Grossman wins final Maui race

OLINDA – It caught her in the final mile.

It is the only thing that has managed to catch Dakota Grossman all season.

Grossman, Seabury Hall’s three-time state-champion cross country runner, admitted to sadness Saturday in her final cross country race on Maui.

Like all the other events she has entered in her Maui Interscholastic League career, she won the Seabury Hall Invitational, covering three miles in 18 minutes, 30 seconds and winning by 2:29 over Maui High’s Briana Yamamoto.

Lahainaluna’s Will Thorbecke won for the third time this season after running a 5K in the morning. He finished the MIL race in 17:08, 24 seconds in front of teammate Corban Kaikkonen.

Grossman bettered her lifetime best on the course by 17 seconds

“A little bit (sad), because it is my last time I will be running here, on the island,” Grossman said. “I didn’t want it to hit me yet, but definitely I have been thinking about it. I wanted to go out and finish with a fast time and have people remember me.”

It will be hard to forget Grossman, a seven-time state champion overall who later this month on Kauai can become the all-time state gold medal winner from the MIL, breaking a tie with former Seabury and Duke University runner Tia Ferguson.

“I think, like, the last mile, I kind of pushed it because this is the last time I will be running this course,” said Grossman, who will bid for a fourth MIL championship in two weeks on Molokai.

Grossman led the Spartans to the girls team title with 24 points, 27 better than Baldwin. Lahainaluna edged Seabury 32-37 for the boys crown.

Grossman’s sister Hailey, a cross country runner at Chaminade and a three-time 3,000-meter state champion on the track like Dakota, was keeping statistics at the finish line – the sisters embraced after Dakota cooled down a bit. Their father, Bobby Grossman, is Seabury’s coach.

“It’s so special to do it here, my home course, my last race,” Dakota Grossman said. “Everybody showed up today. I think it was, like, the perfect race to finish with.”

Grossman, who has competed on Oahu and the Big Island this year, is in the midst of what could be her first unbeaten season.

On Kauai, she can join Eri Macdonald of Punahou as the state’s only four-time cross country champion, boy or girl.

“I think I’m pretty ready. I heard Kauai is pretty flat, so I have been working on my speed,” Grossman said. “I think I’m ready to go.”

Yamamoto and third-place finisher Ava Shipman of Seabury Hall are freshmen.

“I like running with her because she pushes me until the end,” said the 13-year-old Yamamoto. “Then I can sprint at the end and I would feel like I’m going to try to catch up with her, but I know it wouldn’t happen.”

Shipman, 14, posted a time of 21:06.

“We were like, ‘Oh, it’s your last race on Maui,’ and we were all together as a team,” she said. “We were like, ‘We have got to show people,’ and stuff.”

Shipman said the defending Division II state team champions have talked about claiming an unofficial overall title.

“We are all trying to train harder for it, we are doing a lot more speed work,” Shipman said. “That’s definitely on our minds and it is motivating us.”

Thorbecke and Kaikkonen each have three wins this season. Seabury’s Nic Colon was third Saturday, in 17:59.

“My goal was just to sit behind Nic and try to beat him at the end,” Thorbecke said.

* Robert Collias is at