PUHI — The Island School cross country teams swept their home meet, but not without a strong challenge from the Kauai High School teams Saturday in escalating heat compounded by humid conditions.
The Voyagers’ boys team edged Kauai High School by four points at 33 points followed by the Red Raiders at 37 points. Kapaa, having one of its early runners disqualified for impeding a runner, filled in the No. 3 spot at 65 points followed by Waimea boys at 95 points.
On the girls’ course, Island School’s Carolyn Price set the pace with a run of 21 minutes, seven seconds over the three-mile course to capture 35 points followed by Kauai’s girls finishing with 40 points. Kapaa girls were third at 51 points followed by Waimea rounding out the field at 107 points.
“Coach told me to stay behind the leaders,” said Island School’s Michael Miller, who topped the boys’ field at 17:42 followed 16 seconds later by Kapaa’s Micah Nobriga-Ferris (17:58). “That’s what I did — follow the coach’s one-line text.”
Nobriga-Ferris dug his way out of the starting pack, eventually claiming the No. 1 spot more than midway through the three-mile course.
With the finish line looming, the Kapaa runner relinquished his lead to Michael, crossing the line clutching his chest.
“Sometimes you need to lose to win,” Nobriga-Ferris said, stumbling the final steps in the finish chute to his waiting mother.
Michael said he felt good heading toward the finish line.
“I had injured my left foot and had no practice for the week,” Michael said. “But I felt good and made my move about at the 12, or 13 minutes mark. I came into the race expecting to finish second, or third, but after making the move on Micah, I pushed it.”
For the Voyagers, the difference in the boys’ race came when the first four runners crossed in the top six finishers while Kauai’s first runner finished third. The Red Raiders’ four scoring runners filled in seventh through 10th places, but that was not enough to get past the Voyagers, which got its fifth runner crossing in 17th place overall.
Following Michael Miller, Island School counted on Josh Miller (4th-18:38), Kyle Riddle (5th-19:00), Tai Mitchell (19:29), and Micah Asuncion (17-21:22).
Kauai’s top runner, Charles Samuel, held his strong position throughout, crossing third overall at 18:28 followed by Dutch Fairbanks (7th-20:01), Reyson Agcaoili (20:02), Andrew Herr (9th-20:15), and Sean Graefen (10th 20:16).
“My shoulders, ankles, and chest were hurting real bad,” said Fairbanks, a freshman who topped the Kealia course last week.
Devon Hartsell set the pace for Waimea’s boys, crossing 12th on a 20:42 run, an improvement over the Kealia race where he crossed 17th.
Price set the pace on the girls’ course, crossing on a 21:07 run, better than the 22:59 pace set last week in Kealia.
“The run was about the same as last week,” Price said. “But it was a lot hotter.”
Sydney Brady of Kauai, who crossed second at 22:00 and first for Kauai, agreed.
“It was a million, gazillion hot,” Brady said. “At the start, there were two girls ahead of me. I said ‘Sorry’ and just ran past them.”
After scrambling off from the outside, Brady dogged Price throughout the three-mile course.
Her teammate, Krista Schnackenberg, on the other hand, laid back and ran with her sister Stacie through the entire race, stopping the clock fifth at 23:18.
“I’m getting her ready for the Kauai Interscholastic Federation championship run,” Krista said. “I pushed her through the race to get her up. I know she can do it. Today was to help her get ready.”
Following Price, Island School scoring girls included Gianna D’Annibale (4th-23:11), Makenna Olson (7th-23:35), Jade Murphy (10th-23:57), and Madison Gregor (13th-24:10).
Following Brady and Krista, Kauai’s scoring girls included Stacie Schnackenberg (6th-23:19), Kristin Chun (11th-23:58) and Lianne Tanaka (16th-24:33).
“I like it when girls cross the line, crying,” said Fred Sasan, a Kauai coach. “That means they gave it everything they had. Lianne ran a very good race today.”
Kelsea Armstrong, finishing third overall, set the pace for Kapaa at 22:08, and Akime Dizol, crossing 15th overall, did the honors for the Waimea girls at 24:28.
“We’re really hungry now,” Sasan said after discovering the teams’ loss to Island School. “We’re going to have to work even harder and smarter.”
The final cross country meet, the KIF championship, is scheduled for Oct. 18 at Island School starting at 8 a.m.