Waipio Peninsula, Oahu - The Interscholastic League of Honolulu (ILH) began its 2011 Cross Country season at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Park Saturday. Course conditions were difficult with the heat and strong trade winds for the non-timed and non-scored practice meet. This year’s first meet introduced minor changes as the traditional Open 2-mile and Varsity 3-mile format gave way to 3-mile JV and Varsity races.
In the Boys Varsity race, the I’olani Red Raiders showed early season strength as they finished their top five runners in the top nine. In the day’s most exciting finish, Senior Troy Isaki (16:40h) edged out Kamehameha Junior Charles Akiona (16:41h) in a home stretch sprinting duel. I'olani senior Zach Masuda finished third in an unofficial, hand timed 17:31.
In the Girls Varsity race, Punahou’s Elli Brady, I'olani’s Breanne Ball and Kamahameha’s Kauwela Neal opened on the pack in the first quarter mile, setting a blistering initial race pace. Brady (18:40h) gradually opened a 19 second lead on Ball (18:59h), with Neal finishing third at an unofficial mark of 19:45. Post-race, I'olani Head Coach Chet Blanton commented, “These are really fast times. The top fifteen or twenty runners were one – two minutes faster than in last year’s first meet.” Meanwhile, the Buff-n-Blue girls finished their top five runners in the top seven.
In the JV Boys race, Saint Louis established dominance by race mid-point as four runners broke from the pack with one I'olani runner in tow. In the last mile, Kevin Marx (18:30h) surged ahead to a 15 second win over teammate Joey Sisler (18:45h). Meanwhile, Sisler held off I'olani’s Jarren Takaki (18:47h) in an exciting finish.
In the JV Girls race, Island Pacific Academy’s Jennifer Borzilleri (21:44h) broke away from the pack in the first mile, eventually opening a 23 second lead over Punahou’s Nanea Tuttle (22:07h) and Sarah Tyler (22:12h).
ILH Cross Country competition continues next Saturday at Kualoa Ranch/9:00 AM for the season’s first officially timed meet.