Kauai High School cross country coach Marissa Purcel’s vision of having a successful Red Raiders’ program has become a reality since she took over five years ago.
The Red Raiders will send 11 boys and girls to the 2019 Honolulu Marathon Cross Country Championship Saturday at Seabury Hall in Maui.
Kauai High had 53 runners on their teams.
“This is one of the best groups I’ve ever coached,” Purcel said. “There is a lot more interest in cross country, and it’s gotten bigger every year since I’ve been coaching.”
The Red Raiders had hasn’t gone unnoticed by other KIF coaches.
“I must give kudos to Marissa, and Kauai for having 11 kids qualify for the tournament,” said Island School coach Eric Wortmann. “Having that amount of kids in a state meet is exceptional.”
Kapaa High School Ann Hettinger observed the camaraderie between all of the island schools as they head to states.
“I am very proud of all of the kids,” Hettinger said. “I am super excited for all our state racers, and we keep cheering them all on the more kids get involved. Sports are amazing, and there are so many kids on the island are involved makes a huge difference.”
Several Kaui competitors will look to make an impact during the 2019 state race. Below are some of the qualifiers and the coaches’ interpretations of their progression for the entire year.
Burgess hopes to make a statement at state
Red Raiders freshman Emma Burgess captured the KIF cross country championship Oct. 20 at Waimea High School with a time of 20 minutes, 46 seconds.
Burgess will lead the way for talented Red Raiders, sending 11 to state.
“She’s been the lead runner throughout the season, and her work ethic pours into every single race,” Purcel said.
The Red Raiders will have three seniors that qualified for states.
Mia Takekuma, Nicole Matsushige, and Malia Splittstoser will add state experience for their team.
At the KIF, Takekuma placed sixth in 23:14, Matsushige finished seventh in 23:16, and Splittstoser placed tenth in 24:02.
“The three seniors have done a great job of being captains for the team,” Purcel said. “They are just a great group of girls.
Molly Wallace overcame several obstacles throughout the season and hopes to finish strong.
Wallace’s fifth-place KIF finish of 22:01 at state could be improved.
“She is determined to do well for herself and the team,” Purcel said.
Freshman runner Kamaira Silva, who converted from a swimmer to runner this season, finished in the top 10 at the KIF in 24:01 and hopes to make an impact at state.
Sophomore Kiele Casillas, who finished 11th in 24:10, continues to push herself.
“She sets such high expectations for herself and knows how to reach it,” Purcel said. “All of my girls are very determined, and they set high expectations for themselves, and work very hard to reach them.”
Red Raiders’ boys hope to make an impact in Maui
The Red Raiders High School boys team boasts a lot of experience as they prepare to head into the state.
Jaheim Scobugh, who finished 10 at KIF in 19:23, is dedicated to the sport.
“He doesn’t ride a vehicle to work, and he rides his bike to practice,” Purcel said.
Brennen Corregedore, placed in the top five of the KIF, is just one of many Red Raiders looking to make an impact.
Sam Israelson, Damon Johnson, Jeremy Herr all finished in the top 10.
Israelson finished sixth in 18:51, Herr recorded a seventh-place time of 18:59, and Johnson finished eighth in 19:10.
Cade Myers also finished 11th in the KIF with a time of 19:38.
Voyagers by the busload
Island High School Voyagers coach Eric Wortmann brings an equally impressive lineup to state.
Seniors, Matthew Vickers, Joshua Graves, and Eli Ibbs, finished in the top three.
Vickers finished first at KIF in 17:37, Graves finished second in 17:51, and Ibbs finished third in 17:57.
“It’s a strong group of three senior boys, and started running together when they were in eighth-grade,” Wortmann said. “Their success is partially a culmination of five years.”
Christian Carrington, a transfer from Oregon, placed fourth in 18:11.
Others Island runners include James Pratt, who finished ninth in 19:23.
Other runners include Bradley Pratt, James Pratt’s brother, Spencer Summerhays, and Ryan Stevens, all who finished in the top 20 in the KIF.
David Carlsson qualified for state in his first-ever year as a runner, 13th at KIF in 19:40.
Voyagers girls send four
The Island High School cross country girls team is sending four and is looking to bring home some hardware, Wortmann said.
Ella Beck, Olivia Lutkevich, Jaden DeSouza, and Skyler Stewart all qualified for state.
Beck finished second with a KIF time of 21:01, Lutkevich placed third in 21:38, and DeSouza’s clocked 21:51 to place fourth. Freshman Stewart finished 24:21.
Warriors boys, girls, optimistic
Kapaa High qualified one boy and three girls.
Hettinger tries to get her team prepped for the unexpected during the state meet.
Ala ‘Alakai’ Gonsalves had a 12th-place finish at the KIF in 19:39.
“He is a perfect spot to do well for himself, and he works super hard and is a very focused and talented runner,” Hettinger said.
Other runners for Kapaa include Coral Haeger, who finished 17th at KIF, and Jessica Drent, who placed 24th at KIF.
Meah Jensen, and Nicholad Uribe both qualified but couldn’t make state because of other commitments.
Menehune send three
Kealiimalu Kaawa was the sole Menehune boy to qualify for state.
At KIF, Kaawa finished in 19:50.
“He’s a runner who knows his pace, and he’s really strong, especially in the second and third miles,” Menehune coach Dalton Matsuyama said.
Jenessa Freitas is a multi-sport athlete.
Freitas time at KIF was 24:49 and good for 18th place. Kaya Akana finished 16th in 24:41.
“I am really proud of how my runners handled themselves, and their attitude, teammates, and coaches, and my state qualifiers, I’ve had a fun season working with this group of kids,” Matsuyama said.
All of the area coaches have concluded they are representing the islands as one team, not separate teams as they compete during the regular season.