Luna cross country teams endure sweltering fall season
LAHAINA – High school fringe teams such as cross country always suffer from a lack of student athletes signing on to the grueling regimen of training and competition required in the sport. At Lahainaluna High School this fall, that factor was exasperated by record-setting heat and humidity in the already sweltering environment here on the West Side.
Lunas cross country coach Dan Skousen, now approaching his tenth year mentoring the sport on Maui -four at Hana and five at Lahainaluna – attempted to counter the tough running conditions by scheduling early morning (6 a.m.) practices for his charges.
But after an initial sign up of 33 runners to start the season in August, attrition took its toll to cut the Luna roster in half.
“Overall, it was extremely challenging with the heat and humidity we experienced this fall,” said Coach Dan. “We tried to deal with the conditions by having early morning practices, but that was really tough for the students.”
Nonetheless, Skousen is impressed with the perseverance of those that gutted out the season.
“I am truly impressed with those who stuck it out, and some of them really stepped it up. They learned about pushing through discomfort to find a higher gear that will bring success in long distance running,” he explained.
Coach Dan was particularly moved by the effort of senior team captains Kamal Golaube and Dean Omura, as well as sophomores Gabriela Miyamoto, Kainalu Estrella and Owen Pendergast.
“Dean was a four-year runner for us and went to states this year with Kainalu, and Gabriela represented our girls team there as well,” Skousen added. “We were an extremely young team this year, with only four seniors, so we look forward for more success in the future.”
The senior members of the Lahainaluna team that reached the finish line of the 2015 cross country season included Corrine Arroyo, Justin Quitoriano, Omura and Golaube. They were joined by juniors Robert Cardenas Santiago and Zillah Lafey; sophomores Gabriel Rodriguez, Martin Rodriguez, Fernando Cedillo, Estrella, Pendergast and Miyamoto; and freshmen Kalea Acevedo (a top ten finisher at the MIL Junior Varsity Championships), Raymart Galano and Kyle Killett.
“We are extremely grateful to the Kapalua Resort for their support of the program, and also our thanks to our parent support group that helped throughout the year and especially at the Westside Invitational that we co-sponsored with Maui Prep,” Coach Dan concluded.