Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

UHH cross country women running strong through tough times

Nadia Ramirez

Nadia Ramirez led an inexperienced University of Hawaii Hilo cross country team to a sixth place finish on the Vulcan home course at the Naniloa Volcanoes Golf Club on Saturday.

Ramirez, a true freshman out of Hilo High, finished the 3.1 mile race 23rd overall in a time of 21:01. 

 Winning the women’s race was Bingham Young Hawaii’s Lacey Lynn Krout in 18:21.

 “Today was really hot, but the course itself is very fast,” Ramirez said.  “I could have run better, but I was pleased with my overall performance.”

Following her first race of the season Ramirez has taken over as the number one Vulcan runner, despite her collegiate inexperience.

 “Running at this level is ten times more challenging both mentally and physically then high school,” Ramirez said.  “My coach, Jaime Guerpo, keeps me motivated and gives so much to this team that we need to give as much as we can back to him.”

BYUH’s Lacey Krout

BYUH’s Krout and teammate Katie Buxton ran away from the field of 38 women but it was the team from the University of Alaska Fairbanks that bunched their five runners to win team scoring honors.

“I loved this course as it is fast and soft,” a barefooted Krout said after the race.  “Katie and I ran the whole way barefooted as it is better for our form as it keeps our feet cool and it feels really good.”

Krout took 25 seconds off her best time this season on the cushioned golf course grass and gave most of the credit for her success to her teammate, Buxton, for pushing her throughout the season.

“Katie and I push each other and earlier in the season she won two Pac West meets,” Krout said.

Vulcan Coach Jaime Guerpo was supposed to have lost both his men’s and women’s programs this season due to the UHH athletic budget crisis but managed to find the resources, through a community effort, to save the women’s program. The monies raised were only enough to pay for travel cost as the Vulcan cross country program offers no scholarships.

“We were only able to find enough cash to save the women’s program,” Guerpo said.  “As a result we have five girls running for us and all of them have never run at the collegiate level.”

In cross country it takes five runners to score, but most college teams carry 7 harriers on the roster to protect themselves against injury.

Justina Wood

“There’s a lot of pressure on me to do my best,” Vulcan runner Justin Wood said.

Wood, a 2008 graduate of Hawaii Prep, has been UHH’s number 5 runner throughout the season and finished 36 out of 38 runners on Saturday.

“I never ran cross country in high school as I was a hurdler on the track team,” Wood said.  “I have learned to love this sport and I am always trying to improve.”

Wood finished in 25:04, but has set her season goal at running a 23:30 by season’s end.

“Coach Jaime is very motivating and he hasn’t quit on me and I’m not going to quit on him,” Wood said.  “Coach motivates me to keep wanting to get better.”

Nikka Takane

In 31st place was UHH’s number three runner, Nikka Takane, with a time 22:02.

Takane, an academic senior for the Vulcan’s, is a 2008 graduate of Waiakea where she ran on the Warrior cross country team.

“This was a great opportunity for me to be a part of a college team,” Takane said.  “All five of us need to race or we can’t score as a team which puts pressure on all us to do it for Coach Jaime and the team.”

UHH’s Jordan Bledsoe, 26th in 21:33 and Stephanie Adams, 33rd in 23:54, rounded out the Vulcan five.

Guerpo’s, in his 13th season at the helm, has a  bare bones budget that doesn’t provide money for  scholarships and the money that he did raise is barely enough to fund a meager travel budget.

“I thought all our girls did well today,” Guerpo said.  “Despite finishing in last place they all tried their best and worked hard and I am pleased with how they ran.”


Guerpo is without a men’s team this season, but several of his former team members showed up to help with the two races and one of them, Paul Mauser, ran the men’s 4 miler as an unattached runner.

“This is my senior year and my last hurrah,” Mauser said.  “I had to run this race before graduating and returning to Oregon.”

