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Punahou sweeps state cross country team titles on foggy, muddy course

Dec. 5—Izzy Ford of Punahou posted at time of 21 minutes, 24 seconds to win the girls individual race at the Honolulu Marathon /HHSAA Cross Country State Championships on Saturday morning.

Cloudy, foggy conditions, plus wet, 57-degree temperatures—it was 55 for the earlier boys' race—greeted the field of 200 female harriers on the 5-kilometer course on the hilly Hawaii Preparatory Academy campus in Waimea. Just a few miles away, snow capped the summit of Mauna Kea.

Ford is a strong two-sport athlete and was joined in the top five by teammates Malia Dickhens (fourth place, 22 :30 ) and Lauren Sanders (fifth, 22 :32 ). Dickhens was the ILH regular-season champion on Nov. 20 on the campus of Kamehameha Schools. In that race, Dickhens posted a time of 19 :34, ahead of Sanders (19 :39 ) and Ford (19 :43 ).

Punahou won the girls and boys team championships as well.

"The worst conditions I have ever coached in, " longtime Punahou coach Duncan Macdonald said. "I wouldn't say everybody fell down, but close to 50 percent fell at least once."

Kaimana Cantere of Maui edged Benjamin Zerr of Kalaheo by six-tenths of a second to win the boys individual race.

Cantere, the Maui Interscholastic League champion, posted at time of 18 minutes and 48.26 seconds. Oahu Interscholastic Association champion Zerr came in at 18 :48.86.

Levi Childers (18 :52 ) of Kealakehe, Keane Palmer of 'Iolani (19 :19 ) and Ben Brown (19 :29 ) of Punahou round out the top five.

Devin Pang of 'Iolani placed sixth at 19 :34, followed by Connor Malinger (19 :37 ) of Hawaii Baptist and Caden Lombard (19 :43.03 ), Jordan Furuta (19 :43.74 ) and Josh Dutton (19 :44.93 ) of Punahou.

Punahou's boys won the team championship, the 13th in school history, and the second in a row under Macdonald.

The team from urban Honolulu endured the wet terrain and various hills of the beautiful HPA campus. This is the 33rd girls team cross country state championship for Punahou and its ninth in a row. In all, the Buffanblu have won 17 girls team titles under Macdonald, who won the first two boys individual cross country state championships for Kailua in 1965 and'66.

"It went very well for us. (The weather ) may have affected the outcome of the race a little bit. Happy nobody got hurt, " Macdonald said. "Izzy Ford winning the race was huge. I have three senior girls and I thought they all had the potential to win, but Izzy kept her feet better and that is how things went. They all ran well."

Maui Interscholastic League champion Kaylee Volner of Seabury Hall placed second at 21 :35 and Cozette Wood of Kealakehe was third at 22 :07.

Emily Naylor (22 :36 ) of Kalaheo placed sixth, followed by Layne Millen (22 :55 ) of Seabury Hall, OIA champion Zola O'Donnell (23 :11 ) of Mililani, Ashley Kodama (23 :13 ) of Hawaii Baptist and Kaylee Noda (23 :21 ) of Pearl City.

Hawaii Baptist secured titles in the Division II girls and boys team competition. HBA won its third in a row, led by juniors Ashley Kodama and Caley Chun.

HBA's boys won their third crown in the last four years. Connor Malinger led the Eagles.