Leilehua sweeps; Jenkins, Keith get individual wins
Somewhere in the embattled nation of Iraq, a proud daddy is smiling.
Bill Keith didn't get to see his ninth-grade daughter, Kristin Ali, compete for the first time as a Mililani Trojan. What she managed to do despite his deployment last summer continues to be remarkable.
Kristin Ali Keith, all but 5 feet and change, captured the Oahu Interscholastic Association girls cross country individual championship yesterday. Keith, of Mililani, led the field through 3 miles at Central Oahu Regional Park with a time of 20 minutes and 17 seconds on a sunny, breezy afternoon.
Keith took to the grassy slopes of the course with glee.
"I like hills. My race plan was to go out hard, settle into my pace and go hard at the end," she said. Her dad e-mails with advice freely, she added.
"It's just different stuff that helps me, like my race plan," Keith said, also giving credit to friends on the Mililani boys squad. "The guys on the team push me. I think that helps a lot. I've gone through this pain, so I know I can do this."
Dayna Domingo of Pearl City placed second at 20:36, followed by Lei Aloha Bratton of Kaiser and Kelsie Sugahara of Roosevelt.
In the boys race, Leilehua sophomore Bryce Jenkins captured the individual championship with a time of 16:39, well ahead of teammate and runner-up Jon Chun (17:29).
Like Keith, Jenkins has a father, Bruce, who is deployed overseas. Bruce was able to fly in from Kuwait and attend yesterday's meet due to a serious illness in the family, but he wasn't able to help Bryce when he turned an ankle in the latter stage of the race.
"I stepped in a hole at the bottom of the hill," Bryce said of the last half-mile. "I was like, 'No!' I kept running and it stretched out."
Jenkins was aiming for a sub-16-minute finish.
"I would've had it," he said.
The Mules made it a banner day, becoming the first school to sweep the boys and girls team titles since Roosevelt did so in 1997. For the Mule boys, it was a repeat from last season's championship effort.
Leilehua had never won the girls title since the inception of cross country in the OIA 24 years ago. It was a balanced effort for the Mules, who were led by seventh-place finisher Savannah Lowrie.
"The boys did so well last year, and that pumped them up," coach Lenalynn Miyamoto said. "They said, 'Coach, we want what the boys have.' "