Star-Bulletin Sports

Sunday, September 16, 2001


Cross country teams
run with a purpose

By Jerry Campany

They say that running is therapeutic, that when you are troubled, a little run, alone with your thoughts, can help.

So it was for Hawaii's colleges, who assembled their cross-country teams to compete in the Brigham Young-Hawaii Invitational yesterday as scheduled. They showed up and ran, despite the fact that nearly every NCAA event scheduled for the weekend was canceled due to Tuesday's terrorist attacks on the United States.

Hawaii-Hilo was the only program to not show up for the event, in part because of the logistical nightmare caused by airport closings and because its runners still needed time to heal emotionally from the attack.

But Hawaii's other colleges did show up and got back to business as usual.

"I think the entire team is still being hit by this," Hawaii Pacific coach Vien Schwinn said. "But we can only dwell on this for so long before we get on with healing and try to continue to do what we are supposed to do."

When asked if running was part of the healing process, Schwinn said, "For us it is."

For the record, BYUH won the women's competition 38-46 over HPU, and the HPU men beat BYUH 28-44.

Nina Christensen showed up for the women's race expecting to face off with Hawaii's Cheryl Smith, but was denied the chance after Smith showed up late and ran a fifth-place time of 20:07. Christensen ran the course in 17:47, three seconds better than teammate Sayuri Kusutani.

"It's kinda sad," Schwinn said. "Nina mentally wanted to do that (face Smith) and it interfered with her preparation."

Lisa Blomme of HPU took third and Kristi Woolley of BYUH finished fourth. Hawaii took third with 47 points while Chaminade scored 113 to finish last.

Christian Madsen of HPU once again was hardly challenged in the men's race, running the course in 25:51, easily outdistancing teammate and second-place finisher Abdeslam Naji's 27:15. Madsen was able to stay focused on the task at hand enough to beat his time from last week by a full minute.

"When I run, I only think about running," Madsen said. "I was thinking about it (the attack) on the bus and I'll probably think about it when I get back on the bus."

Kyle Briggs of BYUH took third ahead of Chaminade's Buck Stone. Jedediah Wheeler of BYUH held off a late charge from HPU's Siul Michel to take fifth place, nipping the surging Michel by only three seconds.

Schwinn said that the main thing is to bring everybody in the country together, which was what yesterday's event was about as much as it was about team points and individual times.

Each head coach at the meet gave his or her athletes an out, telling them that if they did not want to run they would not have to. But still the athletes showed up ready to run and support their friends and teammates.

Hawaii Pacific runner Christine Patrick nearly did not show up for the meet in favor of attending church, but rearranged her schedule to be with her teammates and ran a 15th-best time of 21:04.

"Like anything else, you focus on what you are doing," BYUH coach Norman Kaluhiokalani said.

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