Sunday | April 19, 2015
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HPA girls finish second at state meet

WAIMEA — The powerful Punahou girls stopped Hawaii Prep from defending its title, and Seabury Hall’s Dakota Grossman claimed her third individual title at the Hawaii High School Athletic Association cross-country championships on Friday.

The host Ka Makani finished runner-up behind Punahou in the girls team scoring, while Grossman showcased her running talents again on the hilly HPA course.

Kamehameha-Oahu’s Davis Kaahanui captured the boys individual title with a time of 17:07.

“I won it my freshman, sophomore and this year my junior year,” Grossman said.

Things haven’t changed for Grossman. She always tries to get out fast — and at the state meet, she had lots of harriers willing to do just that.

During the three-mile race, Grossman led from start to finish with Punahou’s Elli Brady and sister Teri Brady staying close behind.

“My father, Bobby Grossman, has been coaching me since I was little,” Grossman said.

Grossman won the race in 20 minutes, 21 seconds, with HPA’s Zoe Sims becoming the first Big Island Interscholastic Federation finisher in fifth place with a time of 21:00.

Other BIIF girls medaling at states (top 20) were HPA’s Erin Evans (seventh, 21:21); HPA’s Kristiana Van Pernis (ninth, 21:40); Hilo’s Carmen Garson-Shumway (19th, 22:13); and Hilo’s Mehana Sabado-Halpern (20th, 22:20).

There were chants of “Go, HPA” erupting from the partisan crowd, but Ka Makani couldn’t quite duplicate their success from last year on Maui.

“I’m happy with my race, and I did have a (personal record) on this course today,” Garson-Shumway said. “I went out more relaxed but wasn’t able to stay with my friends from HPA, except for Mariah (Haight).”

Salbado-Halpern allowed her adrenaline to carry her to a medal.

“I was really excited, and this was my first cross-country state meet,” she said. “I didn’t allow those negative thoughts to creep into my head.”

Punahou regained the girls team title, and coach Duncan MacDonald was quick to point out his Big Island ties.

“I was born in Hilo,” MacDonald said. “This is a great cross-country course. We would be happy to run here every year because this is a true cross-country course, and the course is challenging.”

MacDonald had kudos for his girls, saying, “They are great, and very coachable.”

Punahou won the title with 42 points. HPA was second with 72 points, followed by Kamehameha-Oahu (186) and Mid Pacific Institute (205).

Kamemaha-Hawaii was ninth overall with 247 points, and Hilo 10th with 255 to round out the top BIIF schools.

For the boys team title, Kamehameha-Oahu, under coach Steve Jenness, returned to the winners’ circle for its 11th state championship in 16 years.

“I would like to have the state meet here every year, ” he said. “This type of course, I feel, is one of the best cross-country courses in the state.”

Jenness is in his 29th year at the helm.

In the boys’ three-miler, Parker’s Paul Gregg earned some validation by becoming the first BIIF harrier to cross the finish line.

“My goal today was just to come in first from the BIIF,” Gregg said.

He did just that by finishing 22nd overall at 18:30, two places out of pocketing a state medal.

“This was redemption, pretty much a payback for letting Honokaa’s Tony Conners win BIIFs,” Gregg said.

Conners finished in 51st place with a time of 19:13.

Waiakea’s Ian McQuate was the only one to challenge Gregg, finishing 31st with a personal record of 18:51.

“I passed Ian with (a half-mile) to go in the race,” Gregg said. “I feel as though I am going out on top as a senior.”

In boys team standings, six-time BIIF champion Honokaa placed 12th with 315 points, while Kealakehe (13th) had 337, and Kamehameha-Hawaii (14th) had 345.

Lupe Diaz returned an HPA boys scoring team for the first time since 2010 and had hoped it could break into the top 10 at states, but Ka Makani finished 17th overall.