Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

UHH XC teams with Sunrise Athletics for Aug 20 fun run event

A fundraiser to help defray cost for travel for both UH Hilo Cross-Country Team and Sunrise Athletics.  UH Cross-Country still needs to get funds to compete in out island competitions and Sunrise Athletics would like to raise finds in sending youths to gain exposure at the Junior Olympics on Oahu  and for the Foot Locker Western Regional Championship Meet.  Both organizations are spreading the importance of collegiate experience and supporting Hawaii’s youth through athletics.  Details of the run are:

When: August 20, 2011

What:  5K Run/Walk @ 8:00am            1mile Run/ Walk @ 8:45am             

Where: Naniloa Golf Course

Other: Medals will be given to the top 3 males and females in each division for the respective distances.  The top male and female will receive and honorary award.  There will be post run refreshments, and door prize giveaways. 

Registration forms may be found at various fitness locations, Starbucks, or they may go to the website (www.sunrise-athletics.org) to download and print the registration form.  Deadline for early registration is August 7, 2011 to guarantee a t-shirt.


August 5, 2011 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ucker has best collegiate finish during Pac West home meet

Pac West Men's 4 mile race, photo by Brad Balleseros

Keoni Ucker

Home course advantage played a huge role this past Saturday as Keoni Ucker took his distance running to a new level in the Pacific West Conference.

The University of Hawaii at Hilo hosted a 4 mile men’s and 3.7 mile women’s cross country meet on the grounds of the Naniloa Golf Course in Hilo.

Ucker, a graduate of Christian Liberty Academy, surprised the home town crowd by going out with the lead pack during the first mile of the race.

“I was pumped for this race and actually took the lead briefly during the first mile.  I was in a group of three or four runners during the early stages,” he said.

Going into the race Ucker’s best finish in collegiate competition had been a seventh place finish earlier this season, but with family and friends cheering his every step the former CLA star took his running to a higher level.

Eventual winner, Thomas Puzey from Bingham Young University, separated himself from the pack after the first mile and Ucker was left in a battle for second with BYUH’s Justin Royer.

“Royer and I surged back and forth for most of the race as we tried to stay in contact with the lead runner,” Ucker said.

During the final 200 yards with the finish line in sight Royer took a slim lead over Ucker as both men dug deep for the runner up spot.

Royer crossed the finish line in 20:59 with Ucker just three seconds behind.

“I’m really happy with this race and I loved the course.  This is by far the best race I’ve ever had in college,” Ucker said of his third place finish.

Nick Hagemann

Vulcan teammate, Nick Hagemann, finished in 11th place and was the second of six UHH men in the field of 28.

“I went out kinda fast and clocked a 5:09 for my first mile,” Hagemann said.

  Hagemann, a 2008 graduate of Keaau High, matched his previous best Pac West finish and was pleased with his performance.

   “We’ve been having some really hard practices and we still haven’t tapered yet.  I liked this new course better than the old one and I thought we had some pretty fast times.  I think I’ve finally made the adjustment between juggling school, work and running,” Hagemann said.

Thomas Puzey

BYUH’s Thomas Puzey won the race in 20:49 and led his powerful Seasider team to victory over Hawaii Pacific University, UHH and Chaminade.

“This was my second Pac West win and I found the middle miles difficult to maintain my focus,” Puzey said.

Puzey had lots of praise for teammate Matthew Glulden who finished in 12th place saying that Glulden was coming off an eight day rest from injury.

“Thomas usually beats me in races and he always pushes me in practice.  If he’d (Glulden) been in shape today who knows what would of happened,” Puzey said.

The women’s race followed the men and by that time the rain clouds had disappeared and the sun was out with the humidity climbing which made it more challenging for the ladies.

Frida Aspneas

HPU’s Frida Aspnaes wasn’t hampered by the weather conditions and took the lead from start to finish as she methodically distanced herself from the rest of the field winning in a time of 22:14.

“It was difficult to keep up my speed and more difficult to run by myself,” Aspnaes said.

Aspnaes is in her first semester at HPU and moved to Hawaii from Sweden.

“I never ran in high school or college before as I participated in a sport called orienteering in Sweden.  Orienteering is very big in Scandinavia and it accounts for my physical conditioning,” she said.

Vulcan harrier, Kaylene Peric, looked to be in fine form to finish her best race of the season when she ran in a pack with BYUH’s Lacey Krout and Katherine Buxton as the trio fought for second place.

Peric encountered problems during the second half of the race and looked to be in serious trouble before dropping out of the race with about a mile and a half to go.

UHH’s Kirsta Andrew, who has led the team during the entire year, had the Vulcan’s best finish in 7th overall.

Kapua Lapera

Finishing in 17th was Vulcan Kapua Lapera who is a former hurdler for Kau, graduating in 2007.

“I never ran cross country in high school as bowling was during the same season.  I was offered a college scholarship to run track and do hurdles on the mainland, but turned it down,” she said.

Last season Lapera was invited to work out with the Vulcan women and this year she decided to give cross country a try.

“I wanted to come out and have fun with running and I’m still trying to convert from a sprinter to a distance runner,” Lapera said.

Lapera had been out during the week due to illness, but wanted to run on Saturday to help as a scoring team.

In cross country place scores are given to the first five members of the team to cross the finish line.  As it turned out the lady Vulcan’s only had four finishers and did not qualify for team scoring.

Related links:  https://waynejoseph.wordpress.com/2010/10/09/pacific-west-confrence-results/


October 10, 2010 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UHH cross country to host Pac West Meet at Naniloa Golf Course

start of Pac West men’s race

Play on the Naniloa Golf Course will be suspended for 90 minutes on Saturday while the University of Hawaii at Hilo cross country teams run loops around the fairways.

UHH plays host to a Pacific West Conference Invitational Meet with harriers from Bingham Young-Hawaii, Chaminade and Hawaii Pacific University weave their way around the golf courses manicured grounds.

“As soon as I found out that there was a new golf course manager and that the Naniloa was a sponsor I gave it a shot and asked if we could host a meet on their course,” UHH Coach Jaime Guerpo said.

Guerpo jumped at the chance of using the golf course as a new venue for his UHH team and designed a spectator friendly course that has runners passing by the clubhouse and driving range.

“This is a great place to hold a cross country meet,” Guerpo said.  “We will be able to see more of the race with the runners going pass us for a mile in one direction and then passing through again, going in the opposite direction.”

Guerpo is also happy that none of the course runs on asphalt or crosses roads.

“We’re able to save money because we don’t need to rent a cop for traffic as the entire event is run on the golf course.  It is also safer in that there is no traffic and it is truly a cross country course,” he said.

Keoni Ucker

Showcasing the men’s field will be a solid BYUH team that has dominated the Pac West during the season.

“BYUH has three top men that are always leading the pack,” Guerpo said.

Thomas Puzey, Mathew Gulden and Justin Roger lead the Seasiders which won the Chaminade Invitational by 58 points over second place Alaska Fairbanks.

The Vulcan’s Keoni Ucker has been the top gun during the season breaking into the top 10 in each of his Pac West meets which included a seventh place finish at Chaminade the previous week.

Ucker, a former state track & field champion from Christian Liberty Academy, came into his own this season and has developed into a formidable competitor.

“I like the new course and it seems like it will be flat with fast times,” Ucker said.  “The race starts at the driving range and we do a couple of loops around the perimeter of the golf course, each time passing by the driving range which will give spectators a good opportunity to Csee us run.”

Ucker’s best finish this season has been fifth place overall when he ran in the Big Wave Invitational hosted by UH Manoa and when you remove an unattached runner from that race he finish fourth among Pac West competitors.

“I’m hoping to stay within the top five this week as this is our home course and we will have an advantage.  I feel more energized overall and I’m looking forward to doing well,” Ucker said.

James Imai

The Vulcan seven man squad is loaded with Big Island talent which includes Justin Pang, CLA; Nick Hagemann, Keaau; and James Imai, Waiakea.

Imai, a 2009 graduate, is in his first year of collegiate competition and is excited about running on the new course.

“It is very challenging with great competition,” Imai said of running for the Vulcan’s.  “We’ve had practice runs on the golf course twice and it should be a lot of fun this Saturday.  Running for UH Hilo is the best choice I’ve ever made.”

For the women it has been all Frida Aspnaes from HPU dominating the Pac West field.  UHH’s Krista Andrew remains the top runner for the Vulcan’s, but has had difficulty being consistent.

BYUH women dominate the team scoring as they have been able to get a solid core of five runners into the finish before any other squad.

Vulcan Women

Out of the five women racing for the Vulcan’s two are from the Big Island in Liliana Desmither, Hilo; and Kapua Lapera, Kau.

“Team wise we are not as strong as in years past, but this group of kids work just as hard as any team that I have coached.  I believe that we will fare well on Saturday,” Coach Guerpo said.

“We’d like to see people come out and support collegiate distance running.  I’d advise people who wanted to watch to go to the club house or driving range because those areas will give the best views,” Guerpo said.

The men will start at 8 am with a 4 mile race and the women will follow with a 6K (3.7 miles) according to Guerpo. 

“Collegiate men at this level usually race at 5 miles or 8 km and junior college runners will do 4 miles, but I decided to host this distance. The women in our conference will either race at the 5 or 6 km distance,” Guerpo said. 

October 8, 2010 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments