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HBA Sweeps Cross Country State Championships
Ryan Su

Front Row (Girls, L-R): Callie Kubota, Madison Callo, Jordan Davenport, Caley Chun, Ashley Kodama, Christina Toyomura, Natali Nomura

Back Row (Boys, L-R):  Shane Kimura, Dylan Djou, Connor Malinger, Xan Waialeale, Ezekiel Lum, Dylan Terayama, Jared Crestetto (missing Chris Wu)

HBA again stands alone atop the state in Division 2 varsity cross country.  

The Eagles girls and boys both won their respective 2021 Honolulu Marathon / HHSAA Division 2 State Cross Country Championship on the campus of Hawaii Preparatory Academy in Kamuela, on the Big Island.  The 5-kilometer (3.1 miles) races were held December 4, exactly 763 days since the previous state championship meet and 651 days since the last state championship for any sport in Hawaii.

HBA also swept the girls and boys titles in 2018 when the meet was held at the Central Oahu Regional Park.

The story of this 2021 meet was the extreme weather.  Widely considered the most difficult cross country course in the state, the conditions at the HPA campus were more challenging than anyone could have predicted.  It was 55 degrees at the start of the boys race, with an estimated wind chill factor closer to 50 degrees due to the constant rain and wind.  Making conditions worse was the mud covering most of the hilly course.

Despite most runners falling or slipping throughout the morning event, the HBA girls finished with their third consecutive state championship (2018, 2019, no event held in 2020).  The Eagles were also state runners-up in 2016 and 2017.

HBA’s 30 points easily outpaced host Hawaii Preparatory Academy’s 54 points.  Seabury Hall finished third, Kihei Charter finished fourth, Kauai High finished fifth, and Kamehameha-Hawaii was sixth.  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 and far ahead of D1 runner-up Iolani.

Leading the way for the Eagles was Ashley Kodama ’23, whose time of 23:13 was good for 9th place overall.  Caley Chun ’23 was also a medalist at 16th place (24:07).  Other scoring runners were Christina Toyomura ’23 (21st, 24:38), Jordy Davenport ’23 (30th, 25:25) and Callie Kubota ’24 (19th, 25:53).  Also competing were Natali Nomura ’24 (31st, 27:15) and Madison Callo ‘24 (69th, 27:27).  The top twenty finishers – regardless of division – were awarded medals. 

The team was led by first-year head coach Shelby Tanaka ’11.

While their girls counterparts entered states as the 2-time defending champions, the HBA boys were coming off a very close runner-up finish to Seabury Hall in 2019 (51 points to 47 points), following consecutive titles of their own in 2017 and 2018. 

HBA’s 52 points edged Hanalani (57).  The other Division 2 schools posting team scores were – in order – Seabury Hall, Hawaii Preparatory Academy, Island School and Honokaa.  Had all schools been scored together in one division, HBA would have placed 5th overall out of 21 scoring teams.

Leading the way for the boys was Connor Malinger ’22, whose time of 19:37 was good for 7th place overall.  He also medaled in 2019, finishing 9th in that sophomore season.  Other scoring runners were Dylan Djou ’25 (26th, 20:25), Xan Waialeale ’25 (46th, 21:20), Shane Kimura ’24 (47th, 21:29), and Dylan Terayama ’24 (60th, 21:47).  Also competing were Chris Wu ’23 (91st, 22:31) and Jared Crestetto ‘25 (106th, 23:11).  

The HBA boys have now won three of the past four D2 state titles and have a state-leading four overall.  The Eagles won the inaugural D2 Championship in 2012, also at the HPA campus.

The team was coached by Aaron Kondo ’05, who notched his third title as the leader of the boys program.

Assistant coaches for the cross country program were Brent Wakuzawa ’13, Ian Doi ’07, Nina (Cheong) Kondo ’09, Lindsey Jaeger ’21, HBA teacher Thatcher King, and HBA alumni parent Manami Keuning (mother to Anika ’18 and Kai ’21 and wife of David ‘85).

Congratulations to all of our Eagles harriers for their outstanding seasons!