GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
After two years without a teammate, Farrington's Euvelyn Calma is enjoying the benefits of better team turnout.
PushingFOR several seasons, Euvelyn Calma was the entire Farrington girls cross country team.
Calma runs and recruits
for Farrington's growing
cross country team
By Tim Crouse
The number of runners has increased -- to six -- but it's still a struggle from year to year to field a squad.
Calma, who finished second at the Oahu Interscholastic Association cross country championship last season, is now a senior.
She joined the varsity team her freshman year, after winning the OIA junior varsity meet. That season she placed second in the OIA varsity run, pushing herself to the limit and throwing up at the finish line.
At last year's OIA championship meet, Calma led for more than half the race, but was caught and passed by McKinley's Sheena Thain.
"I led three-fourths of the race and at the end Sheena caught me when I was tiring," Calma said.
This season is Calma's last chance to go for a league title -- and make a splash at the state meet.
She had a disappointing finish her sophomore year at states and placed seventh a year ago, 33 seconds behind winner Christal Cuadra of Maryknoll. She and her coaches believe she has the ability to compete with the best of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu and neighbor island runners.
"I kind of expected to do better (at states), but it was a flat course and I'm more of a hill runner," Calma said. "(The finish) was OK, but I wanted to do better."
ONE FACTOR that has helped Calma and other runners in the OIA is better team turnout.
Farrington, Mililani and McKinley were just a few of the OIA teams who could not field complete teams for the state meet last year.
"A lot of it has to do with exposing the sport, getting them to start early in the season," McKinley coach Flori Cabradilla said. "If you can get them to join the outside leagues, that helps, too.
"A lot of kids don't know what cross country is all about. They hear cross country and think they're going to run mountains," he said.
McKinley has 15 girls and seven boys on the roster this season.
Strong recruiting has helped Mililani get a larger turnout this season, and Trojans coach Edwin Alfaro believes that has helped his runners.
"This is the first year we've had a big team," Alfaro said. "We usually get a small turnout because they're afraid of the mileage we run and think they can't handle the workouts. But our roster this year started with 47 (boys and girls, varsity and junior varsity)."
Alfaro said the large turnout will help his top runners, Deanne Soon and Michelle Lee.
"The more people you have, the more team bonding and team feeling you have. Everyone is suffering together. If you're by yourself you can slack off. The competition factor (is huge).
"If you're supposed to beat someone and they're catching up to you, you know you have some work to do," he said.
McKinley is led by Thain, the defending OIA champion. She has battled a left thigh strain and shin splints, but was able to run in last weekend's preseason meet at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex.
The senior, who transferred to McKinley from Kaimuki before her junior year, placed 10th at states last season.
Other OIA contenders include Kari Tanimoto and Chimene Sienkiewicz of Pearl City, Kalani's Nicole Woitovitch, and Castle's Ann Miranda.
AFTER SHE GRADUATES from Farrington, Calma hopes to run cross country in college. She has also participated in track and field events, but likes cross country better.
At the OIA East meet last season, Calma won the 100- and 200-meter races.
"I prefer cross country because it's not all round, you have a course," she said. "It challenges more of your mind and body."
Her coaches, Horace Itoku and Glen Morioka, believe she still needs to work on the mental aspect of running.
"When we first saw her as a ninth-grader, she possessed that drive you can't teach," Morioka said, "the kind of drive where when you come up to pain, she just goes with it. As a freshman it got her through the JV championship and she was second in the OIA.
"Her sophomore and junior year she didn't duplicate what she did as a freshman. It's kind of hard to predict what's going to happen this season. If she wants to excel and brings that determination, then she's a fierce competitor," he said.
Throughout the year, Calma still talks to her friends about joining the team, trying to help Farrington build its cross country program.
"I've tried really hard (to get friends into running)," Calma said. "The ones that come, I try to get them to stay, motivate them, encourage them to keep trying."
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