Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

HPA’s Scully & Keaau’s Barroga winners of Running Scholarship

Scully and Barroga

Nothing gives me greater pleaser than to see young people enjoying life through sports participation.

Over the years I’ve seen Big Island high school sports enjoy an explosion in participation, especially in cross country and track & field.

Six years ago Richard and Virginia Alderson of Hakalau provided the Big Island Road Runners with a large monetary donation with the expectation that each year the club would award $1,000 to one male and one female senior that was headed to college.

The main stipulation for receiving the scholarship award was that each applicant needed to be a runner and through writing a 300 word essay convey their love and passion for the sport.

The Alderson’s, along with BIRR treasurer Dano Banks, and the County’s Deputy Corporation Counsel Joseph Kamelamela join with scholarship chair Big Dog to look through the dozens of applications.

Prior to looking over the essays the scholarship chairman will remove the names and schools from the paperwork so that none of the member knows the identity of those who apply.  The chair does not vote except in instances of a tie.

The 2011 selections are Keaau’s Rogelio Barroga and Hawaii Preparatory Academy’s Hana Scully.

Barroga will be attending Northern Arizona University while Scully is heading to the University of Hawaii, Manoa campus.

Barroga’s running life started when he was in the sixth grade at Keaau Middle School and he credits his physical education teacher with introducing him to the sport.

“Running was very foreign to me when I entered middle school,” Barroga said.  “I was just another average, anti-social student before I joined the P&R track and field team and I credit that as the dramatic turning point in my life.”

Barroga credits the positive role model P.E. teacher for turning him into the positive and uplifting individual that he has now become.

“I used to be a follower, not a leader,” he said.  “I had low self esteem, but that all changed when I became part of a team as my PE teacher encouraged me to take my middle school running to a whole new level by continuing the sport into high school.”

Barroga took her advice and walked on to the cross country team in his freshman year at Keaau, then joined track & field and even went on to participate in volleyball.

Scully has also been a part of the Ka Makani championship cross country and track & field teams as she also participates in cheerleading and paddling at the high school level.

“All I could hear was the crowd cheering ‘Go Hana’!” Unfortunately, everything I could see was spinning.  I knew it was happening again; my telling me to slow down.  I didn’t listen.  My competitiveness and determination took over and I won the race.  Even though it was the end of my 400-meter dash, it was the beginning of an unexpected journey,” wrote Hana Scully in her essay.

Scully was describing her irregular and slow heart rate that caused her to be connected to a heart monitor in the hospital with a cardiologist giving her the news shortly after that 400 meter race in 2009.

“My biggest fear that day was that I might not be able to participate in school sports,” Scully said.  “I wasn’t going to let this challenge slow me down, but instead make me stronger.”

Scully, of course, is up and running and doing her best in helping to lead the Ka Makani to a team title in track & field last week.

“A heart can do many things,” she said.  “Mine radiates love, health, strength, compassion, and happiness.  I can most clearly feel mine with each beat as I sprint down the track or weave through the trails.  Of all my many blessing I am so thankful I can still relish the joy of running.

Both Barroga and Scully have been supporters of the BIRR over the years and have participated in many of its events.

Barroga is often found doing most of the 5K (3.1 mile) community races hosted on the East side of the island.

Recently, Barroga, participated in the Big Island International Marathon’s 5K race, and then stayed for several hours after the race to help volunteers with a variety of tasks.

“We should all help as much as we can in making for a nice community,” Barroga said.  “It is all part of what we learn in school in helping to make this a better place.”

“I have been a strong supporter of the Big Island Road Runner’s Program, always trying my best to participate in every fun run they put on for the community,” Scully said.  “By receiving this scholarship, I will be one step closer in turning my dreams into reality.  College isn’t getting any cheaper and with this added money I will be a thousand dollars less from taking out a loan.”

Both Barroga and Scully will be honored by the BIRR on Sunday, May 15, with a 5K run/walk starting at Coconut Island at 7:30 am.  There is no entry fee and the public is encouraged to come out and participate.

