HIGH SCHOOL TRACK & FIELD
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Chris Burniske of Punahou greeted Leilehua's Bryce Jenkins immediately after Bryce beat Burniske in a record time of 16:28.6 at the Punahou Invitational yesterday.
Jenkins gets course record at Punahou
On a sunny day, Bryce Jenkins and Haley Abing swept the course records away.
Jenkins, a junior at Leilehua, broke the meet record while capturing the boys varsity race at the Punahou Cross Country Invitational yesterday.
Jenkins fended off a challenge by Punahou's Chris Burniske, running strong up, down and around the 3-mile course on the picturesque Punahou School campus to finish in 16 minutes and 28 seconds.
"Our coaches always tell us to give it our all up the hills and down the hills, so I just tried to do that," Jenkins said. "I knew Chris was going to be on my tail the whole way."
Jenkins toed the starting line without his Mules teammates, who were helping host the OIA junior varsity cross country championship meet at Waialua High School. After running with Burniske for most of the race, Jenkins put down the hammer to win going away.
"As we got going, I just took off," Jenkins said.
Burniske, a senior, finished 11 seconds back at 16:39, with Matthew Nakamoto of Hawaii Baptist Academy taking third in 16:52.
Abing, a La Pietra junior running for Maryknoll, took the lead about 2 miles into the race and ran off the rest of the field. In the process, she broke her own meet record, posting a time of 19 minutes, 31 seconds.
"This is my third time running (this course)," Abing said. "I used to make weird turns (here), but I finally got it."
Abing had hoped to better her time of 19:29, which she ran at last week's Kamehameha Invitational. But she was happy to take first in the sun-splashed conditions.
"It was really hot," she noted.
Claire Hann, a Maryknoll sophomore, finished second in 19:39. Iolani's Jenna Wong took third in 19:47.
Palo Alto (Calif.) High School captured first place in the boys team standings with five runners finishing in the top 10.
"Our mind-set coming in was just running as hard as you can," said Jeff Billing, the Viking boys head coach. "This is the beginning of our big push to the end of the season."
Kamehameha finished second in the boys varsity team standings, with host Punahou taking third place.
Abing and Hann led Maryknoll to top honors on the girls' side. Punahou claimed second, with Iolani in third.
The course record also fell in the girls intermediate race. Breanne Ball, an Iolani eighth-grader -- and Jenkins' former neighbor -- established a standard, finishing the 2-mile course in 13 minutes, 22 seconds, delighting her father, just back from a 15-month deployment to Iraq.
"I played sports in high school and college, and nothing beats watching your children compete," said Col. A.T. Ball, smiling broadly.
"And you don't get as tired," quipped Ball, commander of Schofield Barracks' 25th Combat Aviation Brigade.
Both OIA and ILH harriers have entered the home stretch of their respective seasons, with league championships coming up in two weeks at Central Oahu Regional Park, the site of last year's state meet.
The Honolulu Marathon/Hawaii High School Athletic Association cross country state championships take place Nov. 2 at the Kapalua Village Golf Course on Maui.