Sunday, September 16, 2012

Iolani Invitational write-up by Northgate HS coach, Peter Brewer

The Hawaii trip was all that could be expected, and then a little more. Aside from the fabled Hawaiian hospitality, gorgeous weather, and remarkable beaches, the races were exciting too.  The girls' varsity race turned out to be a barn-burner, as the highly ranked Dana Hills  (D-I) and Palos Verdes (D-III) teams were clearly aiming at each other and promising to turn the event into a dual meet.  Clovis came along with other ideas, and was a strong factor as well.  Palos Verdes turned the race around with a strong 2nd half surge after Dana Hills looked in charge early, and Clovis was just a notch behind those two in the final team standings.  San Jose's own Lynbrook High took 5th.

Wonder-frosh Mikayla Sodersten of Clovis (pictured above) tore to the lead early and then ran away from the race for a very impressive win.  Local junior Dakota Grossman (Seabury Hall, Maui) gamely gave chase and was only outsprinted at the end by Palos Verdes' Cassidy Webber.  NorCal representation in the top 10 came via Lynbrook's Grace Ling in 6th, and Northgate's Ami Boucher in 7th.

The boys' race didn't appear to have the same pre-race drama, as Palos Verdes was a clear favorite for the team title, with Clovis willing to give them a chase. It turned as anticipated with PV putting on a classic clinic in pack running with their top 4 (places 2-3-4-5) in a :07 grouping with # 5 only :30 back of that.  Clovis was only a slight phase shift back and also had the team pack idea well-rehearsed.  Their top 4 (places 7-8-9-10) were within :16 of each other, and #5 :40 back of that.  Lynbrook again showed up near the top of the team standings with a 4th place in this race.

Danny Stalters of Northgate added some NorCal luster to the proceedings with a clear win.  The race stretched out at about the 3/4 mile with, with Stalters leading the PV pack at that point and the Clovis pack and local runner Davis Kaahanui of Kamehameha a gap behind.  The race essentially stayed that way for the next two miles to the finish.

There was some coach discussion post-race that the actual race distance might have been a bit longer than the posted 3.0 miles, as the humidity and terrain were not considered strong enough factors to account for the times being a tad off expectations.  But then again, that was probably just idle coach talk.

The Iolani school did a bangup job on the meet organization, especially in welcoming their mainland guests. Especially impressive was their huge Sports Med complex right at the finish line to take care of runners.  Luckily, the races were held in the late afternoon/early evening, and the light breeze helped too, and there were no medical emergencies so dire that ice, water, and rest couldn't deal with it.

Pictures (such as the one above) and results links posted at the following link:

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