WAIMEA — Kauai High School placed seven finishers in the top 12 and Island School’s Carolyn Price broke the 20-minute mark during an Kauai Interscholastic Federation cross country meet Thursday.
Kapaa girls eked out a hard-fought first-place finish by three points over Island School girls, 31-34, and the Kapaa boys came back to capture second place over host Waimea by five points, 64-59.
“We practice at this time, and this is our home course,” said Deven Hartsell, Waimea’s top boy finisher, who was fourth overall in 17 minutes, 38.30 seconds.
The hometown advantage worked for the blueshirts in the first two miles. The Menehune men jockeyed with Warrior greenshirts before being outdistanced in the final mile in temperatures in the upper 80s but made a little more tolerable by whispers of wind creeping down the Kokee slopes.
“We had them,” Waimea coach Dalton Matsuyama said. “But we came up short on our No. 4 and 5 runners.”
Hartsell was followed by Kekoa Kimata-Lopez (17:58.60) in the No. 7 spot followed by Marcus Pereira (18:29.40) to anchor the No. 10 spot.
Kapaa’s Braden Andrews finished second in 16:57.80 to Kauai’s Dutch Fairbanks’ 16:40.10.
The Warrior boys filled in the No. 12 (John Uribe 18:49.10), and opened the floodgates with finishes No. 14 (Kai Mahroney 19:08.60), No. 15 (Caden Donner 19:17.70), and No. 16 Justin Franklin (19:18.70) to lock up second place with 59 points, ahead of Waimea, who posted 64 points after its fourth (Keahi Mattos 20:14.70) and fifth (Terrell Nishimori 20:18.8) scoring runners filled in the No. 24 and No. 25 spots.
Red Raider men filled in the No. 3 (Tytan Heresa 17:16.00), No. 5 (Andrew Herr 17:55.20), No. 6 (Kane Casillas (17:55.80), No. 8 (Gunner Vallatini 18:19.70) and No. 9 (Jacob Herr 18:26.50) spots to accumulate 23 points.
The Island School boys, whose first runner crossed No. 13 (Tai Mitchell 19:02.5), finished with 101 points. Braden Richardson stopped the clock in the 46th position at 22:07.90 as the sole male runner representing Kauai Christian Academy, the newest member school of the KIF.
Price set the pace on the girls’ course and finished first in 19:26.80.
“She had a 19:59 before,” said Basil Scott, training the team of scorekeepers. “At 19:26.80, that is a pretty good improvement.”
Island School’s Gianna D’Annibale (20:14.20) followed in the No. 2 position. From there, things got interesting as Kapaa girls filled in the No. 3 (Kelsea Armstrong 20:23.70) and No. 4 (Victoria Hennessy 20:31.60) positions.
Kauai broke the deadlock as its top runner, Rachel Medeiros commanded the No. 5 spot on a 20:56.70 run.
“We’re still missing our two top runners, Sydney Brady and Crista Schnackenberg, who are nursing injuries,” said Kauai coach Fred Sasan. “We really need to get them started, again — just get them ready.”
Kapaa swung into the lead as Heather Faretta (21:04.40) and Juliana Tampus (21:12.20) filled in the No. 6 and No. 7 positions.
Kauai’s Kristin Chun (21:20.00) filled in the No. 8 spot.
Yellowshirts crossing in the No. 9 (Jade Murphy 21:41.40) and No. 10 (Makenna Olson 21:43.60) meant the No. 5 runner for either side would determine the leader.
Seconds ticked and eyes scanned the empty final turn until Nevaeh Arruda-Kapu swung the tide to Kapaa, filling in the No. 11 position on a 22:16.40 run, followed by Island School’s Sarah Graves (22:17.60).
“This was a close race,” Scott said. “With two races on the calendar (following Saturday’s meet), this means all of the races, including the KIF championship, now become real important.”
Arruda-Kapu’s crossing gave the girls’ race to Kapaa, whose team finished with 31 points, three points ahead of Island School at 34 points. Kauai High School finished with 65 points followed by Waimea, whose lead runner, Akime Dizol crossed 22nd overall at 23:50.10, collecting 111 points.
“Don’t count Kapaa out yet,” said Warrior coach Kara Kitamura. “There are still races to be run.”
Joy Burns (29:07.40) and Mallori Richardson (31:59.40) filled in the 63 and 67 positions, respectively, representing the Kauai Christian Academy.
The runners next line up at the Island School course in Puhi on Saturday. The race starts 8 a.m.