Kualoa Ranch, Ka’a’awa Valley, Oahu (9/17/2011) - Hawaii’s Punahou Girls outran six of seven mainland teams to the finish line in the Girls Varsity race at Saturday’s I’olani Invitational - in one the most competitive cross country invitational races held in Hawaii this year. Only nationally ranked Dana Hills (Dana Point, CA) bested the Buff-n-Blue after an impressive display of team running by both schools.
Meanwhile, Dana Hills senior Sheridan Gomez and Punahou junior Elli Brady broke away from the pack early in the second mile, and fought a surging duel that continued to the finish. With a quarter-mile to go, Sheridan (18:45) accelerated to open an eight second margin over Brady (18:53) on the hot and hilly 3-mile course. In the last mile, I’olani’s Breanne Ball (19:07) surged past Marywood’s (Palm Valley, CA) Alexia Velarde (19:24) to take third.
In the Boys Varsity race, the Leilehua Mules showed discipline in the first half of the race, and then made a team move in the second half to best Laguna Beach of California. Individual winner Elliot Estrada (16:15) of Leilehua was as much as 15 seconds off the lead group’s pace early in the race, but he surged ahead to take the lead in the last 200 meters over Laguna’s Jeff White (16:16) and I'olani’s Troy Esaki (16:22).
In the Girls 3-Mile Open race, Dana Hills showed the depth of their program by scoring a perfect 15 points in their win over Punahou. In the Boys 3-Mile Open race, Saint Louis scored a narrow one-point victory over I’olani (42-43). In the Intermediate races, Mid-Pacific Academy displayed impressive depth by dominating and winning both the girls and boys divisions on the two mile course.
The ILH cross-country season continues next week at the Honolulu Marathon – Kaiser Invitational.