Mauser finished in an unofficial time of 27:30 with BYUH winner, Spencer Deavila taking top honors.


“I liked this course as it is a solid grass with some shady spots popping up when I really needed it,” Deavila said.

Deavila reached the one mile mark in 4:45 and wasn’t seriously challenged for most of the race winning in a time of 2041.

Deavila sat out last year with an injury while winning the UHH Invitational two years ago when the event started and finished on the Vulcan campus.

The BYUH men’s team won the team scoring.

The PacWest concludes their regular home season with their finale at Chaminade on October 22 before heading to the conference championships on the 29th in Phoenix, Arizona.

“No matter what happens at the conference championships this has been one of the most gratifying seasons due to the circumstances and the way things played out,” Guerpo said. 

Following the conclusion of the season Coach Guerpo will be trying to raise the necessary funds to continue the women’s program.

“With all that I have to do during the season it was too difficult to work on fundraising for next year,” Guerpo said.  “I am committed to keeping this program going and if we can double the community funding we will try to bring back the men’s program.”

October 9, 2011 Posted by | collegiate cross country | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lover’s Day 5K raises 488 pounds of canned goods for Food Pantry in HPP

Start of Lover's Day 5K with 302 participants

Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching and Big Dog Productions got a head start on the big day by hosting a Lover’s Day 5K on Sunday.

Over 300 people showed up to either run, walk or jog the 3.1-mile scenic course along the coast of Hilo Bay, setting a new record for Big Dog Productions number of participants..

With the theme being Lover’s Day the Big Dog decided to add a new twist to the fitness event by offering a special recognition award to couples that held hands while covering the 5K distance.

It was a pleasant surprise to see so many couples eager to take advantage of the novel idea.  Duo’s volunteered to have their wrists tied together with yarn in order to keep with the Lover’s Day theme.

Couples held hands while doing the 3.1 mile event

A couple from Kenai River in Alaska, Cindy and Jim Nelson, jogged the entire distance to set the record for fastest time for a couple holding hands, with their finishing time of 36 minutes and 35 seconds.

“We’re in love,” Cindy Nelson said after the race.  “Just like love we keep on running together.”

According to Jim Nelson the event was his Valentine’s Day present to his wife.

“We enjoy doing things together and we got motivated when we did the Big Dog Resolution Run on Jan 1,” Jim Nelson said.  “We’ve been running almost every day since the New Year and will continue to do so.”

Another couple, Archie and Marlene Hapai, wanted to try something new in order to create another memory together.

“We’ve been married for 39 years and we just wanted to see if we could do it and have another crazy memory to share,” Marlene Hapai said.

The Hapai’s believe that to keep a relationship together takes daily work.

“We do little things for each other and we take an interest in and actively participate in each other’s interests,” Archie Hapai said.

Another couple that decided to join in on the hand holding fun was Steve and Andrea Sparks from Puna. 

“Part of doing this walk together is a comeback of sorts for us,” Andrea said.  “This is going to be the start of our goal in doing a walking event every month.”

“We always hold hands or join at the elbows wherever we go,” Steve said.  “Today is a memorable event for us as we met people from all over the country.”

Other couples doing the event holding hands included Davis Abraham and Stacey Kapeliela, James and Nancy Iaukea, along with Shane, Noah and Malia Johnston.

The event was more about couples than it was about individual runners, but there were your usual cast of serious men and women who wanted to test their harrier skills while getting a good cardiovascular workout.

5K overall winners

Leading the pack from the very start was University of Hawaii at Hilo cross country runners Zach Johnson and Kirsta Andrew.

“I ran with teammate Paul Mauser for most of the way,” Johnson said.  “We didn’t separate until the half way turn around point and after that I was running by myself.”

Johnson finished in 17 minutes and 57 seconds and was followed by Tyde Kaneshiro, 18:04; Justin Pang, 18:07, Isaiah Sato, 18:23; Jackson Halford, 18:59; and Mauser came in sixth at 19:02.

For the women it was Andrew running with Vulcan coach Nina Hagemann as the two decided to stay together in the early going.

“I ran with Nina for most of the race and we didn’t separate until we saw the finish line, about 50 meters in front,” Andrew said.  “At that point I started my kick.”

Andrew took top women honors with her time of 22 minutes flat and Hagemann coming in three seconds behind.  Hilo’s Lory Hunter took third at 23:07.

Eakins & Wagner

Kamehameha School parents, teachers and staff decided to participate under the direction and leadership of Zeeny Eakins and Bob Wagner.

“We did the New Years Day Resolution run/walk and wanted to try to do another event outside of work,” Eakins said.  “We had about 40 from the Kamehameha ohana and everyone had a smile on their face when they finished.”

“We’re happy to come out and do something for the community,” Wagner said.  “Giving canned goods to the Food Basket is a great cause and coming out to get some exercise for our bodies is a positive way to stay health and fit for our own families.”


The event raised a total of 488 pounds of canned food items for the Hawaiian Paradise Park Food Pantry, with some participants donating cash to help the islands Food Basket.


Coming up on Sunday, March 20, is the 14th annual Big Island International Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K run/walk.

Both the full marathon (26.2 miles) and half marathon (13.1 miles) have been sold out since January 3, but there are nearly 90 remain slots for the 5K (3.1 mile) event.

Those interested in participating in the 5K should sign up soon because once those remaining slots are taking the 5K will also be closed.

To sign up go to www.hilomarathon.org or for more information on the event or on how to volunteer call the Big Dog at 969-7400.

Related link:  https://waynejoseph.wordpress.com/2011/02/06/big-dogs-lovers-5k-sets-participant-record-of-302-official-results/

February 7, 2011 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Big Dog’s Vet Day 5K Top 50 Results

UHH cross country team supporting Vet Day 5K

BIG DOG’s Veterans Day 5K – Results of Top 50:

1)      Keoni Ucker       16:06

2)      Jason Braswell  16:36

3)      Zach Johnson    16:56

4)      Justin Pang        17:20

5)      Chris Evans        17:28

6)      Garrett McAllister  17:54

7)      Andrew Langtry 18:04

8)      Paul Mauser       18:15

9)      Todd Marohnic  18:34

10)  Mathew Crowell 18:57

11)  Louie Perry         19:02

12)  Nick Muragin     19:25

13)  Bill McMahon   19:28

14)  Jesse Ebersole   19:31

15)  Michael Wozniak 19:32

16)  Kaylene Peric      19:35

17)  Alex Vu                19:48

18)  Stewart Miyashiro 19:53

19)  Robert Otsubo    19:59

20)  Stephen Hunter  20:01

21)  Kirsta Andrew     20:01

22)  Robyn DeBenedit 20:07

23)  Steve Pavao        20:17

24)  Zinder Villena     21:09

25)  Derek Dominquez 21:17

26)  Melissa Braswell 21:25

27)  Christian MCardle 21:32

28)  Max Panoff         21:37

29)  Lory Hunter        21:38

30)  Todd Shumway   21:47

31)  Nina Hagemann  21:53

32)  Shalila DeBourmont 22:07

33)  Stewart Hunter      22:18

34)  Greg Lum Ho        22:32

35)  Sean Crocker        22:41

36)  Carmen Garson-Shumway 22:55

37)  Ray Ibara             22:59

38)  Kauila Wong Yuen 23:00

39)  Liliana DeSmitchen 23:00

40)  DJ Blinn              23:09

41)  Dena Rae           23:16

42)  Joel Tessier       23:17

43)  Robert Talbot   23:26

44)  Kayley & Kaleb Moniz ( 1 mile with grandma Marie)

45)  Quincy Lambert     24:20

46)  Kelly Frietas          24:46

47)  Lindsey England   24:51

48)  Harris Kaneshiro  25:04

49)  Conrar Murgin      25:11

50)  Andrew Langtry    25:17

With nearly 200 finishers the Big Dog will post the results in 4 seperate listings.  The next group 51-99 will be posted shortly.

November 11, 2010 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Keoni Ucker finishes fourth at HPU Invitational – PacWest cross country

Keoni Ucker improves on his 7th place Naniloa finish

Keoni Ucker finished fourth in the Hawaii Pacific University Cross Country Invitational out of Kualoa Ranch on Oahu’s east shore.

Ucker, a former Christian Liberty Academy state track champion, finished the 8k course in 26:59.  It was his best performance in PacWest competition this season as he improved from his seventh place finish at Hilo’s Naniloa Golf Course run.

Brigham Young University-Hawaii won the team race followed by Hawaii Pacific University, California Baptist University, UHH and Chaminade University

Completing the UHH squad were Zach Johnson (17th, 28:57), former Keaau High standout  Nick Hagemann (23rd, 29:51), former CLA standout Justin Pang (25th, 30:14), Paul Mauser (34th, 32:12) and former Waiakea High standout James Imai (37th, 32:41).

BYUH’s Thomas Puzey won the race with a time of 26:48.

The PacWest Championships will take place on Nov 6 at the Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu.  Jaime Guerpo is the Vulcan head coach.

October 30, 2010 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pacific West Confrence Cross Country Results

2010 University of Hawaii at Hilo Invitational
Naniloa Volcanoes Resort Golf Course  
October 9, 2010      
Men 4-mile      
Thomas Puzey BYUH 20.49
Justin Royer BYUH 20.59
Keoni Ucker UHH 21.02
Dany Malley HPU 21.16
Jon Cleghorn HPU 21.17
Luke Gresser BYUH 21.24
Brandon Krout BYUH 21.27
Anders Ludvigsen HPU 21.35
Nathan Williams Chaminade 21.39
Garrett Prinslow Chaminade 21.40
Nick Hagemann UHH 21.57
Mathew Glulden BYUH 22.00
Vincente Herrera BYUH 22.03
Rasmus Folino HPU 22.15
Zach Johnson UHH 22.40
Warren Nastivar HPU 22.52
Mathew Roberts BYUH 23.13
Craig Kandler HPU 23.13
Corey Jennings HPU 23.14
Tucker Kidd Chaminade 23.23
Justin Pang UHH 23.43
Alejandro Pardi Chaminade 24.23
Shannon White HPU 24.23
James Coughlin Chaminade 24.28
James Imai UHH 24.55
Paul Mauser UHH 25.58
Steven Hatton Chaminade 30.55
Kevin Enriques HPU Unattached  


  Women = 6k      
1 Frida Aspnaes HPU 22.14
2 Lacey Krout BYUH 22.21
3 Katherine Buxton BYUH 22.52
4 Kim Kuhnert HPU 23.26
5 Amanda Wilson BYUH 23.33
6 Heather Brown BYUH 24.05
  Kirsta Andrew UHH 24.16
7 Kelsey Elder BYUH 24.19
  Lacee Kurttz BYUH 24.24
8 Hailey Grossman HPU 24.39
9 Shannon Whener Chaminade 24.51
10 Lynette Manuel HPU 25.03
11 Jamie Torres HPU 25.23
  Melody Papali’i HPU 27.01
12 Heather Barigian Chaminade 27.12
  Liliana DeSmither UHH 27.14
  Kapua Lapera UHH 29.22
13 Anna Vaagensmith Chaminade 30.47
14 Sunshine Gay Chaminade 32.27
15 Natalie Phanphengdy Chaminade 35.46
  Rachel Klute UHH 36.20
  Alaina Turse Chaminade 36.39
  Kaylene Peric UHH DNF
  BYUH 24    
  HPU 40    
  Chaminade 63    
  UHH DNQ    

October 9, 2010 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , | Leave a comment