KEALIA — Kauai High School runners filled the top finisher positions for the girls and boys Kauai Interscholastic Federation races, but Kapaa High School took the team wins Saturday at the Kauai Ranch in Kealia.
“I told the boys there is still a lot of races left and anything can happen,” said Fred Sasan, a Kauai High School coach. “And it did.”
The race was delayed by at least 30 minutes due to a traffic accident in Kaumakani which delayed the arrival of several Waimea runners and coach.
Kauai High School fielded Dodger Middlebrook first across the line on a run of 18 minutes, 49.02 seconds followed by Kane Casillas crossing at 18:57.74 at the race.
Kapaa took the boys’ team scoring with 39 points followed by Kauai at 48 points. Island School filled in the third position at 65 points and Waimea rounded out the leaders with 72 points in the downpour that soaked the final runners making their way up the hill.
On the girls’ race, Kauai’s Mia Takekuma picked up her third first place finish, crossing on a run above the 20-minute mark at 22:17.37 after being slowed by the course and hampered on a final turn miscalculation forcing her to double back and retrace the proper course.
“I forgot,” Takekuma said with a sheepish grin and reinforcing her statement with the lilting of her hand. “The course was so-so.”
Following the first two runners for each school, Kapaa pushed Leila Nelson (11th-26:10.84) and Kahlil Shockley (12-26:11.96) across the line to lock up first place with 30 points. Kauai followed at 43 points, Waimea taking third at 76 points and Island School rounding out the leaderboard at 81 points, despite its lead runner, Carolyn Price crossing the line third overall at 23.10.11.
Lacey Bagain claimed first-to-finish for Waimea in sixth place with a 25:04.52 run.
“We had our chance,” Sasan said. “During last week’s race in Waimea, a lot of the Kapaa girls were out due to ACT testing, but we still came up short by three points.”
Entering Saturday’s race, Sasan said Middlebrook had to finish first.
And he did.
“From third, to second, to first place,” said Dodger’s father Jim. “He’s moving. He learned all that through soccer.”
Dodger said he took the lead about half-mile into the race and maintained the lead through the three-mile course.
“Kane’s mind (Casillas 2nd-18:57.74) wasn’t here today,” Dodger said. “The hill? That was bad, too.”
Dodger and Casillas filled in the top two spots in the boys’ race before Kapaa pushed Garret Smith (3rd-19:18.02) and Sage Ioanna (4th-20:00.43). Kauai answered when Jacob Herr crossed sixth at 20:23.74.
Kapaa surged into the lead when its next three runners filled in at 11th (Kean Orlando-21:12.34), 12th (Rafael Sifuentes-21:26.18), and 13th (Keanu Brown-21:35.52) places before Kauai’s fourth runner crossed at 17th place, Micah Matsunaga stopping the clock at 21:58.62.
Top boys runner for Island School was James Pratt who crossed fifth overall on a 20:10.11 run and Braden Lumabao crossed the line first for Waimea in eighth place with a run of 20:43.90.
The next KIF cross country race takes place at the Kauai Community College Saturday starting at 7:30 a.m.