KAPA‘A — Four sprint finishes for the top eight slots in the boys’ race and the presence of the flu bug shook things up at the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation cross country meet No. 3, yesterday at the Kapa‘a campus.
Cole Pemberton of Kapa‘a, finishing sixth overall at meet No. 2 last week, surprised spectators by dominating the first two miles of the boys’ race before succumbing to the bug.
That left Daniel Degracia of Kaua‘i and Christian Tangalin of Waimea to battle for the top two slots.
Degracia won the top overall finish on a 19:09.80 run followed a step back by Tangalin at 19:10.20. But when the dust settled, the Waimea boys came in ahead with 28 points to Kaua‘i’s 40 points.
Kapa‘a High School filed in third place with 83 points, with the Island School Voyagers trailing three points for a total of 86 points.
The green wave that dominated the front of the girls’ race in the first two miles was able to withstand the Waimea challenge on the final mile. Kapa‘a girls finished first with 25 points to Waimea’s 32 points. Kaua‘i rounded out the field with 79 points.
Caralyn Broyles, the top overall finisher for Waimea’s girls, bettered her last week’s run time of 23:00.50 to stop the clock at 21:07.70 in the rapidly warming morning sun.
That pace devastated Waimea’s No. 2 runner, Natasha Abadilla, who fell in a writhing, crumpled heap at the line, moaning in agony as she was assisted through the finish chute.
Abadilla, finishing 24:06.90 at last week’s meet, kept up with the field to finish third overall on a 22:36.20 run, holding the flu bug at bay until being overwhelmed at the finish line.
“She had a fever all day yesterday,” said her mom. “I told her not to run, but she kept telling me ‘I got to run, mom.’”
Sarah Faraola was the first Kapa‘a finisher, crossing second overall on a 22:29.20 run, an improvement over her 10th overall finish last week at 26:24.40.
Kula School’s Tiare Welborn dropped from her second overall finish last week to ninth overall yesterday with a corresponding drop in run time (24:24.90 yesterday, compared to 23:52.10 last week).
Elisabeth Young was Kaua‘i’s first finisher at 15th overall with a 25:53.40 run.
Of note was the sprint finish for 12th and 13th place when Waimea’s Charleen Miguel made the move on Kapa‘a’s Whitney Rowe on the final stretch.
Rowe was ahead, but Miguel’s long legs made up the distance, stopping the clock at 24:47.90, just 0.10 second and a step ahead of Rowe’s 24:48.00 run. Both times were improvements for over the girls’ runs last week at Kula Intermediate & High.
“We need our No. 5 runner,” said Fred Sasan, a Kaua‘i coach. “This is where we really miss Darren Lapitan.”
Just as the green wave gave Kapa‘a the girls’ victory, Waimea boys filled in the right slots to capture a win of their own.
Among the top nine finishers, Island School’s Jose Lozano is experiencing Hawai‘i running as an exchange student from Almaria, Spain.
“He’s just a 10th-grader, but in Almaria, he does mini-triathalons, so we’re trying to get him into bicycling, and he’ll be trying out for the swim program, too,” said Teri Sakai, Lozano’s host parent.
Lozano, last week’s 18th overall finisher at 21:45.10 at Kula, finished ninth overall on a 19:53.80 run.
Following the Degracia-Tangalin finishes, Waimea’s Benji Bacling and Kapa‘a’s Bradley Heiser battled for fifth and sixth places, Bacling taking fifth at 19:33.10 followed by Heiser at 19:33.80.
“We’re not doing too well, today,” said Kapa‘a coach Kara Kitamura. “Our two top runners aren’t running because they aren’t feeling well.”
DJ Herr of Kaua‘i and John Tangalin of Waimea fought for seventh and eighth, with Herr stopping the clock at 19:49.30 (seventh) and Tangalin at 19:49.60 (eighth).
Kaua‘i High School will host KIF cross country’s meet No. 4 Saturday at Kaua‘i Community College.
Due to testing, the first race starts at 4 p.m.