Always a Voice for Students

Imua ʻIolani

Always a Voice for Students

Imua ʻIolani

Always a Voice for Students

Imua ʻIolani

‘Iolani Boys and Girls Cross Country Look Ahead to 2023 ILH and State Championships

Last year, the ‘Iolani Boys Varsity Cross Country Team captured the HHSAA State Championship title. They hope to have yet another dominant performance this year. // Photo by Mr. Taylor Wong ’08

Imagine running the fastest you can and finishing in first place. However, your teammates do not perform as well and as a team you finish in fifth. This happens for many across the sport where it emphasizes the idea of a team. Cross country is a team sport where winning teams are determined by who has the total number of the fastest individuals. This means a team is as strong as their weakest link. “Everyone on the team has to buy into their roles” and “everyone works equally as well,” says senior Drew Bjornson ’24 who has been running on the team for four years. A school can have the fastest runner in the state, but will still finish poorly if other teammates do not perform well but on the other hand, a school can have multiple strong runners not necessarily in the top of the leaderboard, but still finish as a team near the top. Spencer Lyau ’25 doesn’t think that will be an issue and says “I am proud of how someone would step up and fill the role if someone is running poorly.6”

The ‘Iolani Raiders last year were the Boys State Cross Country Champions and the Girls State Runner Ups. It is extremely hard to repeat this achievement because of the fact that cross country requires everyone on the team to perform strongly. Unlike some other sports, an individual cannot carry a team to victory and for the Raiders to match the results from last year, everyone will need to perform to the best of their abilities. Last year’s success depended on hard work from each member. Maila Healing ’24 who finished twelfth in states last year says that, “I put in a lot of hard work and preparation in order to achieve our goal that included many workouts on days that I felt tired.” However, Spencer believes the Raiders have an advantage and says “‘Iolani will win this year because of the dedication everyone has on the team to improve and put in work.” 

“This year we have a lot of returning runners so our team is strong,” says Drew. Last year, the boys had two Raiders finish in the top 10 with Keane Palmer ’24 finishing first and Cole Kaneshiro ’24 finishing ninth. Five other runners also finished in the top 30 for ʻIolani, making a total of seven runners in the top 30. Punahou was the only school with six runners in the top 30 while no other school had more than three runners. “This is impressive not only because of the many Raiders finishing at the top, but also the amount of runners that were able to place highly. This year, the Raiders will look to build on the strong season and look to place more runners in the top. “We put in work in the summer,” Lyau says. “We all crave the repeat.”

The ILH Championship is Oct. 21 and the State Championship is Nov. 4 at Central Oahu Regional Park. With a different course and many runners across the state improving their times, the hope is that the Raiders will once again pull through and all members of the team will step up to the plate. If that does happen, the Raiders would win back to back state championships for the boys, the first time doing so since their three-peat in 2017, and the girls would win their first state championship since 2003. For the boys, winning back to back championships would prove their continued dominance, and for the girls, they would take back the trophy after many years without success.

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About the Contributor
Kai K., Staff
My name is Kai and I joined Imua last year. I am in the 12th grade and I joined Imua because I was always interested in how these articles were made and I am still interested in the perspective of journalists in sports and other areas.

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