Kapaa cross country runners sweep KIF meet

PUHI — Kauai High School coach Fred Sasan was hoping for a miracle Saturday at the Kauai Community College course.

“We have several of our top runners on Oahu at the Iolani meet with coach Richard Matsumoto, several of our strong runners are testing, but miracles do happen,” Sasan said. “Unfortunately, today it wasn’t our turn.”

Kapaa High School swept the Kauai Interscholastic Federation cross country meet No. 2, hosted by Kauai High School on a 3-mile course set up at the Kauai CC campus.

The Warriors, under coach Kara Kitamura, picked up 40 points in the boys’ win and 28 points in the girls’ win. Waimea finished second in the boys’ race with 44 points followed by Island School with 66 points and Kauai rounding out the 71-runner field at 73 points.

Kauai showed 58 points in the girls’ race for second place followed by Island School with 63 points and Waimea rounding out the 68-runner field with 81 points.

Micah Kamuela Nobriga Ferris, dominant in the past three cross country races, set the pace for the field Saturday in rapidly-warming conditions, doing the 3-mile course in 18 minutes, and .73 second.

“He has a brand new knee brace, today,” said Jasmine Nobriga Ferris, Micah’s mother.

“He’s using it today, but his goal was not to improve on his time, but to focus on strategizing through the race.”

Ronnie Perono, getting buried in the pack during last week’s race, stayed clear of traffic, dogging his leading teammate and crossing sixth overall at 19:18.75, the second Kapaa runner to cross.

At that point, the Kauai boys were still ahead as Andrew Herr (18:44.42) and Brodie Noice (18:59.91) crossed second and fifth, overall, respectively.

Braden Andrews, crossing seventh overall, pushed Kapaa into the lead on a 19:19.05 run, just 16 seconds faster than Waimea’s Henry Delos Reyes (19:35.14) and Bradley Lumabao (19:37.80).

Kauai’s No. 3 runner, Joshua Manini (20:55.27), crossed the line 19th overall.

Mickey Rita topped the Waimea boys with a second overall finish at 18:42.82 followed by Delos Reys, Lumabao and Mark Abalos (20:07.74), 12th overall.

Island School’s Michael Miller was the top Voyager, finishing at 18:53.64, fourth overall, followed by Kellan Wortmann (19:55.45), Josh Miller (20:24.01) and Francis Green (20:46.85).

Kauai High School freshman Sydney Brady set the pace for the girls, crossing first on a 22:09.54 run challenged by Island School’s Carolyn Price at 23:17.00.

Kelsea Grimson-Armstrong of Kapaa filled in the No. 3 overall spot on a 23:33.32 run. The Warriors locked up the race when Coral Vernon (23:40.24), Vanessa Hernandez (24:08.86) filled in the fourth and fifth overall spots followed by Heather Faretta (24:57.03) in the 10th overall spot.

Following Kauai’s top finisher, Marissa Ruiz (24:58.33) and Lorinda Sasan (25:08.77) filled in the 11th and 12th overall spots before Nadja Saraos (25:40.86) filled in the 16th overall spot, the race being determined by the placement of the first three Kapaa girls.

Following Price, Island School’s Gianna D’Annibale (24:48.71) and Makenna Olson (24:56.71) finished eighth and ninth overall to keep the Voyagers in the chase. But the gap to No. 22 Ally Pascual (26:30.09) proved insurmountable as Kapaa locked up the race with Faretta’s crossing in 10th.

Kiani Kamakea was Waimea’s top runner, crossing in 24:30.33 for seventh overall followed by Lauryn Fleming (25:35.48), Taylor Santos-Balisacon (25:48.39), Leah Carr (26:24.79) and Julia Hirano (26:30.09).

The KIF cross country meet moves to Island School, site of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association state meet on Saturday when the first race takes off at 8:30 a.m.

• Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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