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Cross Country Runs Toward Season Start

By Rick Schonely, Sports Reporter

The Molokai High School Boys and Girls Cross Country teams begin their season later this month with trips to Maui to compete. The boys are led by 17-year coach Ghandharva Mahina Hou Ross and the girls are coached by Eugene Santiago, in his fifth season. Ross’s son and recent graduate Keaoalono Ross is helping his Dad this season.

Santiago has six girls on his team this year: Kamahina Kaiama-Kanuha (junior), Kelsey Juario-Bicoy (sophomore), Keeya Juario-Bicoy (freshman), Cameron Kahalewai (freshman), Kaitlyn Naeole (junior), and Kayla DeRouin (freshman).

Santiago said he is pleased with the team’s progress and their training.

“The girls normally run a three-mile course during practice and this helps them to have a feel for what it is like to finish a three-mile course, especially for the newer runners,” he explained. “Besides emphasizing conditioning and eating right, a lot of effort is spent on teaching them to stay focus on what they’re doing. It is easy to get distracted by everything that is going on around them, but staying focus helps them to stay in touch with their performance and what is going with their body.”

Santiago stresses that his runners must be mentally strong in order to compete on a high level.

“Extra emphasis is always placed on building their mental ability rather than their physical abilities,” he added. “The attempt is to teach them that in order for them to do well, they must let the mind run the body, and not the body run the mind, because the tendency is for the body to give up, but the mind will continue to push, if it is trained to do so.”

The girls will travel to Maui on Sept. 17 to complete in the West Side Invitational at the Kapalua Golf Course.  They will also compete at the Kamehameha Schools Campus on Oct. 1. The MIL Championships are on Oct. 22. The 2016 Cross Country State Championships are on Hawaii Island this year on Oct. 29 at Hawaii Preparatory Academy in Waimea.

On the boys’ side, Ross said he is ready for the season to start.

“We have a good team this year with 12 runners, a good mix of returning runners and first time runners,” he said. “They have been training hard over the past few weeks and look forward to upcoming competition.”

The boys team consists of seniors Jake Samaniego, Michael Sterner and Eric Svetin; juniors Kreole Pawn-White, Nainoa Kahale, Kaeo Adolpho, Kaina Adolpho and Diego Dupont; and freshmen Dylan Aquino, Cobra Curtis, Karter Kester and Robert Mawae.

The boys’ schedule is a bit different than the girls’ this year, said Ross.

“Our first race of the year was cancelled due to Hurricane Lester so our first race will be on Sept. 24 at Seabury and then on Oct. 8 at King Kekaulike.”

The MIL JV championships will be on Oct. 15 at Seabury and MIL championships will be on Oct. 22 at Kahului Community Center. The state championships are on Oct. 29 at Hawaii Prep Academy on Hawaii Island.

“We are looking forward to doing well at MIL competition and hopefully qualify a team for the state championships,” said Ross.

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