Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

UHH X-C Invite a Homecoming for some

Karl Honma

Naniloa Driving Range – There were no golf balls being hits at the Naniloa Driving Range on Saturday as members of the Pac West cross country were running a three mile course and doing loops on the flat, all grass surface as the University of Hawaii at Hilo held their annual Invitational.

While the ladies from UHH were finishing in fourth place out of four scoring teams there was a pair of Big Island Interscholastic Federation coaches leaving their mark at the Invite.

Karl Honma a long time Hawaii Preparatory Academy coach was on hand leading the Hawaii Pacific University women to a team victory.

“I was at HPA for 17 seasons and this is the 20th anniversary of the Ka Makani boys winning a state championship,” Honma said.

Honma who now works with the HPU girls was quick to point out that he is only a letter away from his former school.

“There is no place like being on the Big Island ‘’,” Honma said. 

Polina Babkina from HPU won the 3 miler in 18:12 from Russia via West Alabama.

“This is my second month in the Pac West and I wish there was more competition,” she said.  “I hit all of my splits and I had to push myself.”

HPU won the girls team scoring with 24 points followed by Bingham Young University with 44, Chaminade with 80 and UHH 84.


Leading the way for the Vulcan women was Nadia Ramirez in 8th place overall (19:48), Keri Fijiwara 15th place (20:51), Jordan Bledsoe 16th (21:11), Justina Wood 22 (23:49) and Hillary Ramos 23 (26:39).

There were a total of 24 girls running in the race.

Ramirez, a 2011 graduate of Hilo High has led the team posting the fastest times and claims to have “a love hate relationship with running.”

“Coach Jaime doesn’t let me quit and he pushes me,” she said.

With a bare bones budget which doesn’t allow for scholarships Coach Guerpo has raised only enough funds for travel for the Lady Vuls which makes it difficult to compete against other schools in the PacWest.

“Next season we’ll have a limited scholarship budget which means I can go out and recruit some runners,” Guerpo said.

For the men it was Spencer DeAvilla from BYUH winning again this year in a time of 15:48.

It wasn’t as easy for DeAvilla this time around as he was chased by Jorge Cisneros from Chaminade in what was a near photo finish.  Both men clocked in at 15:48.

DeAvilla, a senior, took the early lead just 100 meters into the race.

“I probably went out too fast, but the course was flat with no hills and the weather was ideal,” he said.  “I love coming to Hilo and I love this course.”

DeAvilla kept a modest lead throughout the race before Cisneros made his move.

“In the closing parts of the race I became a little worried,” DeAvilla said.  “It’s a good thing we practiced speed work during the week.”

BYUH won the team scoring with 23 points to the HPU men with 49 and Chaminade had 63.

It made it a clean sweep for former BIIF Coaches as Norman Kaluhiokalani of BYUH is a former Kau coach from 1971 to 1973.

“I’ve been at BYUH since 1973, some 39 years and I’ve been very blessed to have produced many men’s and women’s team champions while being there,” he said.  “Coach Jaime really has done a lot to improve this course over the years.”

For Coach Guerpo hosting a race is a good opportunity to showcase Hilo to the rest of the conference.

“I love planning and hosting a PacWest meet,” he said.  “It’s a good course and I get lots of positive feedback from the rest of the runners and coaches in the conference.”

Guerpo gave lots of credit to his timing crew and support staff for making it all possible.

“Howard Meguro let us run on the driving range and even practice on it,” Guerpo said.

Due to the low impact on the muscles some teams, such as the girls from HPU, decided to run the 3 miles barefooted.

“You can also run it with spikes, flats or in the case of the HPU women even barefooted,” said Guerpo.

This is Guerpo 14th season and his 4th season hosting the Vulcan Invite from the Naniloa Driving Range.

On tap for the Lady Vulcan’s are travel dates on Oct 27 and Regional’s on Nov 3 in which there will be 30 plus schools in competition according to Guerpo.








October 14, 2012 Posted by | collegiate cross country | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vulcan Women Cross Country a New Beginning

L to R:Keri Fujiwara, Justina Wood, Jordan Bledsoe, Jen Lozano, and Britni Napihaa, Not shown Nadia Ramirez.

Nearly two years after the Athletic Department dealt Coach’s Jaime Guerpo severe budget cuts which caused the University of Hawaii at Hilo to eliminate his men’s cross country program the coach is again challenged to keep the women’s program alive.

All scholarships have been eliminated and fundraising for travel expenses has been commonplace.

Such was the case this past Saturday when Guerpo’s women’s team set out to host a 5k fundraiser on the grounds of the Naniloa Golf Course and opened it to the public in an attempt to raise additional revenue in his barebones women’s harrier program.

“We have roughly $15,000 to cover our seven off island trips and some additional funds for miscellaneous items such as warm-up uniforms,” Guerpo said.

Guerpo also has the luxury of offering a couple of scholarships, something that hasn’t happened in the past few years.

“This year we have money for scholarships to maybe get two really good athletes and 4 in-between athletes,” Guerpo said.

Through his efforts in keeping the women’s program together Guerpo has managed to keep a young team intact.

The eldest on the squad is Justina Wood, a senior from Hawaii Preparatory Academy.

Two sophomores in Hilo High School’s Nadia Ramirez and Jordan Bledsoe from Lincoln, Nebraska.   Two freshmen in Keri Fujiwara from Waipahu who was 5th in the State during the finals of the 3K and Britni Napihaa from Kamehameha-Big Island who made the State qualifier in the 800 meter run.

“Britni came out for track in her junior year and ended up running in the high 2:40’s” Joel Truesdell her former prep coach said.  “I believe she should continue to improve under Coach Jaime.   She is extremely coachable and should take a couple of minutes off of her best high school time and continue to improve in the coming years.”

“Right now I am carrying 6 on the team, but I would like to carry 7,” Guerpo said.  “We just acquired Jen Lozano, a senior and she just joined to team today.”  “Nadia was sick for today’s race and we wanted to keep her away from her teammates as not to spread anything around.”

Fujiwara led all Vulcan women

Saturdays 5K was not only to raise additional funds but to see where his women’s team pans out because it served as a time trial under race conditions for his squad.

Coming out on top for the Vulcan ladies was first year collegiate runner Keri Fujiwara who was wearing bright pink shoes.

“I know our girls can run faster,” a humble Fujiwara said.  “I don’t think the color of the shoes had anything to do with it.”

The top prep runner, and leading all women into the finish chute, was Carmen Garson Shumway of Hilo High in a time of 21 minutes 47 seconds.

“It was just a fun race for us girls,” Garson Shumway said.  “I ran together with Mehana the entire way.”  Viking team mate Mehana Sabado-Halpern was close behind Garson Shumway to make it a 1-2 overall finish for the prep stars.

Leading the way for the men and the overall winner was Volcano’s Billy “the Ghost” Barnett in 17:07.  Barnett is undefeated in local competition dating back to 2009 and is considered the fastest local runner on the Big Island.

“It’s just to be out here again as doctors told me I’d be out of commission for six months after I fell off my skate board and crack my skull,” Barnett said.

Barnett had swelling and bleeding in the brain and needed to be treated at Queens Hospital on Oahu.

Now just two months after being released from the Hospital he is on the road to recovery and back to his winning ways.

Barnett had his hands full as he was challenged by the two Chris’ in Mosch and Gregory.  Mosch the winner of the EMS 5K and on break from the University of Oregon and Gregory  winner of the Mana 10 miler was prepared to take over the lead when Barnett made a wrong turn on the course.

Ironically Gregory transferred to the UHH program with hopes of being a walk on cross country runner the year that the Vulcan’s dropped the men’s program.

But the wrong turn on the course cost Barnett a few seconds and not enough to take the win away from him.

Coach Guerpo

Guerpo had a successful fundraiser event as more that 100 people came out in support of the Vulcan program.

The Lady Vuls did not wear bib numbers so there weren’t official times for them but Keri Fujiwara was first on the team, followed by Jordan Bledsoe, Justina Wood, Jen Lozano and Britni Napihaa which finished 5th on the team according to Guerpo.

“I thought it was a fun run and I just wanted to run with the team,” Bledsoe said.  “I think I ran about 25 minutes flat.  It looks like we’re going to have a strong team this season and we’ll improve over last season.”

“We didn’t have Nadia (Ramirez) running today and she should be one of our top girls once she is healthy,” Guerpo said.

Ramirez might be the key in the Vulcan’s run for success. 

“She is a strong runner and I’m optimistic we will do well this year,” Bledsoe said.  “We have time trials throughout the season and we know what we are capable of doing.”

“We had a record number of registered participants this year (114),” Guerpo said.  “It seems like each year we keep getting bigger and bigger and we’re very thankful for the public’s support.”

The Lady Vuls open their Pac West season on Sept 1st with a meet hosted by HPU on the grounds of Kualoa Ranch on Oahu.

August 14, 2012 Posted by | collegiate cross country | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Vulcan Cross Country hosting 5K run/1 mile keiki run on August 11

Coach Guerpo

The University of Hawaii Hilo cross country program proudly presents the Vulcan XC 5K run and 1 mile keiki run (14 and under) to be held on the grounds of the Volcano Resort Golf Course of Saturday, August 11 starting at 8 am.

The event will help the cross country team raise funds to continue its participation in the PacWest Conference.

Early entry fee is $20 if received prior to August 6 after that date the entry fee is $25.

Race day registration will be at the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort Golf Club Driving Range from 6:45 to 7:45 am

Visit to Vulcan web site:  www.hiloathletics.com for further information or to download an application or call Coach Jaime Guerpo at (808) 217-5243 or Alan Ryan at 938-5106.

July 28, 2012 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , | Leave a comment

Volunteers make 2012 Big Island Marathon a Huge Success

Sunday concluded the 15th running of the Big Island International Marathon and some of Hilo’s best runners were seen on the road, but weren’t entered in the race.

Local speedsters Keoni Ucker, Nick Hagemann, Zach Johnson, James Imai, Alejandra Sanchez, Krista Andrew, Kelly Rogers and Liliana Desmither got an early start on the race, but never crossed the finish line.

The above mentioned group are all members of the University of Hawaii at Hilo cross country men’s and women’s team and they were doing community service which had them on the roads at 1 am.

“We start at 1 in the morning by laying out the 400 state and county cones to clearly mark the course for the runners,” UHH harrier coach Jaime Guerpo said.

Guerpo and his group of runners are some of the more than 300 volunteers that provide the behind the scenes support that makes for a safe marathon, half marathon and 5K event.

“This is our fifth year that we have helped the Big Island Marathon and it is a gratifying experience for us,” Guerpo said.  “I think it just helps our team bonding and says a lot about my athletes and what we hope to contribute.”

Guerpo’s group will also lay out all the ‘runner on the road’ signs, along with other signs that clearly mark the course.

“We put up flashers on barricades to block off roads in order to send cars one way and to keep the runners safe,” Guerpo said.

At 9 am Guerpo and his athletes will do everything in reverse by picking up the cones and barricades and on Monday morning everything gets returned back to the County and State Highways Division.

Waiakea High School, Key Club, under the direction of Kari Sato also had numerous members spread over 26 miles of the course as they provided the needed liquid (water/Gatorade) to participants in an attempt to avoid serious cases of dehydration.

Sato has been assuming the role of providing the supplies necessary to all 13 aid stations over the past several years as a community service project and her job actually starts on Saturday when leaders of each aid station meets with her to  pick up their supplies.

“We see this as a good service project for all involved,” Sato said.  “It allows our Key clubbers to see, first hand a race up close.”

Also playing a key role are the Kiwanis who course marshal the entire 26 miles of the route.

“This project was taken on by our organization to assist and help the economy,” Roy Kagawa sad.  “The cost of hosting this event and welcoming many runners and guest from all over the world, only gains recognition if the community helps.”

Kiwanis have been helping the BIIM for more than 10 years and they took over the course marshalling of the route six years ago, under the direction of Roy Kagawa.

“The entire service project is our way of contributing and we can involve the entire Kiwanis Family in doing service in one day,” Kagawa said.

Kiwanis International sponsors a global organization in which there is a project called “Kiwanis One Day,” according to Kagawa/

“This is a way we can do our One Day contribution to our community,” Kagawa said.

The Kiwanis Family starts with the parent club, Kiwanis Club of East Hawaii, and they will support other various clubs in the BIIM event such as UHH Circle K. in Hilo, Hilo High Key Club, Waiakea High Key Club, Hilo Intermediate Builders Club, Waiakea Intermediate Builders Club, EB deSilva Elementary K-Kids, Hilo Union Elementary BUGS program which all make significant contributions to the success of the BIIM.

