PUHI — Kauai’s Dutch Fairbanks and Island School’s Carolyn Price continue to set the pace in the Kauai Interscholastic Federation cross country series, both runners finishing first in their respective races to set the pace for the field.
Running in near-ideal conditions of tradewinds cooling the clear morning air, Fairbanks was the sole male runner to break the 18-minute mark at the Island School-hosted event. He set the pace with his first finish which stopped the clock at 17 minutes, 55.70 seconds, the first of six Kauai runners to finish in the top 12.
Joined by Tytan Heresa in the No. 3 spot (18:24.40), Andrew Herr in the No. 5 spot (19:01.40), Gunner Vallatini in the No. 6 spot (19:07.20), Kane Casillas in the No. 7 spot (19:09.90), and Reyson Agcoili in the No. 11 spot (19:42.70), the Red Raider men continued to dominate the cross country series, earning top honors at 22 points, a point better than the make-up race held Thursday at Waimea High School.
With the win, the Kauai boys remain undefeated at the top of the division with one race Saturday at Kapaa, and the KIF Championship remaining.
Fairbanks was dogged nearly the entire 3.25-mile course by Kapaa senior Braden Andrews, who finished in the No. 2 spot at 18:03.70. Andrews was absent during the Waimea Invitational preseason match, but appeared at all the other races to challenge Fairbanks on the course.
“Braden is really strong,” Fairbanks said. “I was able to make the move on him at the end, but he worries me because he is so strong.”
Andrews was joined by Manuel Dominguez (18:36.90) in the No. 4 spot, Sage Ioanna (19:15.40) in the No. 8 spot, Caden Donner (20:01.50) in the No. 13 spot, and John Uribe (20:24.80) in the No. 15 pole for Kapaa’s 42 points and second place.
“I love running,” Andrews said. “The course was a little slippery, today — especially on the curves — but Dutch finished at 17:55 and I was at 18:03. That’s eight seconds in a quarter-mile beyond three miles. It’s OK.”
Waimea, who placed runners in the No. 9 (Kekoa Kimata-Lopez 19:25.50) and in the No. 10 (Devon Hartsell 19:37.70), finished the meet in third place with 83 points followed by Island School, placing its lead runner, Tai Mitchell (19:52.10) in the No. 12 position, with 86 points.
Price crossed the finish line on a 21:09.00 run to set the pace, followed by Gianna D’Annibale (21:47.50) in the No. 2 spot on the girls’ course.
Those performances set the stage for a repeat of Thursday’s race in Waimea where Kapaa High School women captured overall team honors on its fifth runner by three points over Island School.
Kelsea Armstrong set the pace for Kapaa, crossing in the No. 3 spot at 22;02.10, dogged by teammate Victoria Hennessy who filled in the No. 4 spot at 22:08.70 to set the seesaw in motion.
“I have been running good since Thursday,” Armstrong said. “There has been a lot of good energy with the team. I got out slower and kept my pace early in the race. I have a tendency to pick up speed during the race and I let that happen.”
Island School, with runners filling in the No. 1, No. 2, No. 7 (Makena Olson 23:07.30), No. 10 (Jade Murphy 23:28:.40) settled for runner-up honors as its fifth runner, Sarah Graves (24:25.00) and sixth runner, Rebecca Stevens (24:36.00) filled in the No. 15 and No. 16 spots.
Headed by Armstrong and Hennessy, Kapaa filled in the No. 6 (Juliana Tampas 22:43.10), No 8 (Heather Faretta 23:16.90), and No. 11 (Tessa Ramsey 23:52.90) to collect 32 points and team overall honors, just two points ahead of Island School’s 34 points.
Hennessy said she was satisfied with her run because this was not one of her favorite courses.
“This course is relatively flat,” Hennessy said. “I like hills.”
In the race for its fifth runner, Ramsey turned on the turbo chargers in the final 25 yards to overtake fellow Warrior wahine Lily Stokes (23:54.40, No. 12), Nevaeh Arruda-Kapu (23:56.20, No. 13) and Brianna Binder (24:09.30, No. 14).
Kapaa coach Kara Kitamura said she just told the girls to run from the heart, not the mind.
Kauai High School, with Rachel Medeiros (22:31.00) in the No. 5 spot and Sydney Brady (23:25.30) recovering from her injury to the No. 9 spot, finished with 66 points as more Raiders became victimized by injuries and the flu bug.
Kauai coach Fred Sasan said a few more Kauai runners were out for this race.
“We’re still short two of our strong runners,” Sasan said. “With just one more race before the KIF Championships, it should get very interesting — if we can become healthy and have everyone running.”
Breeann Cayaban (25:46.10) led the Waimea girls who collected 116 points to round out the leaderboard.
The next KIF cross country meet takes place Saturday, hosted by Kapaa High School at Kealia Ranch, where the gun sounds on the first race at 8 a.m.