Maui Prep cross country teams rising in the MIL
NAPILI – Maui Preparatory Academy’s cross country fortunes are on the rise, particularly on the girl’s side of the course, where the Lady Pueo are running right on the heels of perennial state powerhouse Seabury Hall.
According to Maui Prep head coach Keenan Reader, who also serves as the independent school’s athletic director and an administrator, the team is making a resounding statement by surging to the top rungs of the Maui Interscholastic League Division II standings and chasing Seabury Hall.
“The girl’s team is certainly the highlight of our season, as they are consistently running in second place in the MIL only behind Seabury Hall,” said Coach Keenan, who is assisted by longtime West Side running mentor Dennis Nakamura.
“Leading the way for us is our sophomore standout Sophia Johnston, a consistent second place finisher, and another sophomore, co-captain Alexa Narayan, who has finished as high as sixth individually. Corey Patton, a freshman, and sophomore Jessica Kingwell are top 20 finishers. The team is rounded out by seniors Danielle Jeffries and co-captain Jamie Advincula, along with sophomores Sarah Wilhelm and Layla Nabavi.”
Reader said the team has high hopes of finishing second in the D-II standings, which would qualify them to send a full squad to the state championships on Nov. 1 on Oahu.
“At states, we hope to make it a Maui sweep and finish second to Seabury,” he said. “The girls have become a cohesive unit and have stepped up their training to a higher level. They are the most talented and hardest working team we’ve had here since our boys team made a run for the title in 2011. It is inspiring to see them pushing each other to train harder in order to achieve a goal as a team.
“The team’s work ethic and desire has us very optimistic that they can pull off something special in the short history of our school. Potentially, this would be the first team in Maui Prep history to bring home a state trophy.”
The Pueo boy’s team is very young, according to Coach Keenan. An international student from Germany, Niels Jeske, is the team’s top competitor, finishing in the top 25 in the MIL meets and on pace to qualify individually for states.
Teammates Nolan Lehman and Coleman Kingwell are close behind and right on the cusp of qualifying also.
The upstart runners have a good shot at the MIL JV boys title on Oct. 11. “We hope that the JV boys will be able to bring home the first-ever boys title for Maui Prep,” added Reader.
The JV team is led by Coleman Kingwell, Nathaniel Muto, Bond Pang, Jonathan Jerome, Zixang Long, Beau Johnston, Cole Nielsen, Adam Quandt and Akiva Bluh.
The top seven runners will move up to the varsity for the MIL Championships on Oct. 25 at Keopoulani Park. Veteran senior team leaders are four-year runner Joshua Ancheta and three-year competitor Muto.