Girls Cross Country Update

Written by Iolani coach Gregory Char after consultation with other coaches

After the first month the girls cross country season can be summed up in one word -- CHANGE. 

Additions and losses of runners has changed the scope of things and it looks like there will be close, exciting races for titles at the League and State level.

No. 1 Iolani's losses combined with No. 2 Kamehameha's additions have turned the ILH title race into a toss-up.  Those two remain the frontrunners for the State title. 

Mainland transfers have helped Moanalua to challenge Mililani and Pearl City for the OIA title.  Talented freshmen are making their marks all over the place most notably at Kamehameha, Punahou, Baldwin and Hawaii Preparatory Academy.

A common theme among all of the top teams is a 1-2 punch up front.  Development of the rest of their squads may decide who finishes on top.  It could come down to the fifth runner, or even the sixth runner.

Two notable transfers have changed the landscape for the race to be the fastest female prepster in Hawaii.  Tia Ferguson has not only returned from California to Seabury Hall, but she has done so in dramatic fashion. She placed second in an extremely deep and talented race at the Iolani
Invitational.  Her time was the same as last year's winner, who went on to place 11th at the Footlocker National meet.  Ferguson also placed fifth at the Stanford Invitational against some of the best runners on the West Coast. 

Emily King of Moanalua has come in from North Carolina, and she comfortably won her first race, defeating last year's state champion -- Nicole Anderson of Iolani -- by 14 seconds.  Hawaii Baptist Academy's Lauren Ho has emerged as one of the state's best, as has Iolani's Joleen Oshiro.  Kamehameha's Jessica Domingo will also be in the mix and now has company from teammate Haunani Kane, who has improved dramatically, finishing just nine seconds behind her in a 2.4 mile race in California. 

Waiakea's Tamarah Binek looked strong with a win in her first race. Right behind her was a duo from Hawaii Preparatory -- Keri Ogden and Tanya Lewis.  The two came back to beat Binek the following week, when Binek was suffering from chronic back problems.

Baldwin's Marie Janiszewski and freshman Maris Van Der Lee have been dominating Maui competition as Ferguson has been running in off-island meets.  Ferguson is the one to beat now, but how the others finish may go a long ways in deciding which team is the best in Hawaii. 

All of the top girls will not face each other until the State Meet on Maui on November 15.  Talk about anticipation.......

Note: Kauai will begin its season  Saturday, October 4.

Top-10 Girls Team Rankings

1.    Iolani = The two-time defending state and I.L.H. Champions returned only four runners from its 2002 team.  The No. 3 and No. 5 runners transferred out, taking the Raiders down a notch.  They are relying on top JV runners from 2002 to help fill the voids.  Joleen Oshiro has emerged to form a formidable 1-2 punch with defending state champion Nicole Anderson. The Raiders will need their leadership to fend off Kamehameha and others. Highest local place finish at the Iolani Invitational and first place in the Kaiser Invitational keeps this team No. 1.

2.    Kamehameha = The Warriors not only returned six runners from the team that placed third in the 2002 state championship, but they added a slew of quality athletes to give them great depth.  This was evident as they swept the JV and Varsity divisions at the Ram  Invitational in California. Their younger runners have improved and are running strong as a pack.  2002 state meet runner-up Jessica Domingo continues to lead the team, and Haunani Kane has blossomed into a serious threat.  The Warriors have  closed the gap on No. 1 Iolani and it should be an exciting "dogfight" between these two teams all season.

3.    Punahou = The Buff 'n' Blue appear to be just fine despite the graduation loss of four tremendous runners.  Newcomer Caitlin Killam (sister of all-stater Carly Killam) has given this team a huge boost. Piper Marshall has made great gains, running close to Katie Cragie, who finished 12th at the HHSAA meet in 2002.  Amara Humphrey appears to have bounced back and is running well again.  Emergence of a quality fifth runner will put this team into the ILH and state meet hunt.

4.    Mililani = The defending O.I.A. Champions placed fifth at states last year, returned all seven runners, and look as good as advertised early. The team placed third at the Kaiser Invitational.  The Trojans are led by Sara Mitman and Deanne Soon, who placed  11th and 21st, respectively, at Kaiser.   Excellent depth and experience has this squad on the edge to contend for the State crown as well.

5.    Moanalua = The surprise team in early season action.  The squad has been bolstered by a handful of transfers, including two junior standouts. Emily King won the Kaiser Invitational and Elisabeth Erupt placed seventh. When the JVs are moved up this team should be in the O.I.A. title hunt.

6.    Pearl City = Veterans Kari Tanimoto and Chimene Sienkiewicz are in fine form, already placing sixth and eighth, respectively, at the Kaiser Invitational.  They will lead some new, young runners into the chase for an O.I.A. crown. 

7.    Baldwin = The Bears have been dominating in Maui and look to take their first M.I.L. crown in many years.  They are led by Marie Janiszewski and freshman Maris Van Der Lee, who placed an excellent 28th and 29th, respectively, at the Iolani Invitational -- fourth and fifth among locals.

8.    Waiakea = The Warriors have looked pretty good in their bid to win the B.I.I.F. and improve upon their sixth place finish at states.  They are led by veteran seniors Tamarah Binek and Angela Beck.  The return of their whole team from 2002 gives them the experience edge over rival HPA in the early season.

9.    Hawaii Preparatory Academy =  Ka Makani have added some quality runners who have them in position to defend their B.I.I.F. title.  They are led by the vastly improved Tanya Lewis and freshman Keri Ogden.  Their battle with Waiakea will be fierce all season.

10.   Kapa`a = The K.I.F. Champions lost their No. 1 runner to graduation, but return three solid runners.  The returning troops are led by Liana Nakazawa.  Addition of Kamehameha transfer Kristy Nagahisa will help tremendously.

Top 20 Female Rankings = Midseason
(Year in school in parentheses)

 1.    Tia Ferguson (12) - Seabury Hall
 2.    Emily King (11) - Moanalua
 3.    Lauren Ho (10) - Hawaii Baptist Academy
 4.    Joleen Oshiro (11) - Iolani
 5.    Nicole Anderson (11) - Iolani
 6.    Jessica Domingo (12) - Kamehameha
 7.    Tamarah Binek (12) - Waiakea
 8.    Katie Cragie (11) - Punahou
 9.    Kari Tanimoto (12) - Pearl City
10.   Elizabeth Ertsi (11) - Moanalua
11.   Chimene Sienkiewicz (11) - Pearl City
12.   Piper Marshall (10) - Punahou
13.   Megan Chock (10) - Iolani
14.   Haunani Kane (11) - Kamehameha
15.   Keri Ogden (9) - Hawaii Preparatory Academy
16.   Tanya Lewis (10) - Hawaii Preparatory Academy
17.   Marie Janiszewski (11) - Baldwin
18.   Maris Van Der Lee (9) - Baldwin
19.   Kelsey Harrity  - Konawaena
20.   Emalia Suehiro (11) - King Kekaulike