WAIMEA — At the Waimea Invitational cross country meet Saturday, Kauai High School runner Dodger Middlebrook said it’s not about the time.
A spectator from the sea of multi-colored supporter shirts said Middlebrook had broken 17 minutes for the three-mile course that snaked around the Waimea High School campus.
“It’s not about the time,” Middlebrook said. “It’s about how much improvement I made from last year, and how much more I can achieve.”
Middlebrook was the first finisher in the boys race, tripping the clock at 16 minutes, 42.30 seconds. He was challenged throughout the course by Kapaa’s Garret Smith who crossed the lines five seconds back (16:47.50).
The overall team scoring was taken by Island School who placed its top five runners in the first 11 places, led by Henry Scherer, a strong Junior Lifeguard competitor who crossed fourth overall (17:52.50) followed by Matthew Vickers (6th-18:20.70), James Pratt (8th-1829.00), Joshua Graves (9th-18:33.30), and Ian Penner (11th-18:34.90). Ben Griep finished 12th overall for the Voyagers at 18:47.50 giving Island School boys the team scoring at 38 points.
Kauai High School followed at 53 points, just six points ahead of Kapaa’s boys at 59 points. Waimea, despite having Braden Lumabao finish third overall at 17:46.00, rounded out the leaderboard at 71 points when the Menehune’s second of its top five runners crossing in 13th place when Ky Niccole tripped the clock at 19:07.80.
Kauai Christian Academy also fielded runners in the boys race, its first of three runners crossing 18th overall when Kevin Cabreira tripped the clock at 19:26.10 and the second KCA runner, Tyler Waechter crossing 48th overall (23:15.80). KCA’s third runner did not finish.
KCA did not field any runners for the girls’ race this year.
Kauai’s Mia Takekuma topped the girls’ field on a 20:28.80 run, challenged on the final leg by Island School’s Ella Beck (20:30.85), and Kapaa’s Victoria Hennessy (20:31.20).
Takekuma’s finish led the Red Raider wahine to the top overall girls’ scoring at 43 points followed by Waimea coming in at 58 points, just five digits ahead of Kapaa (63 points) and Island School (63 points).
Following Takekuma, Kauai placed its second runner, Kristin Chun at sixth overall (21:01.50) followed by the next grouping led by Nicole Matsushige (11th-23:37.90), Stacie Schnackenberg (12th-23:42.50) and Starlyn Soares (13th-23:43.80).
Waimea’s first runner, Lacey Bagain, was not in the first grouping of runners, coming in seventh overall on a 22:28.90 after Kauai, Island School, and Kapaa already placed two runners on the board.
Bagain was followed by Samantha Bostick (9th-23:18.80) and Kari Correa (10th-23:21.90) to gain the team lead.
Following the grouping by Kauai High School girls that clinched the team scoring, Waimea stayed ahead of Kapaa when Jenessa Freitas crossed 15th overall (23:51.50), and locked up second place with Amber Drake crossing 17th overall on a 24:15.90 run.
The Menehune presented medals to the top 20 finishers for the boys and girls races.
The Waimea Invitational sets the stage for the Kauai Interscholastic Federation meets which start Saturday at Waimea High School; the boys’ race begins at 7:30 a.m.