Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

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

HHSAA raises over $9,500 for Japan

    HHSAA, member leagues raise over $9,500 for Japan

The Hawaii High School Athletic Association and its member schools have raised $9,531 for Japan tsunami relief efforts through a special T-shirt sale at recent spring sporting events.

The fund-raising drive was spearheaded by McKinley High School athletic trainer Tomoki Kanaoka, who designed a white T-shirt with the message “Hang in there, Tohoku, Never give up, Japan,” written in black Japanese characters set against a red rising sun on the front and “WE GOT YOUR BACK” (with red rising suns as the “o’s”) on the back.

“I’m from Japan and I have friends at Sendai University, I know people (affected by the tsunami) personally,” Kanaoka said. “And just in general, as a Japanese (native), I felt I wanted to help them.”

Billy Tee’s, a t-shirt manufacturing company that supplies most of the state tournament souvenir apparel, printed the Japan relief shirts at wholesale cost.

The shirts were sold for $15 each at league sporting events throughout the state in April and May and also at most spring state tournament events on O‘ahu, Maui and the Big Island.

Donation boxes also were set up at each site to accept cash contributions, and athletic trainers from the OIA, Kamehameha-Hawaii and Maryknoll donated their spring state tournament pay to the relief effort.

All of the proceeds – totaling $9,531.81 — will be sent to the American Red Cross to be used for food, medical supplies and other immediate needs in Japan’s tsunami-stricken areas.

The Hawaii High School Athletic Association is comprised of 95 member schools statewide. Its member leagues are the OIA, Big Island Interscholastic Federation, Interscholastic League of Honolulu, Kauai Interscholastic Federation and Maui Interscholastic League.

June 16, 2011 Posted by | Events | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sarah Dvorak rising to the top in Junior Tennis

Sarah Dvorak, left, and Sarah Kukino

Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams are two of the most dominate players in the world of tennis and a youngster from Waiakea is also dominating her competition here on the Big Island.

Hilo tennis sensation Sarah Dvorak just keeps on winning.  The 14 year old who just entered the 9th grade at Waiakea High continues to turn heads while keeping her opponents off balance.

Dvorak recently won two tournaments, playing at the 18 year old division and defeated #1 ranked Sarah Kukino, not once but twice in straight sets.  During the Hawaii State Junior Championships, from August 12 – 15 Dvorak matched up with Kukino in the girl’s 18 championships, winning 6-1, 6-4.

A month later, Sept 3-6, it was again the #2 seed, Dvorak, this time playing for the Hilo Fall Junior Sectional Championship against #1 seed Kukino with similar results.  The Waiakea freshman beat the Kauai senior in straight sets 6-4, 6-4.

The Hilo Junior Tennis Club hosted the four day tournament which saw play at both the Waiakea High courts and the Edith Kanaka’ole Tennis Stadium in Hilo.  Director of the Sectional Championships, Michael Miyahira, had praise for the young Dvorak.

“Sarah (Dvorak) is very strong,” Miyahira said.  “She is a very good player and we look forward to seeing her play in future tournaments.”

Dvorak’s victories over Kukino were huge accomplishments as Kukino is the defending Kauai Interscholastic Federation individual champion and the Hawaii High School Athletic Association’s 2010 state runner-up.

Kukino’s only loss during the 2010 prep tennis season came at the hands of the eventual state champion, Kealakehe’s Sayo Tsukumoto. 

Tsukumoto’s only loss last year came at the hands of Dvorak in a United States Tennis Association sanction tournament.  Tsukumoto was a senior in high school at the time while Dvorak was in the 8th grade at Waiakea Intermediate School.

“I play an aggressive base line game using a short ball attack,” Dvorak said.  “I’m still working on my serve as it needs more spin and more kick so that I can get a better bounce on my ball.”

Dvorak has been cross training with Robin Takahashi since the fourth grade as they work on variety of skills to promote strength and endurance.

“We (Takahashi) do suicides and we use the medicine ball.  He gets me to work on my legs and recently has placed more emphasis on my upper body,” Dvorak said.

Dvorak also heads to Kona on a regular bases and uses the coaching skills of Evan Schermer to develop into a formidable tennis player.  “Coach Evan and I have been working together since sixth grade and I owe a lot of where I am today to him,” she said.

“Sarah’s (Dvorak) huge serve overwhelms the girls in Hawaii,” Coach Schermer said.  “She is a lefty that has a 105 mile per hour first serve.  She reminds me of Rafael Nadel, another lefty with a powerful serve.”

Schermer believes that Dvorak has the capability to become a four time high school tennis champion.  “Sarah just dominates the girls she plays and is reminiscent of the domination Serena Williams has in playing her opponents.”

Dvorak is currently ranked by www.tennisrecruiting.net  as the number 59th incoming freshman in the nation, but Schermer believes that she will move much higher in the national rankings in the next two years.

“Sarah is already one of the top prospects in the country,” Schermer said.  “With more national exposure I believe we’ll see Sarah ranked in the top 10 in the nation by her junior year in high school.”

Despite winning her last two tournaments in the 18 year old division Dvorak still sees a lot of work ahead.

“I need to work on everything,” she said.   “My serves, volleys, and overhand need more work and I can still do better on my footwork.”

The Warrior freshman contributes much of her demanding schedule to effective time management.  “I have to juggle school, practice and home activities and I have learned to manage my time well,” she said.

“I’ll practice with players that are better than I am, usually boys or adult men, so that I can react to the big serves and make solid returns.  When Zandrix (Acob) was here I would practice regularly with him,” Dvorak said.  (Acob is another 14 year and is ranked as the #3 player in the USAT Hawaii Pacific Section 18 year old division).

Due to Dvorak’s financial inability to play regularly on the USAT Hawaii Pacific Sectional circuit she remains ranked as the #2 player in the state at the 18 year old division with Kukino retaining the #1 state ranking.

“My parents are sending my older sister, Joyce, to college at Seattle University so I’m not able to afford to play in all the tennis tournaments throughout the state,” Dvorak sad.

“I’d like to be able to play in more local tournaments and to participate at the Winter Nationals at the Copper Bowl in Tucson, Arizona,” Dvorak said.  “But my families limited financial resources place a limit on the amount of competitive tournaments that I can play.”

September 22, 2010 Posted by | Junior Tennis | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

HHSAA Championship Tennis Results from Day 1

  • The Draws – May 6, 2010 after Round of 16 
  • First Round Results 
  • Round of 16 Results 
  • Team Standings – Round of 16 
  • HHSAA Member Abbreviations
  • May 6, 2010 Posted by | tennis | , , , | Leave a comment

    HHSAA Cross-Country Photo’s ’09

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    Coach Ross and the Molokai Farmers

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    click to enlargePunahou

                  
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    Punahou boys placed second

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    Kamehameha boys & girls team

        
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    Pearl City cross-country

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    HPA girls #4 in state

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    Waiakea girls

    November 2, 2009 Posted by | Events, High School Runners | , , | 1 Comment