Post race snack will be provided and a formal awards ceremony will be presented by BIRR president, Alan Ryan.  For more information go to www.bigislandroadrunners.org or call 969-7400.

And someday should you happen to see a happy, healthy runner come jogging through the side roads of East Hawai’i remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”

Email the Big Dog at waiakeabigdog@aol.com.

May 9, 2011 Posted by | Profiles, Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

HPA Girls Dominate BIIF All-Star Teams

Ka Makani ladies and coaches best in BIIF

All-BIIF Cross Country              GIRLS       First team                Name – Grade – School
Kela Vargas Sr. Hawaii Prep
Zoe Sims So. Hawaii Prep                                      Emily Evans So. Hawaii Prep
Kristiana Van Pernis Fr. Hawaii Prep               Tialana Greenwell Sr. Honokaa
Kelsie Kobayashi Jr. Waiakea                               Mariah Haight Fr. Hawaii Prep

Second team    Name – Grade – School

Sam Neal Sr. Hawaii Prep                 Hana Scully Sr. Hawaii Prep
Grace Choe Jr. Makua Lani               Allie Shiraki Fr. Honokaa
Tiana Iwata Fr. Kamehameha        Jessica Busek Jr. Waiakea
Carmen Garson-Shumway Fr. Hilo
Honorable mention: Hildang Adona (Honokaa); Angela Ames (Ka’u); Monica Carlos (Honokaa); Erin Carvalho (Kamehameha-Hawaii); Joy Choe (Makua Lani); Brandy Eder (Ka’u); Natalie Hagemann (Keaau); Corin Kim (Kamehameha-Hawaii); Lexi Mabuni (Makua Lani); Chloe Martins-Keliihoomalu (Kamehameha-Hawaii); Leah Mello-Waiwaiole (Ka’u); Tiffany Nakamura (Makua Lani); Deann Nishimura-Thornton (Keaau); Vandey Okinaka (Waiakea); Skye Ombac (Waiakea); Kara Paulachak (Waiakea)

COACH OF THE YEAR: Michael Franklin (Hawaii Prep)

November 4, 2010 Posted by | High School Runners | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hawaii Prep Girls to make run at HHSAA Championship Title

HPA’s Zoe Sims & Kela Vargas – photo by Patrick O’Leary

It has been more than a decade since a Big Island school has won a state cross country championship, but come Thursday that may all change.

The Hawaii High School Athletic Association cross country championships will be held on Oct. 28 at the Patsy Mink Central Oahu Regional Park and a very strong Hawaii Preparatory Academy girl’s team has a legitimate chance at winning it all.

Last week the lady Ka Makani won their third consecutive Big Island Interscholastic Federation team title in impressive fashion beating out runner-up Honokaa by more than 70 points.

HPA’s Kela Vargas won the individual title with teammates Zoe Sims, Emily Evans and Kristiana Van Pernis finishing second through fourth respectively while teammates Mariah Haight, Sam Neal and Hanna Scully took the seventh through ninth spots.

“Our success this season was from our focus on team goals instead of individual performances,” HPA Coach Michael Franklin said.  “We will keep that same focus at States.”

HPA is no stranger to runner success as their teams over the past four decades have won numerous state cross country championships.

In 1994 HPA swept the boys and girls state championships under former coaches Karl Honma for the boys and Phil Conley for the girls.

No BIIF team, other than Hawaii Prep, has won a state championship and Honma’s 1995 boys’ team was the last time a Big Island school had taken center stage.

“If we are successful at States, then it is our runners’ love of a challenge that is the key,” Franklin said.

The Punahou girls come into the state championships as the five time defending champion and is considered to be the favorite to win their sixth title, but with HPA’s ability to bunch their runners in the lead pack they are recognized as serious contenders.

Dakota Grossman

Punahou returns sophomore Elli Brady who won the state individual championship as a freshman, but it is another freshman, Dakota Grossman of Seabury, Maui, that is the favorite to win the state crown.

“I hope we can make the top five again this year,” said a humble Franklin.  “Punahou is the obvious favorite, but magical things can occur on race day.  As usual, we will run together and we will embrace the challenge.”

Vying for the boy’s state team title is defending champion Kamehameha-Oahu and the 2007 and ’08 champions Leilehua along with a talented Iolani squad.

Four time boys BIIF team champion, Honokaa, is expected to improve on their fifth place finish from last year.

Coach Abner

“Kamehameha, Iolani and Leilehua will score well, but with all the individuals busting up the top runners who knows how the cards will fall,” Dragon Coach Josh Abner said.

During the BIIF championships Honokaa claimed the top individual spots with Chris Mosch successfully defending his title and teammates Joshua Robinson and Chayce Moniz following close behind.

If their top three runners can break into the top 20 at the state championships, while keeping their fourth and fifth runners close behind, then anything is possible.

“I often talk about how anything can happen on any given day and with that mentality any day can be the Dragons day,” Abner said.

Leilehua’s Margarito Martinez is the defending state champion and will get a stiff challenge from Pierce Murphy of Island School from Kauai for the individual crown.

Mosch, an experienced senior, is expected to be somewhere in the top five and if the rest of the Dragon team stays close to Mosch there could be an upset.

“My highest finish was 14th overall last year,” Mosch said.  “My goal going into this race is to finish within the top five and my plan is to stay with Iolani’s Troy Esaki, Leilehua’s Dylan Martinez and Mid Pac’s Ryan Hobson during the race.”

Earlier this year Mosch ran on Oahu at the HHSAA site during the Kaiser Invitational and learned a lot from the experience.

“What I learned from the Kaiser Meet is that a lot of people go out too hard and burn out, so I’m going to try to run under control during the first mile and not get too crazy,” he said.

Honokaa’s best team finish, fourth, came when Mosch was a freshman and the upper classman now thinks of improving on that placement.

“I think we can make it into the top three on a good day,” Mosch said. 

“This is more than trying to win championships,” Abner said.  “When Dragons are ready to leave the program I hope they’ve learned that hard work and big goals bring the biggest prizes in life.”

The HHSAA championships was moved from a Friday to Thursday because of a County Furlough Day, according to HPA Athletic Director and BIIF cross country coordinator.

“My understanding is that CORP is a county facility on Oahu and HHSAA made the final decision,” Perry said.

October 27, 2010 Posted by | High School Runners | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

BIIF Royality Returns to the Track

King of the Hurdles, Jacob Edwards

   The reigning King and Queen of prep track and field will step onto the all-weather oval this weekend when the Big Island Interscholastic Federation holds their season openers at Kamehameha-Keaau and Konawaena.

   Kau’s Jacob Edwards and Hawaii Prep’s Ku’uipo Nakoa return to the track for their senior season as the 2009 male and female athletes of the year, respectively.

   Last year Edwards won individual honors during the BIIF championships in the 110 and 300 meter hurdles and the triple jump while placing second in the long jump and fourth in the 200-meter dash to single handedly score 42 points for the Trojans.

   Edwards went on to win the Hawaii High School Athletic Association state championships in the 110 and 300-meter hurdles and placed fifth in the triple jump.  For his efforts Edwards was selected as the Gatorade boy’s track and field athlete of the year for the State of Hawaii.

   “I plan on coming out like a rocket again this year,” Edwards said of the upcoming season. “I’ve conditioned during the off season by running cross-country and I spent a lot of time strength training so I’m excited about starting the season.”

   Despite not having a track to practice on at Kau, Edwards has managed to excel at just about everything he has entered.  This season Kau’s long jump pit is under construction and Trojan coach Bob Martin drove Edwards to Kamehameha one day during Spring Break to practice at the Warriors field.

   “I’ve set a lot of goals for myself in my senior season,” Edwards said while practicing at Kamehameha.  “Once the season gets underway we’ll see what happens.”

Queen of the Jumps, Ku’uipo Nakoa

Nakoa won the 200 dash, long and triple jumps and placed second in the 100-meter dash and scored 38 individual points and helped HPA finish first in the 1,600 relay and second in the 400 relay. 

   At the state championships Nakoa won the long jump, but it was a bitter sweet victory as she injured herself on the final jump and never totally recovered to do her remaining events.

  “I was leading the long jump after my second try and my coach told me not to do a third jump, but I did anyway and that’s when I injured myself,” Nakoa said.  “I went on to finish third in the triple and sixth in the 100.”

  This year Nakoa comes in with a different attitude and the confidence that she can go further than in the past.

  “In the past I’ve only really been focused on BIIF’s,” she said.  “This year I want to place my focus on how far I can go at states.   I plan on blocking everything out and concentrate on jumps while focusing on running the 400.”

  Currently HPA is putting in a new all weather track which won’t be completed until the fall so Ka Makani athletes are training on makeshift areas and making do with what they have.

  “My sprint coach, Brad Lau, is really helping me out as we’re looking for different places to do our workouts which have included running in the pastures and at the beach on the sand,” Nakoa said.

   Waiakea’s Kaimi Scott returns for Waiakea as the defending 200 and 400-meter champion and looks to improve on his times this year.

   “I’m focusing more on my form which will help me get faster,” he said.  “The 200 is my strength, but I like running the 400 as well.”

   The Waiakea boys are the two time BIFF 1600 relay champions and look to defend their title with a strong returning sprint core with the return of Owen Cooper, Travis Winters and Jacob St. George. 

  Last year three BIIF freshmen won individual titles with Keaau’s Randi Estrada winning the girls 400-meters and later took third place at the state championships.  Hilo’s Shina Chung won the BIIF pole vault title and HPA’s Shane Brostek won the boys shot event.

   Hilo High is the defending boy’s team champion winning last season by more than 60 points with Viking coach Bill McMahon winning his 18th team title (boys and girls combined) during his 19 years at the helm.

   “I got some numbers this year, but most of the team is real green,” McMahon said.  “We’re just going to have to see what happens as the season progresses.”

   The Kamehameha girl’s team beat out a tough HPA squad to claim the title and another showdown between the two schools looks to be brewing once again this year.

   “We are trying to keep the ball rolling,” Kamehameha coach Kimo Weaver said.  “Our team goals are to better our times/marks each week, be in contention for the league title and improve on our number of state qualifiers.”

   The Warrior girls will again face stiff opposition from a large and talented HPA squad for this year’s team title.

   “We are stocked with good freshman distance runners, most from the BIIF girl’s champion cross-country team,” HPA coach Pat Lau said.  “We have roughly 85 athletes on the track team and 61 are girls.”

   Other top returning BIIF track & field athletes to watch this season are:

Hilo:  Cameron Calistro, hurdles, Shalila De Bourmont, distance.

Honokaa: Tialana Greenwell, Athena Oldfather, Chris Mosch, and Joshua Robinson distance.

HPA: Hanna Scully, sprints, Kela Vargas, distance, Sydney Budde, pole vault, Lana Queen, hurdles & jumps, Mindy Campbell, high jump and Tyler Tsubota, distance.

Kamehameha: ‘Io Heaukulani, sprints & high jump; Kaopuanani Sutton, throws; Bronte Kaneakua, sprints; Natasha Ah Chong; Hiilani Evans-Bautista jumps; Corin Kim, mid distance; Manta Dirks jumps, and Kaenan Akau, sprints & jumps; Maka McKee hurdles.

Keaau: Daniel Brooks, mid distance, Jesse Huihui, sprints and jumps.

Kealakehe:  Walter Luca, mid distance.

Kohala:  Ethan Meikle, high jump.

Waiakea: Kaitlyn Chock mid distance and Erika Cushnie, high jump.

The BIIF Track & Field season kicks off on Saturday, March 27, with East/West meets at Kamehameha-Keaau and Konawaena starting at 9 am.

March 25, 2010 Posted by | High School Track & Field, Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments