Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Excercise at an early age is the Key to a Healthy, Happy Life

L to R: Kobayashi, Connors, Nishimura-Thornton

I’m a firm believer in physical education of our youth.  While we are in a midst of an obesity crisis in this country, bureaucrats look at trimming the educational budget by taking courses like PE out of our schools.

That is why I am in total support of anything that rewards our youth for being active and in continuous movement.

For the past several years the Big Island Road Runners have been awarding two high school harriers, one boy and one girl, with a $1,000 scholarship to apply towards their college education.

The money was a gift from Richard and Virginia Alderson who wanted to help local cross county and/or track runners who are in financial need.

The Alderson’s, along with Corp Counsel attorney Joe Kamelamela, Department of Education Hilo District Office Resource Teacher Dano Bank and the Big Dog sit on the selection committee that determines who will be the recipient.

“This year we had the most applicants and our decision was very difficult,” Banks said.

After many hours of reviewing the applications the committee decided to give Honokaa’s Robert Connors and Keaau’s Deann Nishimura-Thornton each a $1,000.

“The applicants were all outstanding so we decided to give an additional $500 to Waiakea’s Kelsie Kobayashi,” Richard Alderson said.

All three wowed the selection committee with their years of experience and love for running.

“I started distance running in the fifth grade,” Nishimura-Thornton said.  “My love for running has shaped me to be the person I am today, literally and figuratively.”

Nishimura-Thornton often ran in community events over the past six years and regularly placed in the Big Island Marathon’s 5K races.

“Running is therapeutic and gives me a chance to decompress from my day,” she said.  “The sport has taught me to have confidence in myself.”

While Nishimura-Thornton is one of a long line of Cougar runners to be selected for the
BIRR scholarship over the past several years, Connors becomes the first Dragon to win the award.

“Long distance running has taught me to overcome adversity and has made me mentally strong,” Connors said.

During this year’s Big Island Interscholastic Federation season Connors was bitten on his foot by

a centipede just before the championship race and not wanting to let his team down still ran the race, helping Honokaa to win another team title.

“To me, long distance running is not for the weak minded; it is for those who know what it takes to give it everything you got and more to accomplish your goals,” Connors said.

Connors transferred to Honokaa during his sophomore year and in his attempt to fit in tried some inappropriate classroom behavior.

“I didn’t know many people so I would make jokes in class,” he wrote in his application.  “I had a hard time adjusting to the surrounding and behaviors in class but as my sophomore year ended I decided to make a change.”

In his junior and senior years Connors became a role model that the underclassmen could look up to and as a result he helped put in motion the Honokaa Max Out 212 Degree.

“It primarily works because volunteer upperclassmen choose to sacrifice their lunch recess to help 9th graders feel welcome in high school,” he said.

Besides Nishimura-Thornton and Connors the selection committee wanted to add an additional half scholarship to Waiakea’s Kelsie Kobayashi.

Kobayashi has participated on the Warriors varsity track and cross country teams all four years as one of the top distance runners on the Big Island.

Kobayashi points to the discipline of distance running which helped her to become successful in the classroom.

“I’ve learned discipline, motivation and commitment through my schools career in track and cross country,” she said.  “These traits have encouraged me to integrate the same disciplinary actions into my everyday life.”

Through her four years of prep competition Kobayashi has learned the secret to long distance running.

“Running pushes me beyond reasonable limits of physical endurance and I have realized that the toughest form of competition is self-competition,” she said.  “I am demanding more of myself, battling my own strength, my own body and my own mind.”

Kobayashi has decided to attend the University of Hawaii at Manoa and enter into the nursing program

Nishimura-Thornton plans on attending Northern Arizona University with hopes of majoring in Environmental Science.

Connors has been accepted to Colorado Mesa University where he will major in kinesiology.

“The dedication and commitment to running and staying in shape has influenced me to pursue a career in kinesiology,” he said. 

All three of these young people were on hand Sunday to participate in the Big island Road Runners 5K (3.1 mile) race.  Following the event a formal ceremony took place and each were awarded with their scholarship checks.

The 5K event was won by Chris Gregory in 17 minutes and 27.

“I went to the state track meet yesterday and saw some of them competing,” Gregory said.  “I wanted to come out today in support of them.”

The women’s division saw Kobayashi take first place, even though the gritty senior ran the 3K in the state championships on Friday and Saturday where she finished fourth in the State.

Despite a foot injury Connors also participated in the 5K and the day before helped the Honokaa relay team finish 7th in the State.

“I am very grateful to the Road Runners Club in granting me this scholarship,” Connors said.  “It will go a long way in helping with my college tuition.”

Each of the awardees journey began with their physical education teachers in middle school who provided them with the tools to stay healthy and fit. 

And someday should you happen to see a lifelong runner being gratified by the many successes of young people, remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”


May 14, 2012 Posted by | High School Runners | , , , , , | 1 Comment

BIIF track and field season gets a running start on Saturday

     It’s never easy to dethrone a champion and this track & field season won’t be any different as the Big Island Interscholastic Federation defending girls and boys champions look for a repeat.

The Hawaii Preparatory Academy’s girls and Waiakea boys look to defend their team titles when the BIIF gets a running start with dual season openers at Kamehameha and Konawaena on Saturday.

“We return a young, but experienced girls team,” Veteran Ka Makani Coach Pat Lau said.

“Our strength will be with our distance girls in events of 400 meters and above.”

Lau has the luxury of having the entire 2011 girl’s state champion cross country team on the track.

Zoe Sims, last year’s 1500 meter state champion along with Kristiana Van Pernis who placed in both the 1500 and 800 meter events at states, will headline the talented Ka Makani distance squad.

“Besides our distance girls we have two strong finishers in pole vault, Sydney Budde and Taylor Esaki,” Lau said.

Experience is the name of the game with HPA having two hurdlers in Emily Evans and Katie Case which give firepower and depth to Ka Makani track squad.

“In the rest of the events we have a lot of new girls and they should do well,” Lau said.

Lau also has a host of talent to choose from with another large turnout on the track.

“This year we have another big  team with 47 girls and 32 boys, most are still learning,” Lau said.  “Pole vault alone will have 11 athletes with only 4 having experience.”

Lau points to his coaches which are working hard at finding the right events for each of his athletes.

“Our coaches will spend time with each and every one of them to find how they can best contribute to the team,” Lau said.

The HPA boys return state shot put and discus champion Shane Brostek and Lau feels that he will have another great year.

“Our senior leader is Kayden Haleakala in the pole vault and sprints,” Lau said.  “We expect a few surprises in the hurdles and jumps with our young boys.”

Defending boy’s team champions, Waiakea, return most of their squad from last season which have coaches Mary Jane and Lance Tominaga looking for a repeat.

“We’re expecting our returnees to contribute in their events,” MJ Tominaga said.

The Tominaga’s have high expectations for Mauna Palama-Danielson, throws, Jackson Halford, Ian McQuate and Keoni Rice in the mid to long distance races, Michael Morikawa and Kevin Nicolas in the hurdles and jumps and Colton Austria in sprints.

“We have about 40 athletes on the boy’s side and we expect some of our new additions to be key contributors to this year’s team,” Coach Tominaga said.  “We feel the team will be competitive as we have the depth to field athlete in every event except for pole vault.”

Waiakea has a small girl’s team with 15 and the Tominaga’s agree that they lack the depth of the boy’s squad.

Key individuals for the Warrior girls will come from Kelsie Kobayashi in distance, Haley Rasse, mid distance and Teisha Nacis in sprints.

Around the rest of the league:

KEAAU will field a large squad of 77 athletes, but according to Coach Vicky Chai-Guerpo most are young and have raw talent.

“We have a close knit group of kids who are focused on doing their best,” Chai-Guerpo said.  “Our goal is to be a ‘brotherhood’ caring about each other and if we accomplish this, then a win may follow.”

The Cougars will rely on the experience of a sprint core made up of Jesse Huihui, Damien Packer, and Alexander Engdahl. Teammates Cliff Ericksson, jumps and hurdles; Nelson Enos, pole vault; Talon Ota, jumps and 400; Joey Aquino, high jump; Randi Estrada, sprints; and Deann Nishimura-Thornton at distance events.

HILO with veteran coach Bill McMahon has a good turnout of mostly young girls and he is trying to see how they will develop.

“Our girls will bring back Carmen Garson-Shumway at distance, along with Shina Chung at Pole Vault,” McMahon said.

The Viking boys will see Zack Atagi in the discus and shot.

“Our boys had a good turnout but almost all are new guys so we don’t know what we have yet,” McMahon said.  “We are going to try to be competitive.”

HONOKAA – One of the league’s best distance coaches, Josh Abner, brings with him one of the strongest 1500 and 3K runners on the track in Chase Moniz along with brothers Robert and Tony Conners handling the mid distance. 

“I also have high expectations for our 4×400 meter relay team and sprints with the addition of Dylan Oanadasan, Brooks McVey, and Koa Phenice returning,” Abner said.

Abner also noted that Josh Tobias will join the team, after a fantastic soccer season.

For the Dragon girls Abner has high hopes for Hildhang Adona and Kelly Greenwell in the distance races along with Nahe Lau and Yvonne Daniels in the sprint events.

KAU – has a new coach, but a familiar face on campus, Kapua Lapera returns to her alma mater after graduating and running cross country for the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

The Trojans return one of the islands fastest sprinter and jumper in junior Christina Padrigo. 

Marley Stand-Nicolaisen, triple jump and hurdles along with teammate Alika Kaopua, the BIIF triple jump champion will also be a highlight for Kau.

KAMEHAMEHA – Under head coach Kimo Weaver always produces outstanding hurdlers who have gone on to win state titles.  Weaver is a master coach in the hurdles as that is his area of expertise.

The Warriors will carry between 20 and 30 boys and another 20 to 30 girls, according to Weaver.

Outstanding returnees include Kaenen Aukai Akau in the long jump and sprints along with Chelsea Poe in sprints and relays and Alyssa Lehua McGuire in the hurdles, pole vault and relays.

“Our strengths are in the jumps, but we are a young and inexperienced team,” Weaver said. “Our main goal is to simple get better every week and having fun doing it.”

KONAWAENA –  Wildcat coaches Kuulei Saole and Kuulika Taveras return some super star power in Ua Ruedy, the defending state champion in the 300 hurdles and Lita Taomoefalau who placed third in the BIIF throws.

The big question was whether or not basketball great Lia Galderia will compete as she was questionable going into the preseason while she was still working on preparing for college, according to a school source.

Galderia, a muli talented athlete will appear in action on the BIIF track scene, as her presence will add a boost to the Wildcat program according to sources within the BIIF.

The BIIF regular track and field season gets a leaping start this Saturday as West side schools head to Kona with East side running on the Kamehameha Keaau track.

Both venues start with field events at 9 am and running events commencing at 10 am.

March 30, 2012 Posted by | High School Track & Field | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

HHSAA boys soccer DI and DII All Tournament Teams

Division I All-Tournament Team        (selected by HHSAA staff)

F – Leo Klink, Kalani                       F – Keo Ponce, Kapolei                                      

M – Kevin Carroll, Kalani                M – Tyler Matas, Mililani

M – Jake Sagami, Mililani                M — Yoshi Tamokai, Kalani

D – Kasey Chun, ‘Iolani                    D – Douglas Curren, Mililani

D – Andrew Momohara, Mililani       D – Kazuto Moribe, Kalani

GK – Tyler Wilson, Mililani

 Most Outstanding Player: Douglas Curren, Mililani 

Division II All-Tournament Team      (selected by HHSAA staff)

F – Kekahu Aluli, Kahuku                  F – Nakaya Kerr, Christian Liberty

F – Elijah Lingenfelder, Makua Lani  F – Justin Warren, Honoka‘a

M – Robert Connors, Honoka‘a         M – John Hyland, Mid-Pacific

M – Chayce Moniz, Honoka‘a             M – Florian Steundel, Kahuku

D – Alden Aguirre, Honoka‘a          D – Tyler Shiramizu, Kapa‘a

GK – Shane Nishioka-Healy, Kapaa

 Most Outstanding Player: Robert Connors, Honoka‘a

February 28, 2012 Posted by | Soccer | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hawaii Prep girls cross country HHSAA state champions for 2011


“Something special and magical happened today,” Coach Michael Franklin said when learning that his Hawaii Preparatory Academy girls cross country team won the state title.

Ka Makani harriers gave everything they had during the 49th Annual Hawaii High School Athletic Association cross country championships held Saturday at the Kapalua Village Golf Course on Maui.

 “Everything worked out according to how we trained over the years, as we ran as a team and packed our runners together,” Franklin said.

HPA the Big Island Interscholastic Federation team champion went step to step with HHSAA six time defending champion Punahou in what proved to be a run for state bragging rights.

Ka Makani harriers were runner up to Punahou last year, but turned the tables on the Buff and Blue with their pack style running.

HPA had all five girls in the top 9, which saw their lead pack of Kristiana Van Pernis, Mariah Haight,   Zoe Sims, Emily Evans and Kelly Ulrich finish fifth through ninth respectively.

This was Hawaii Preps first girls cross country state title since 1994 when the team was coached by Phil Conley.

“Phil Conley and Stan Shutes have played an important role in the success of this program,” Franklin said.  “Those two coaches established the foundation for what we have today as they instilled the tradition and philosophy behind our success.  I just happened to step into a program that fits my style of coaching.”

Franklin also contributed a huge portion of his team’s ascent to being the best in the state to having the right combination of young runners.

“We have the right group of personalities with great team leadership and really positive attitudes,” Franklin said. “What happened today was very special and magical and I’m very proud of what we did.”

Kelly Ulrich

HPA’s number five runner, Kelly Ulrich, didn’t run on the varsity team last year and was key to the team’s success in winning the team championship by finishing 9th overall this year.

“Our coaches read a poem called ‘Power of the Pack’ and I kept listen to the words in that poem as I wanted to be able to see our top four girls during the race,” Ulrich said.  “I didn’t expect to do as well as I did, but it felt really good to run fast and stay with our pack.”

Kristiana Van Pernis had a 14th place finish last year during state competition and was the first BIIF girl to cross the finish line this season in fifth place overall.

“I felt like I turned my brain off during the race and just focused on running,” Van Pernis said.  “I enjoyed running with my teammates and that’s where all my thoughts went.”

Trying to stay with the HPA pack was Waiakea’s Kelsie Kobayashi who placed 11th overall (the top 20 individual boys and girls received state medals.

“This was a phenomenal season,” Kobayashi said.  “I had my best finish ever in the four years I’ve run states.  I just tried to get out fast and not get boxed in at the beginning of the race.  I used the HPA pack as I was trying to make my way up to them.”

Kobayashi, a senior, was pleased with the outcome.

“I left everything on the course,” she said.  “I kept thinking about what my coach (Rosado) told me early in the season, that cross country doesn’t require a lot of equipment, just a lot of heart.”

Seabury Hall’s Dakota Grossman a sophomore won the individual state title for a second year finishing in a time of 19 minutes 27 seconds

In the boys race it was Waiakea’s Jackson Halford being the first Big Island runner to cross the finish line with St Joseph’s Andrew Langtry close behind.  Halford finished eighth overall in a field of 160 runners, managed to redeem himself after a second place finish during the BIIF championships the week before.

“This race more than made up for my finish at the BIIF championships,” Halford said.

“I beat my personal goal coming into states,” Halford said.  “I was just hoping to come in 10th this year after my 25th place finish last year.”

Halford started out slow during the opening mile of the three mile race and his strategy paid big dividends.

“I knew everyone was going to go out really fast and then die,” Halford said.  “At the first mile marker I was in 40th place and people started falling back.”

Halford a senior believes this was the best race of his four year racing career.

For Langtry who finished tenth overall this was his first opportunity to participate in the state cross country championships.

“It was great and I went out perfectly,” Langtry said.  “I was staying close to Jackson and we helped push each other.  Also having my dad come out to watch the race was something that helped me run well.”

Waiakea boys were the top scoring BIIF team, placing ninth to BIIF champion’s Honokaa tenth place finish.

“I told my guys if they didn’t do well today they’d be walking back to Kahului,” a joking Warrior Coach Rosado said.  “They were a lot more serious and focused today than they were at the BIIF Championships a week ago.”

Leilehua won the boys team title with 55 beating out Maui 63 and Iolani with 74 points.

Other top BIIF finishers placing within the top 100 on Maui were:

Boys: 27) Parker’s Paul Gregg  30) Kamehameha’s Shawn Correa Doll,  45) Honokaa’s Robert Conners, 54) Waiakea’s Ian McQuate  62) Honokaa’s Tony Conners  76) Waiakea’s Robbey Meguro  77) Hilo’s Stephen Hunter  80) Kealakehe’s Luka Walter  84) Kamehameha’s Makaala Cruz  92) Parker’s Jesse Tarnas  94) Honokaa’s Chayce Moniz  96) HPA’s Justin Macy    97) HPA’s Michael Rogerson

Girls:   15) Kealakehe’s Kari Van Mols  26) Hilo’s Carmen Garson-Shumway  30) Hilo’s Satya Ray   35) Kealakehe’s Sydney Kirkhill  38) Makua Lani Joy Choe 45) Makua Lani’s Grace Choe  47) Keaau’s Deann Nishimura-Thornton  53) HPA’s Veronica Ladwig  56) Kamehameha’s Erin Carvalho  61) Konawaena’s Shayli Nakamoto  63) Hilo’s Shalila De Bourmont  66) Kealakehe’s Mika Bettencourt  67) Kamehameha’s Corin Kim  69) HPA’s Cat Bradley  80)  Hilo’s Jordyn Breithbarth   81)  Hilo’s Kaylee Rapoza    82) Keili Dorn Makua Lani  84) Honokaa’s  Hildhang Adams 85) Honokaa’s Elizabeth Aguirre  92) Honokaa’s Kelly Greenwell  93)  Kamehameha’s Mikela Cabel  95) Makua Lani’s Tiffany Nakamura   100) Keaau’s Natalie Hagemann

October 30, 2011 Posted by | High School Runners | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

BIIF X-C champs, Honokaa and Hawaii Prep, starting 7 for HHSAA championship




Hawaii Prep




Hawaii Prep




Hawaii Prep




Hawaii Prep




Hawaii Prep




Hawaii Prep

Van Pernis



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October 26, 2011 Posted by | High School Runners | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment