Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Road To HPA - 10/11/08

"You have to wonder at times what you're doing out there. Over the years, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement."

Steve Prefontaine

With the Punahou invitational and the O.I.A. Western and Eastern championships in the record books and league championships only weeks away, it is time to look at each of the top 5 teams and their personnel heading toward
the state meet.

#1 Mililani: 6th at state meet last year.

The most improved team from last year. Led by Kristin Ali Keith, last year's state champ, and Nicole Painter. Pros: Kristin now has a supporting cast to back her up. Cons: Mililani is hard to beat on a flat course, but it will be interesting to see how they run on the very hilly HPA course.

#2 Kamehameha: 4th at last year's state meet

Lost to Mililani by one point at the Kaiser invite. Are led by Ashlee Jimenez and Noelani Mikami. Pros: They run in a tight pack, so far that has worked. Cons: Last year they started off the same way but in the end had trouble with injuries. Will they be able to hold it together till the end.

#3 Seabury Hall: 2nd at last years state meet.

I call this team the little giant. Why? Little because of their high school size, only 300 students. Giant, they have the most talented group of female runners in the state for the size of their school. Led by Hailey Grossman, 5th at states last year, and a much improved Lea Lundblad. Pros: They have the ability to dial it up at the state meet. Cons: Their 3,4 and 5 are question marks.

#4 Punahou: 1st at last year's state meet. Their coach, Duncan Macdonald, was an Olympic runner and broke Steve Prefontaine's 5k record, need I say more. Led by Julia Brand, a hurdler turned distance runner. Pros: Their coach. Cons: Lost their 1,2 and 5 from last year but have depth. Could surprise at sate meet.

#5 Pac-5

Even though they will not be running at states I'm giving Pac-5 the nod as the 5th best team in the state. They are led by Julie Besenbruch of Maryknoll.

Individual Rankings for this week for this week.

1. Bailey Massenburg
2. Sarah Clapp Kaiser
3. Hailey Grossman Seabury Hall
4. Jenna Wong Iolani
5. Tialana Greenwell Honokaa
6. Julie Besenbruch Pac-5
7. Haley Abing Pac-5
8. Nicole Painter Mililani
9. Kristin Ali Keith Mililani
10. Ashlee Jimenez Kamehameha


Enrico Suave said...

"The Road to HPA" seems to have morphed from its original title and format of being a "State XC Prediction" and more of a Weekly performance ranking, although sometimes it seems that not running that week is more beneficial, as it allows you to retain your previous weeks ranking. I'm all for a weekly ranking, since it highlights the great achievements by the athletes during the week and gives them the recognition that they deserve. As far as the prediction for the outcome of the State Championships are concerned, I believe Sarah Clapp should still be ranked #1, since she is one of only 3 girls in the State to break 19 min. on a course, and has proven herself in head to head competition with several of the ranked runners. Former State Champs Julie Besenbruch and Kristin Ali Keith should not be counted out as they have shown flashes of brilliance throughout the season, showing they still know what it takes to win. The see-saw weekly performances of many of the top athletes may also be an indication of the type of rigorous workouts they are enduring in preparation for one of the most challenging State Championship courses.

Ben said...

Oahu's cross country times have been consistently quicker than the outer island times. At HPA earlier this season, the times were relatively slow, but the Kamehameha girls were slower than Massenburg and Grossman from Maui. Last weekend, Hailey Grossman came to Oahu and tied the course record at Punahou, posting her fastest time of the year. This suggests that the outer island courses may be tougher, thus slower times, than the Oahu courses. It will be interesting to see how the atheltes fare at the State competition when they all meet at HPA! Good luck girls!