HIGH SCHOOL CROSS COUNTRY
Jenkins, Ali Keith run to state cross country titles
A lot can happen in 25 years, and it took the Leilehua Mules that long to make a run at school history.
Led by Bryce Jenkins, the Mule boys captured first place at the Honolulu Marathon State Cross Country Championships yesterday on Maui.
Leilehua became the first public school to win the boys state championship since Radford in 1982. This time, it was Jenkins who led the pack and captured his second straight individual crown. All five Mules placed among the top 25 runners on a hot, windless morning at Kapalua Golf Course.
Jenkins covered the hilly, muddy 3-mile course in 16 minutes, 7 seconds -- 30 seconds ahead of teammate Paul Williams (16:37). Mules Juan Miguel Silva (sixth, 16:49), Margarito Martinez (12th, 17:06) and Alan Akagi (20th, 17:31) rounded out a furious finish for Leilehua. Matthew Nakamoto of Hawaii Baptist was third in 16:45.25.
Jenkins, a junior, became the first repeat winner since Matt Stevens of Hawaii Baptist took three in a row in 1994-96.
As a team, the Mules totaled 37 points, well ahead of second-place Kamehameha (99) and third-place Iolani (116). It was the lowest point total for a winning team since Kamehameha scored 37 behind Justin Peterson in 2000.
Kristin Ali Keith, Mililani's super sophomore, led the girls race with a time of 19:31. She outlasted La Pietra's Haley Abing (19:41) and King Kekaulike's Bailey Massenburg (19:55).
Punahou won the girls team title with 64 points. Seabury Hall (72) and Iolani (107) followed. It was the deepest field since 1994, when Hawaii Prep won with a hefty 70 points. Punahou was led by Kristi Torkildson's ninth-place finish, followed by Chelsea Oda in 15th. But the team crown was won by the trio of Farrah Madanay (22nd), Courtney Choy (23rd) and Breehn Sasaki (24th). The Buffanblu have won three straight team titles without having the individual medalist in any of them. Iolani won three team titles from 2001 to 2003.
Ali Keith, like Jenkins, has been a phenom since arriving at Mililani last year.
"It was really hilly, but it felt pretty good. The finishing hill was pretty rough," she said.
Ali Keith will not have much time to relish her state championship as she plans to travel to Walnut, Calif., for the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships West Regional on Dec. 1.
Keith and Abing broke away from the lead pack after the 1.5-mile mark. Her strategy was to follow the lead pack for the first mile before making a move during the second mile, leaving the rest of the runners to see where she stood. And it was over as soon as she made her move, leaving the rest of the field in the dust just as she had in four previous races this season.
She passed Abing in the second mile and didn't look back. Now she will have the pressure of trying to become the first girl to repeat as champion since Lauren Ho of Hawaii Baptist did it in 2004-2005.
"This was one of my goals, so it feels pretty good," Ali Keith said.