2002 Hawaii Cross Country Preview &
Posted on www.sportshigh.com website Sept. 9, 2002
Cross Country Preview - The Race To Be #1
For the first time since 1981 the HHSAA State Cross Country Championships will be held on Oahu which adds to the excitement for the upcoming season. The 2001 individual champions have graduated and many runners have set their sights on becoming the next State Champion. The Iolani girls team will look to defend their title and the Kamehameha boys aim to win their 5th in a row. However, it won't be easy as these teams were hit hard by graduation leaving the door wide open in the team competitions.
The girls division has fifteen out of the top twenty runners returning from the 2001 HHSAA State Championships. However, the top two girls from 2001 have departed leaving the race to be State Champion a free for all. Iolani's Nicole Anderson (3rd in 2001 State Championships), Kamehameha's Jessica Domingo (4th), Lahainalua's Caitlin McDonald (6th), and Farrington's Euvelyn Calma (7th) head the returning group.
The key word for the girls team championship race may be "improvement" as many squads return numerous runners. Whichever team gets the most improvement from their returning runners may be holding the big trophy at the end.
Opposite of the girls, the boys graduated many of the top finishers from 2001. In all, only fifteen out of the top forty boys return from the 2001 State Championships. The top three boys from 2001 were Seniors leaving the individual championship up for grabs in 2002. Kamehameha's J.B. Bolson (4th) and Sam Wescoatt (8th), Iolani's Patrick Morrissey (5th), Hilo's Ben Johnson (15th), and Aiea's Stephen Meyers (17th) lead the return group in the quest to be Hawaii's best.
With so many runners having graduated the boys team title may come down to which school can develop their younger runners the best. Early season races will indicate who has the inside track to being #1.
The first cross country races will take place on September 14th, and the 2002 seaosn promises to be another exciting year of racing. The State Championships on November 16th will have two new individual champions and will answer the question of which teams are truly No Ka Oi.
The following is a preseason ranking of the top ten teams and top twenty individuals. These rankings are based solely on the returning runners from the 2001 HHSAA State Championships and do not reflect new runners. In parenthesis for the team rankings are the finish places and average times of returning runners from the 2001 State Meet. Average times are based on the top four or five returning runners.
Note: The girls run 2 miles and the boys run 3 miles.
Girls Preseason Team Rankings
#1: Punahou (13:13 avg.) - State runner-up and perennial powerhouse returns six runners including their top five. The Buff and Blue are led by Rachel White (16th), Laura Melahn (19th), and two other Seniors who are hungry to end their cross country careers on a high note. They are the pre-season ILH and State favorites.
#2: Iolani (13:01 avg.) - The ILH and State Champions return four of their top five runners, but lose three Seniors who provided invaluable leadership. Young squad needs to find another runner or two to contend again. The Raiders are led by Anderson and Christi Morrissey (8th).
#3: King Kekaulike (13:31 avg.) - 3rd in 2001. The MIL Champions return four girls including their top three finishers. They are led by Chandrika Bickford (9th) and Emalia Suehiro (10th), and also need just another runner or two to contend. They are the MIL favorites.
#4: Kamehameha (13:45 avg.) - 4th in 2001. The Warriors return six runners including four of their top five. With a strong tradition, and leadership by Domingo, they will compete for the top spot.
#5: Pearl City (13:59 avg.) - 7th in 2001. The Chargers return five girls including two top twenty finishers - Kari Tanimoto (15th) and Chimene Sienkiewicz (17th). With a very strong returning team, Pearl City is the OIA favorite and a contender for the State title.
#6: Hawaii Prep (14:31) - 10th in 2001. The BIIF Champions return all seven runners and are favored to win the BIIF again. The Kamakani's are led by Mari Okami, and will be much improved and in the hunt all season.
#7: Mililani (14:21 avg.) - The Trojans did not have a complete team at the 2001 State meet, but had four runners all of whom return. Deanne Soon (26th) is their top returning runner.
#8: McKinley (14: 27 avg.) - Like Mililani, the Tigers also did not have a complete team at the 2001 State meet, but return their four runners who did race. They are led by Sheena Thain (10th).
#9: Kaiser (14:41 avg.) - 8th in 2001. The Cougars return four girls, but lost their top three to graduation. Kassia Salazar is their top returning runner.
#10: Hilo (14:57 avg.) - 11th in 2001. Hilo returns six runners including four out of their top five. They are led by Malia Ahu.
Girls Preseason Individual Rankings (grade).
1. Nicole Anderson (10) - Iolani
Boys Preseason Team Rankings
#1: Kamehameha (17:11 avg.) - Four time consecutive State Champions! The Warriors returns four runners and are led by Bolson and Wescoatt. They will need to find another runner or two to make it five in a row.
#2: Punahou - The ILH Champions and State runner-ups in 2001. The Buff and Blue return only two boys, but consistent depth and strong tradition make them a threat again. Led by Satoshi Mitsuda (19th).
#3: Hawaii Prep (17:37 avg.) - 8th in 2001. The BIIF Champions return four runners including their top three. Led by Jared Chapman (12th) they are favored to win the BIIF again. The Kamakani's are only a runner or two away from being the best.
#4: Radford (17:50 avg.) - 5th in 2001. The Rams return four boys and are the pre-season OIA favorites. They are led by Andrew Maixner (14th) and will be there at the end.
#5: Iolani (17:54 avg.) - 12th in 2001. All seven runners return for the Raiders! They are led by Morrissey and will contend with a veteran crew.
#6: Aiea (18:00 avg.) - 7th in 2001. The Na Alii return five runners including four of their top five, but lost their top runner to graduation. The are led by Meyers, and with a much improved squad will be in the hunt.
#7: Baldwin (18:06 avg.) - 13th in 2001. The MIL Champions return five boys including four out of their top five and are favored to win the MIL again. Their top runner is Ian Martin (30th), and the Bears will be tough once more.
#8: Farrington (18:12 avg.) - 11th in 2001. The Govs return five runners including four out of their top five. They are led by Rei Alzate (18th).
#9: Kauai (18:21 avg.) - 17th in 2001. Kauai returns four runners including four out of their top five. Ross Brandeburg is their top returning runner.
#10: Maui - The sleeper team. The Sabers return three excellent runners headed by Nick Jachowski (40th).
Boys Preseason Individual Rankings (grade)
1. J.B. Bolson (12) - Kamehameha
Copyright 2002, The Hawaii High School Athletic Association