HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Matt Nakamoto of Hawaii Baptist Academy beat Chris Burniske of Punahou to the finish line in the ILH Boys championship yesterday at Central Oahu Regional Park.
Nakamoto nips Burniske
It was a sweet 16th birthday for Matthew Nakamoto.
The Hawaii Baptist Academy junior edged Punahou's Chris Burniske in thrilling fashion to capture the Interscholastic League of Honolulu varsity boys cross country individual title yesterday.
"I knew (the race) would be tough," said Nakamoto.
Nakamoto finished in 16:50.70, a mere twenty-six hundredths of a second in front of Burniske (16:50.96), whose finishing kick fell just short.
Nakamoto and Burniske waged a back-and-forth duel over the 3-mile course at Central Oahu Regional Park, trading the lead several times.
Burniske unleashed a furious charge down the home stretch, which Nakamoto just managed to fend off.
"(Chris is) not a runner who'll give up," said Nakamoto, who later was serenaded by his teammates in celebration of his birthday.
"I don't even want to know how fast (Matthew's) legs were going," said a gracious Burniske after the race. "He's like a blur -- like on one of those cartoon shows."
Burniske and his Buffanblu teammates claimed the boys team title, with Iolani taking second. Kamehameha -- led by third-place finisher Nathan Nakatsuka (17:30) -- finished third.
Haley Abing continued her domination of the ILH girls field, capturing the varsity girls individual crown. The La Pietra junior, competing for Maryknoll, turned the 3-mile course in 19:52, outdistancing her nearest competitor by 17 seconds.
Amanda Tamanaha, a St. Andrew's Priory junior, outsprinted Iolani sophomore Jenna Wong to claim second in 20:09.
Abing's Spartans edged Punahou for the girls team title, with Iolani taking third.
The Oahu Interscholastic Association championships followed the same course after the ILH championships, and the results followed a storyline familiar to regular race watchers.
Mililani sophomore Kristin Ali Keith seized control of the varsity girls race and outpaced the field to take first in 19:58. Dayna Domingo of Pearl City finished second in 20:26, with Leilehua's Savannah Lowrie (20:40) claiming third.
"I was just trying to get out fast and then stretch it out," said Keith.
Leilehua captured the girls team title, with Mililani finishing second. Kahuku finished third.
Bryce Jenkins of Leilehua continued his mastery of the varsity boys field, posting a swift 16:14 time to take top individual honors. Jenkins' teammate Paul Williams finished second in 16:19, with Dawnons Vorderbruegge of Kaiser taking third (16:45).
Jenkins, a junior, was pleased by his Mules capturing the boys' team title.
"As a team today, we performed better than we ever have," Jenkins said.
Radford finished second in the boys team chase, with Mililani taking third.
Qualifying runners head to Maui this week to compete in the Honolulu Marathon/Hawaii High School Athletic Association cross country state championships on Friday at the Kapalua Village Golf Course.