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[ HIGH SCHOOL CROSS COUNTRY ]
HBA’s Ho cruises to title
One day, it may well be destined, Lauren Ho will become an official spokesperson for PowerBar.
After all, a career chock full of Peanut Butter PowerBars and saltine soda crackers for pre-race energy have done the Hawaii Baptist Academy junior a lot of good.
Then again, maybe the talented runner would win championships on nothing more than a wing and a prayer. Ho finished off a remarkable unbeaten season by capturing the Honolulu Marathon Girls State Cross Country Championship yesterday morning at Hawaii Preparatory Academy.
Ho covered the hilly 2-mile course in 12 minutes, 34.95 seconds, beating Iolani senior Nicole Anderson by 30 seconds, with Hawaii Prep's Lucy Pollard finishing third. Kamehameha, which finished second in the ILH team competition, captured the state title by 22 points over Iolani. The Warriors pulled off a sweep in the boys race, beating Punahou by 34 points. Emmett Weatherford picked up some pride for Hawaii Prep by taking the individual boys title.
Sunny skies and a lack of wind at the normally breezy HPA campus in Kamuela, near Waimea, gave runners complete leeway.
"I felt comfortable," said Ho, who won her first state crown after capturing her second Interscholastic League of Honolulu title last week. "We've been resting this week, so I felt fresh."
Her time at the halfway point, 6:15, was uncharacteristic, but predictable.
"I went a bit slower. There's a big hill, so that helped me to conserve energy," she said. "I was pretty alone."
After the first quarter-mile, she had no company. And now, Hawaii Baptist has its first cross-country champion, just three years after starting the program.
"It feels awesome. I wanted this since I was a freshman," Ho said.
HBA athletic director Deren Oshiro credited coach Ross Mukai, while also congratulating Ho's perseverance.
"Once in a while, there's an athlete who is both talented and motivated. She's a good student and everyone likes her," Oshiro said.
Weatherford was talented and motivated enough to outkick Kamehameha junior Jeremy Kamakaala by just a quarter of a second and take the boys' individual title on his home course.
Weatherford finished the course in 17 minutes, 21.65 seconds, while Kamakaala was credited with a time of 17:21.90. Punahou junior Peter Deptula finished third in 17:49.20.
Although he had to settle for second in the race, Kamakaala left with a share of the team title, while Weatherford's Hawaii Prep squad finished in a distant fourth place behind Iolani.
Punahou stayed with Kamehameha through the first three spots but dropped off the pace after that.
Deptula was one spot behind Kamakaala, while Owen Martel beat Kamehameha's Jesse Moniz to the line to erase the advantage. Aaron Domingo broke the tie for the Warriors by coming in 16th, three spots ahead of Punahou's Troy Yasuda.
Jeremy Lota and Mahi Crabbe strolled across the line in 21st and 22nd to clinch the crown for the Warriors when the best the Buffanblu could do is 30th- and 44th-place finishes from Mike Wong and Paul Nelson.
Kamalu Beamer finished 23rd for Kamehameha, but only the top five scores count toward the team score.
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