PUHI — The weather at Kauai Community College was hot and humid enough to inspire Kauai High School cross country runner Sydney Brady to coin a new descriptive term Saturday morning at the Kauai Interscholastic Federation race.
“It was *, * hot,” said Brady, who finished the girls’ race fifth overall on a run that stopped the clocks at 25 minutes, 01.11 seconds. “I’m so stoked for Mia (Takekuma, first overall, 22:14.46) and Tori (Victoria Hennessy, Kapaa, third overall, 22:35.37). I like this new course, though. It was just really hot out there.”
The new course finished the three-mile tour in two laps, expanding to 1.5-mile loops with the start being pushed back toward the KCC garden and automotive shop entrance. This resulted in a long downhill leg and the finishers heading to the chute on a downhill run compared to the former uphill climb in the previous layout.
“I think I started out too strong,” Takekuma said. “But I was excited, and I think I lost my energy when the gun mis-fired on the start. The hills were really hard, and even if we practiced on this new course, I missed one of the turns and had to go back.”
Following Takekuma across the line, Hennessy led a troop of Kapaa girls, including Juliana Tampus (4th, 24:16.02), Leila Nelson (8th, 25:15.08), Grace Stokes (10th, 25:41.11), and Kahlil Shockley (11th, 25:45.11) to capture the girls’ race on 36 points.
Kauai girls followed with Takekuma leading a pack of Raider runners, including Brady, Kristin Chun (6th, 25:14.68), Dillyn Sakai (13th, 26:08.99) and Stacie Schnackenberg (15th, 26:21.43) for a team total of 40 points, a mere four points behind the Warriors who were missing the services of one of their strong runners.
Waimea girls rounded out the team scoring on 68 points. The lead Menehune runner, Lacey Bagain crossed 7th overall with a 25:15.08 run.
Island School’s Carolyn Price finished second overall on a 22:17.08 run, dogging Takekuma through the three-mile run.
“I was pleased with my time and placement,” Price said. “I really liked this new layout. It was like running on a new course, but it was really hot.”
On the boys’ course, Kauai High School boys continued to set the standard, pushing four of its top finishers across the line in the top 10 runners, led by Kane Casillas who regained the top spot on a run of 18:42.02.
“I just zoned in,” Casillas said. “I tried not to think of anything else — just run.”
Red Raider runners filled in the third (Jacob Herr, 19:57.99), fourth (Dodger Middlebrook, 20:17.43), fifth (Dutch Fairbanks, 2018.65), and 14th place (Micah Matsunaga, 22:04.71) to preserve its lead in the boys rankings at 27 points.
Kapaa boys challenged with Garret Smith crossing second at 19:15.27, and also placing its top four finishers in the Top 10, including Keon Orlando (7th, 20:30.65), Sage Iona (8th, 20:33.58), and John Uribe (9th, 20:40.14). Its fifth scoring runner, Gabriel Franklin, finished 12th on a 21:46.62 run to give the Warriors a team total 38 points, despite Franklin crossing ahead of Matsunaga.
“Micah Matsunaga!” said Kauai coach Fred Sasan. “His father is not even here — he’s out on the golf course coordinating a tournament. But Micah came through.”
Marissa Purcel, the Kauai head cross country coach, said they were missing their normal boys fifth-place runner.
“No. 6 had to step up to No. 5,” Purcell said. “Micah came through for us.”
Island School, led by Joshua Graves crossing sixth overall at 20:19.43, finished with 68 points followed by Waimea. Its first runner, Braden Lumabao, crossed 10th at 20:47.84, and Waimea finished with 90 points.
Island School hosts the next KIF cross country meet Saturday at its Puhi campus with the first race starting at 7:30 a.m.