At the finish line another group of volunteers are waiting under a tent for the finishers of the marathon.

Dan Renteria, an athletic trainer from Waiakea High School, had assembled a group of high school trainers to volunteer in providing free massages to any marathoner who desired one.

“I began volunteering at the marathon to supplement my internship hours while attending Ki Mana Academy,” Renteria said.  “When I graduated and received my massage therapy license I would then volunteer to help promote my practice, Na Hiku Massage Therapy LLC.”

Locally, Licensed Massage Therapists have been difficult to get as volunteers so Renteria asked his fellow Certified Athletic Trainers if they could help.

“Some of the Athletic Trainers were interested in learning post event massage so I hold workshops and they practice the procedure on anyone walking into the facility door,” Renteria said.  “It’s been very gratifying to know our efforts have been appreciated by the runners and race organizers.”

During the first 10 miles of the race there are five aid stations and all of them are community sponsored and have been providing support to the marathon for 15 years.

Lorraine Mendoza, Susan Munro, May Navarro, G A Rock, are just a few aid station leaders

Clarita Corpuz from Retired Senior Volunteer Program brings RSVP volunteers to make packets for the runners several days before the event, then supplies the necessary manpower for packet pick up the day before the races.

At the race finish line you can see many RSVP workers handing out food and preparing drinks to insure that everyone is healthy and taken care of.

The Hawaii State Teachers active and retired take part in providing an aid station and in the distribution of finisher’s tee shirt.

The list goes on and on of those that came out to selfishly provide the manpower to make an event of this scale take place.

And someday should you happen to see a very grateful race organizer doing a jog around Hilo Bayfront remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”

March 19, 2012 Posted by | Events | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

PacWest Women’s Cross Country from HPU Invite – Complete Results

1 Ruth Keino UAA


2 Susan Tanui UAA




3 Katherine Buxton BYUH




4 Lacey Krout BYUH




5 Miriam Kipngeno UAA




6 Bryn Haebe UAA




7 Shoshana Keegan UAA




8 Kevyn Murphy UH Manoa


9 Christi Schmitz UAA


10 Andrea Martin BYUH




11 Susan Bick UAA




12 Alison Wilson UH Manoa




13 Shannon White HPU




14 Kim Kuhnert HPU




15 Katie Krehlik UAA




16 Katrina Kropushek BYUH


17 Louise Mulvey UH Manoa


18 Jessica Vig BYUH


19 Ashlee Jimenez UH Manoa


20 Valerie Massie UAA


21 Mary Botsford HPU


22 Ariana Horton UH Manoa


23 Celeste Almarez UH Manoa




24 Liisa Cushing UH Manoa


25 Megan Dart UH Manoa


26 Kelsea Royer BYUH




27 Tia Nakashima UH Manoa




28 Rachelle Wilson UH Manoa




29 Evangeline Rehwaldt UH Manoa




30 Veronica Camarillo BYUH




31 Jordan Bledsoe UH Hilo




32 Nadia Ramerez UH Hilo


33 Heather Delgado UH Manoa


34 Denise Nakamura UH Manoa


35 Hailey Grossman HPU




36 Kim Pateman HPU




37 Hayley Musashi UH Manoa




38 Laci Sweany UH Manoa




39 Shannon Whener Chaminade




40 Chelsea Ollar BYUH




41 Noelani Mikami UH Manoa


42 Kassie Kropashek BYUH


43 Nikka Takani UH Hilo


44 Amanda Ray UH Manoa




45 Melody Papalii UH Manoa




46 Stephanie Adams UH Hilo




47 Lyssa Freitas Chaminade




48 Anna Vaagensmith Chaminade




49 Justina Wood UH Hilo




DNF Alaina Turse Chaminade      
DNR Brithany Ariga UH Hilo      
  Emily Ochsner Chaminade      
  Jessica Wences Chaminade      
  Rebekah Phillips UH Manoa      
  Rocio Sanchez UH Manoa      

UHH women with Coach Jaime Guerpo

September 4, 2011 Posted by | collegiate cross country | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment