Lahainaluna cross country teams welcome strong turnout
LAHAINA — Under the leadership of new coach George Watson, the Lahainaluna High School cross country teams will rally from a down year of 2009 to rise up within the ranks of the Maui Interscholastic League for the current season.
Watson, a California high school runner who competed for one year at the collegiate level at Stanford, has been an assistant on the Luna cross country staff for six years. He was asked by longtime running coach Randy Yamamoto to take the helm of the program this year.
Watson and Yamamoto were pleasantly surprised to welcome a much larger group of student athletes when practice began in August. Furthermore, among the 20 prospects were several runners who kept up a training regimen over the summer, as well as several quality crossover athletes.
“We’ve had official practice for about three weeks, but several of the kids have kept up their workouts over the summer, and several others are natural athletes from other sports here at Lahainaluna. We’ve got more kids on the team than we’ve had for years, so I think we should do all right this season,” Watson said.
Leading the way for the boys team are senior team captain Nalu Scott and returner Puali Soloman, along with classmates Michael Cuaresma, Mark Pillejera, Issac Davis, Ty Scott and Reid Lisk.
Sophomores on the roster are returnee Reily Pasion, as well as Kai Aniban, Erich Skrotzki, Jeremy DeGracia and Curtis Fletcher. Rounding out the roster are standout freshman Fernando Rodriguez and classmates Michael Radcliffe and Hayden Bogar.
The girls team is led by captain Koral Gill, a senior, and her classmates Nallely Rodriguez and Gina Bella Mataafa, junior Tihani Cadiam Moore, sophomore Eryn Pendergast and freshman sensation Sydney McKinney.
The MIL’s regular season began on Aug. 28 in Hana and will continue on through Oct. 9, highlighted by the Lahainaluna Invitational that will be held on the Luna campus.
The MIL Championships take place on Oct. 23 at Maui High, followed by the HHSAA (Hawaii High School Athletic Association) Championship meet on Oct. 30 at Central Oahu Regional Park.
“Our goal is to finish third or fourth in the MIL and send five kids to states for the boys, and send two girls to state. We’re training to peak for the MILs in October and take as many kids as we can to states,” Watson explained.
“Our thanks goes out to Coach Randy and to Athletic Director Scott Soldwisch. Both of whom have given me, and the team, great support.”