Molokai Represented by Four Runners at States
Last year, cross country runner Luke Kikukawa was Molokai’s only representative at the state cross country championships, but this season, he didn’t have to go alone. He and four other teammates qualified for states, and four total Farmers ran at the event last Saturday.
“It gave me a lot more confidence,” said Kikukawa. “During the lineup I had three people with me instead of just [being] by myself. It was a lot less intimidating.”
Joining Kikukawa were Keaolono Ross, Markis-Grayson Aldridge and Kaina Adolpho. This year’s championship featured 199 girls and 199 boys from across the state. Ross was the top Farmer finisher at 67th place overall. Markis-Grayson Aldridge came in at 116th place, followed by Adolpho (194th) and Kikukawa (196th).
Kikukawa said he was proud that several Farmers qualified for states and that the team was competitive all season. Molokai runners had multiple top 10 finishes in Maui Interscholastic League (MIL) meets and ended the season as the league’s Division II champions. Those were lofty accomplishments for head coach Mahina Hou Ross and interim coach Manu Adolpho, who took over late in the season for Ross, who is currently aboard the Hokule`a on its Worldwide Voyage. Although this is Adolpho’s first season as coach, he is no stranger to the scene, having won the individual MIL cross country championship for Molokai in 2006.
Aldridge and Kikukawa ran their final race as Farmers. The boys’ team will also lose Hunter-Gabriel Manaba, Manu Baldus and Tanner Mosher, who qualified as an alternate for states in the event that two runners couldn’t compete. Ross, a junior, will be returning next season.