KEALIA — The one-two finish of Kauai High School runners Brodie Noice and Kainoa Matsumoto led the boys team to victory Saturday at Kauai Ranch.
Hosted by Kapaa High School, Warrior runners Coral Vernon, Kelsea Grimsoom-Armstrong and Vanessa Hernandez helped lock up the girls team victory at the Kauai Interscholastic Federation cross country meet held at the picturesque Kauai Ranch in Kealia.
“It’s still anybody’s race for the title,” said Kauai coach Richard Matsumoto. “It’s going to come down to who wins the KIF championship meet in two weeks. Anyone can have the lead right now, but the separation is just a few points, and with the KIF champs carrying double points, it’s going to be settled at the championships. Whoever wins the KIF meet will be the title holder.”
At stake beyond the title, the winning team gets five spots to the Hawaii High School Athletic Association state championships which will be held on Kauai.
Micah Kamuela Nobriga-Ferris set the pace for the boys’ field as he’s done from the start of the season, crossing the finish line of the 3-mile course in 18 minutes, 35 seconds.
“That was a hard 18 minutes,” said coach Basil Scott, the KIF timekeeper and an avid runner. “This is a fairly uphill course so it was not an easy 18-minute run.”
Following Nobriga-Ferris, Kauai’s Noice (19:37) and Matsumoto (19:42 filled in the second and third overall slots.
Interrupted by Island School’s Michael Miller (19:45) in the fourth overall berth, Andrew Herr, of Kauai, crossed the line on a 19:56 run before Waimea’s first runner, Mikey Rita (19:58) crossed sixth overall.
Braden Andrews, of Kapaa, finished at 20:16, seventh overall, Kapaa’s second runner, but Kauai’s Charles Samuel (20:21) all but locked up the race in eighth overall, the fourth Kauai runner across the line. Joshua Manini (21:48) locked up the Red Raider win in 16th place.
Kauai boys finished with 34 points followed by Kapaa High School at 54 points, staying just two points ahead of Waimea, which collected 56 points, and Island School boys at 76 points.
On the girls’ side, Kapaa women held off Island School by just four points, the Warrior wahine ending with 47 points followed by the Voyagers at 51 points. Kauai girls filled in third place with 60 points, followed by Waimea at 70 points.
Island School’s Chan Hsu set the pace for the girls’ race, crossing first following a 21:38 run, just ahead of Kauai’s Krista Schnackenberg who recovered after being taken off the course during last week’s race. Schnackenberg finished second overall at 21:57.
“She was a little apprehensive about going out today,” said Krista’s father. “We took her to the doctor following last week’s incident, but found nothing wrong. I just told her to go out and ‘take it easy.’”
Following Schnackenberg, Kapaa’s first runner, Cassie Wilson (22:52) was unchallenged in third overall before Island School’s Carolyn Price (23:31) crossed.
“This weather and course is mixing up the finish order,” Scott said, as Waimea’s Talia Young (23:42) rounded the final turn in fifth followed by Kauai’s Heidi Herr (23:58) and Sydney Brady (24:02).
Kapaa locked up the win as Vernon (24.43), Grimsoom-Armstrong (24:53) and Hernandez (25:16) crossed in ninth, 10th, and 11th, overall. Malia Hickey (26:30) finished 14th overall.
Makena Olson (25:51) crossed 13th for Island School and kept the Voyagers in the race until Hickey crossed ahead of Gianna D’Annibale (27:05), who triggered a string of Voyagers, including Madison Moore (27:08) and Jade Murphy (27:12).
The cross country circuit gets a bye next week due to the fall break, and resumes with the KIF championships, at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 19 at the Island School course. The state meet is scheduled for Oct. 25, also at Island School.
• Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.