Faavae, a Waiakea basketball player.

“I knew Maka since 7th grade,” Faavae said.  “We played together in the Parks and Recreation league and we would talk stories about lots of different things.

“Maka had a way of making people smile and he always knew what to say,” she said.

Maka’ala, which translates into vigilant or watchful, according to the dad, it also means Gregory.

“Maka’s grandfather and I are named Gregory and we wanted to give him the Hawaiian version of the name,” Lum Ho said.

Maka’s mile started and ended on the schools track and weaved its way around the campus; pass the tennis courts and the gymnasium.

The course was designed to pass by the three areas in which Maka’ala lettered in sports for the Cougars: cross country, tennis and basketball.

“Yes, Maka played tennis,” Lum Ho said with a partial grin. 

Lum Ho came up with the concept of remembering his son with a mile run/walk through his deployment to Afghanistan.

“When I was deployed with the 10th Mountain Division we did an annual Mogadishu Mile in honor of the events detailed in Black Hawk Down,” Lum Ho said.  “It is a way for people to remember and this is a way for people to remember Maka’ala in their own way.”

Lum Ho, who is the assistant cross country coach, recalled his son’s love for sports.

“If Maka could run just one mile, he would,” Lum Ho said.  “The distance is something most people can do either by running or by walking and it is not intimidating to those not used to working out.”

While contemplating how he should design the course, Lum Ho took the advice of Cougar head cross country coach, Donna Wong Yuen.

“Donna told me to let Maka’ala guide me in figuring out how to lay out the mile course,” Lum Ho said.  “The route was actually presented to me by Maka’ala as I let him guide my heart.”

“Maka was funny and charismatic,” Coach Wong Yuen said.  “A very talented and gifted athletic that enjoyed talking story more than he did practicing cross country.  That’s why a mile would be something he would be willing to do, quite easily.”

Although the event wasn’t meant to be competitive some high school cross country runners turned it into a race with Waiakea’s Jackson Halford edging out St. Joseph’s Andrew Langtry in a time of 5 minutes 48 seconds.

“I didn’t know Maka personally,” Halford said after the mile run, “but thought I’d come out here and honor another fellow runner.”

The first female across the finish line was a Cougar cross country teammate of Maka, Deann Nishimura-Thornton, in 7:40.

“One mile sounds like Maka,” Nishimura-Thornton said.  “He ran cross country to help him get into shape for basketball and it did help him become a very good player.”

According to Nishimura-Thornton it was Maka’ala’s dream to someday play college ball at North Carolina.

“Maka had a real passion for basketball and it showed when he played,” Nishimura-Thornton said.  “He had a great attitude and always had positive things to say in encouraging his teammates.”

Prior to the event Lum Ho, who is a Staff Sergeant in the Army Reserves, addressed the large crowd with a tearful description of his son.

“I’ve never been known as a person who liked titles,” he said. “But the greatest title that I ever had in the world was being known as Maka’ala’s dad.”

Related link:  https://waynejoseph.wordpress.com/2011/09/17/maka-mile-photos-from-keaau-high-school-on-9-16-11/

September 19, 2011 Posted by | Events | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 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