HBA Wins Girls Cross Country State Championship, Boys Finish Runner-up
Christina Yasutomi

The Hawaii Baptist Academy 2019 girls cross country team. From left to right: Johanna Seng, junior; Jordan Davenport, freshman; Mari Monico, junior; Caley Chun, freshman; Kacie Kwan, senior; Lindsey Sasaki, senior; Shayli Maruya, junior; Ashley Kodama, freshman; and Lindsey Jaeger, junior. Photo courtesy of Deren Oshiro. 

The HBA girls once again stand alone atop the state in Division 2 varsity cross country. The Eagles claimed the 2019 Honolulu Marathon / HHSAA Division 2 State Cross Country Championship, their second consecutive title. The 5-kilometer (3.1 miles) race was held November 2 on the campus of Seabury Hall in Makawao, on the island of Maui.

The HBA girls, after being state runner-up in 2016 and 2017, have now won back-to-back state championships. This year’s runner-up, Seabury Hall, had won all six D2 state titles from 2012-2017.

HBA’s 29 points comfortably outpaced Seabury Hall (40). Kamehameha-Hawaii finished third and Kauai High finished fourth. Although the Division 1 and 2 teams were scored separately, all 200 girls and 200 boys ran together and competed against one another in their respective races. Had all 22 schools been scored together in one division, HBA would have finished 2nd behind only D1 champion Punahou.

Leading the way for the Eagles was Ashley Kodama ’23, whose time of  19:59 was good for 3rd place overall. Other scoring runners were Kacie Kwan ’20 (12th, 20:28), Lindsay Sasaki ’20 (13th, 20:29), Lindsey Jaeger ’21 (19th, 20:50), and Mari Monico ’21 (28th, 21:11). Also competing were Johanna Seng ’21 (31st, 21:18) and Caley Chun ’23 (35th, 21:31). The top twenty finishers – regardless of division – were awarded medals.  This marks the second most medalists (4) any HBA team has had in a single championship race (the Eagles had 5 last year).

The team was coached by HBA middle school history teacher Derek Coryell.

The Hawaii Baptist Academy 2019 boys cross country team. From left to right: Nicolas Kwon, senior; Phoenyx Aguada, junior; Justin Mayeshiro, sophomore; Michael Garces, senior; Connor Malinger, sophomore; Ethan Aimoto, junior; Christian Kuwaye, junior; and Josiah Lum, sophomore. Photo courtesy of Deren Oshiro.

While their girls counterparts entered states as a favorite, the HBA boys faced more uncertainty. Despite being 2-time defending D2 state champions, Seabury Hall and Island School, among others, looked to be strong challengers. There were also seven D2 scoring teams. In a very close race, HBA’s 51 points fell just short of Seabury Hall (47). The other Division 2 schools posting team scores were – in order – Island School, Kamehameha-Hawaii, Kauai High, Hawaii Preparatory Academy, and Hanalani. Had all schools been scored together in one division, HBA would have actually finished ahead of Seabury Hall and also placed 3rd overall out of 21 scoring teams. This marks the highest overall finish for the HBA boys, despite not claiming the D2 title.

Leading the way for the boys was Connor Malinger ’22, whose time of 17:06 was good for 9th place overall. He is HBA’s first boys medalist since 2012 when current assistant Brent Wakuzawa ’13 and Michael Oishi ’13 finished 12th and 20th, respectively. Other scoring runners were Ethan Aimoto ’21 (30th, 17:47), Michael Garces ’20 (44th, 18:06), Justin Mayeshiro ’22 (45th, 18:09), and Christian Kuwaye ’21 (54th, 18:24). Also competing were Josiah Lum ’22 (112th, 19:14) and Phoenyx Aguada ‘21 (136th, 19:37).  

The HBA boys now have two runner-up finishes (2015) to go along with their state-leading three Division 2 titles.

The team was coached by Aaron Kondo ’05. Assistant coaches for the entire cross country program were Wakuzawa ’13, Ian Doi ’07, Shelby Tanaka ’11, Nina (Cheong) Kondo ’09, Risha Mishima ’09, Maclain Oishi ’15, and HBA parents Jordan Seng and Manami Keuning.

Congratulations to all of our Eagles for their outstanding seasons!