Mililani's Jakob Dewald, at age 15, has the distinction of being the youngest competitor in Sunday's Xterra World Championship off-road triathlon in West Maui.
If taking part in one of the sport's premier events wasn't enough, it will come just two days after running in the state high school cross country championships on the Big Island.
"I'm very prepared at this point since I've done a lot of training," said Dewald, a sophomore at Mililani High School. "I'm nervous about states, but I'm even more nervous about Xterra because it's a big race. I get to see all the professionals and fast guys. I get to race with them, which is real exciting."
Jakob Dewald, 15, takes a practice run on the Xterra World Championships course on Wednesday. He will travel to the Big Island on Friday for a cross country meet and return to Maui for Sunday’s Xterra.
XTERRA Maui photo
The Xterra course comprises a 1.5-kilometer ocean swim fronting the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, a 30K mountain-bicycle leg on the lower slopes of the West Maui Mountains and a 10K run, which finishes back at the Ritz-Carlton.
Dewald is competing in the event for the first time - the minimum age is 15. During the summer, he won the 15-19 age group at both Xterra qualifiers on Oahu.
Dewald's father, Steve, will be in the field for the ninth time Sunday.
Xterra World Championships
The course: 1.5K ocean swim fronting the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, a 30K mountain-bicycle leg on the lower slopes of the West Maui Mountains and a 10K run, which finishes back at the Ritz-Carlton.
When: 9 a.m. Sunday
The competitors: 725 athletes, including 65 professionals
How they qualified: through a series of more than 100 off-road triathlons held in 15 countries.
Other events: Xterra Kapalua 5K and 10K trail runs; 9 a.m. Saturday
"It's great. I really want to compete with my dad," said Jakob Dewald, who also swims for Aloha Aquatics and his school. "I don't get to compete with him a lot."
On Wednesday, the Dewalds flew from Oahu to Maui, and traversed the Xterra cycling and running courses. Steve Dewald, 44, said they went at a leisurely pace to familiarize his son with the terrain. Jakob Dewald said he knew a little bit about the course after watching video footage of last year's race.
"It's a fast course, but if you aren't trained to climb you're going to pay," Steve Dewald said.
Today, Jakob Dewald will travel by himself to Kona for Friday's state cross country meet. Later that day, he will head back to Maui and rejoin his father.
"It's going to be a long week for me," Jakob Dewald said.
Added his father: "He's costing me a lot of money (on airfare)."
Jakob Dewald has won his age group numerous times in triathlons, biathlons, runs and swims. His most impressive finish, though, might be placing 68th out of 21,223 entrants in February's Great Aloha Run with an 8.15-mile time of 51:29.
"Most of his training is completely on his own," Steve Dewald said. "We let him do his own thing."
Steve Dewald, who has participated in several Ironman World Championships and Ultramans, has modest expectations for Sunday.
"I'm happy just to get there," he said. "I get to race with the pros. Last year, we raced with Lance Armstrong."
Jakob Dewald hopes to finish in the top 50 at Friday's cross country meet. As for the Xterra, he said he isn't sure about a goal.
His father, though, thinks he'll do just fine Sunday.
"He's done the work. If he stays within himself he can do well," Steve Dewald said.
* Out-ranking the competition: The Xterra World Championships on Sunday will feature 725 athletes from 31 countries, including 42 U.S. states.
There are many interesting backgrounds and stories among the field, and Patrick Clark likely ranks at the top of the list.
Clark is a former executive officer - No. 2 in command- of the USS Hawaii, a nuclear submarine commissioned in May 2007.
Clark, who is originally from Bristol, Va., served as executive officer from Sept. 2009 to June 2011.
While on duty, he said the USS Hawaii served in the Pacific Ocean, but all other information is classified.
Clark is now stationed at Pearl Harbor as Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMSUBPAC).
Despite being on-shore, Clark said he still finds it difficult to train since he has some 12-hour days.
"That's my biggest challenge. Finding time to train to be at the level I want to be at and still have time to do my job," Clark said.
He said he competed in cross country as a youth and cycled in college at the U.S. Naval Academy.
Clark competed in his first triathlon in 2007.
In August, he placed sixth in the Ironman Louisville and competed in the Ironman World Championships in Kona on Oct. 13.
"Swimming, I've had to work at," he said. "It's still my weakest discipline. I don't have the speed to take me to the next level."
* Kyle Sakamoto is at firstname.lastname@example.org