Voyagers sweep cross country

PUHI — This is the first time the girls get to go to states as a team, said Island School coach Eric Wortmann Saturday following the Kauai Interscholastic Federation cross country championships at the Voyagers’ course.

“The boys have gone to states as a team before,” Wortmann said. “But this is the first time the girls get to go as a team.”

The Island School girls, led by the strong and consistent running of Carolyn Price, earned the honor of advancing to the Honolulu Marathon Hawaii High School Athletic Association event by winning the KIF meet and title Saturday.

With its top five runners crossing among the first 13 runners, the Voyager women tallied 34 points, Kapaa’s girls following with 44 points. Kauai High School girls filled in third at 52 points followed by Waimea with 100 points, its first runner, Akime Dizol, crossing the line ninth overall with a run of 23 minutes, 35 seconds in a downpour.

“It was wet out there for sure,” said Price, crossing first at 21:17. “But everyone ran well. We trained hard for this and it’s a good way to end an exciting season.”

Other Voyager girls adding to the scoring unit included Gianna D’Annibale, making the move to third overall over Kapaa’s Kelsea Armstrong in the final mile, stopping the clock at 22:04 to Armstrong’s 22:24. Makena Olson beat out Kapaa’s Nevaeh Arruda-Kapu at the line on a 23:27 run, a second ahead of the Warrior (23:28).

Jade Murphy (23:54) and Madison Gregor (24:04) rounded out the Island School scoring girls.

“We’ve won volleyball games before,” said Kaipo Kealalio, the Island School athletic director. “But this is the first time the Island School girls have won a cross country meet. It’s been a good week for the Voyager athletes.”

Kauai’s Sydney Brady, dogging Price throughout the soggy three miles, crossed second overall on a 21:45 run, exclaiming “I didn’t throw up!” to an excited supporter.

Fred Sasan, a Kauai coach, said the girls have been battling the cold bug.

“Krista Schnackenberg (14th-24:08) has been out all week, coming back to school on Thursday to be eligible to run,” Sasan said. “Her sister, Stacie (7th-23:31), is going to be a good runner.”

The Voyagers completed the sweep of the KIF cross country championships when Michael Miller led the Island School boys to the title with 34 points, identical to the girls’ score. Its first four runners crossed among the first eight finishers, and the fifth runner crossed 14th overall as Kyle Leibow stopped the clock at 20:30.

Michael Miller topped the field on a 17:40 run in humid conditions following the downpour which drenched the fields.

Michael Miller jumped out to the lead from the onset and staved off a last-mile challenge from Kapaa’s Micah Nobriga-Ferris for the overall win, Nobriga-Ferris coming in with everything he had to stop the clock at 18:00.

Nobriga-Ferris’ performance led the Kapaa boys to a second-place finish at 42 points followed by the Kauai boys tallying 51 points and Waimea rounding out the field at 99 points.

“Entering the final mile, I just felt good and went for it,” Michael Miller said. “I was hoping to take 15 or 20 seconds off my time.”

Nobriga-Ferris’s mother said the two runners were neck-and-neck on the turn leading to the tree line.

“But on the turn, Micah rubbed knees with Michael,” she said. “That must have aggravated his knee because he was on Michael’s tail all the way up the tree line. On the downhill, Michael built his lead, crossing 20 seconds ahead of Micah.”

She said Micah will have his knee looked at before heading for the state meet scheduled for Nov. 1 at the Central Oahu Regional Park.

Kauai’s Charles Samuel, rebounded from a disappointing 2013 season after being disqualified during the championship, finished first for Kauai, third overall on an 18:49 run.

“These boys had a great season,” said Sasan. “Reyson Agcaoili (9th-20:04) and Sean Graefen (13th-20:29), I’m proud of them and what they did out there. Our goal was for these kids to be the best runners they can be at the end of the season. I’m proud of all of them for what they accomplished.”

Wortmann said the Island School runners are a great bunch of kids.

“They are a great group of kids,” Wortmann said. “I love being with them, and they do a great job out there.”

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