Seabury Hall pushes pace at Westside meet

Baldwin’s Chloe Toma (from left) and Erin Kobashigawa run alongside Kamehameha’s Kahea Poepoe during Saturday’s Westside Invitational at the Kapalua Village course. -- The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo

KAPALUA — Seabury Hall’s Chloe Gangnath couldn’t wait to prove herself.

The senior captain spent the last three years trailing state champion cross country runners and even endured last week’s canceled opening Maui Interscholastic League meet due to Hurricane Lane.

On Saturday, though, Gangnath would not be denied and claimed her first MIL cross country win in 23 minutes, 3.28 seconds during the Westside Invitational at Kapalua Village course. Her time was 44 seconds better than teammate Kaylee Volner and nearly four minutes ahead of third-place Sarah Pease of King Kekaulike.

“It feels pretty good,” Gangnath said of her first victory. “I’ve been working really hard over the summer and it’s definitely working in my favor. I was excited for this race to finally get to show what I did over the summer.”

Maui High’s Hunter Shield also captured his first victory in an upset over teammate and defending champion Adam Hakola. Shield’s time of 19:25.00 was about 26 seconds better than fellow Saber Damon Wakefield and 33 seconds ahead of Hakola, who took third.

FROM RIGHT: Maui High’s Hunter Shields, Adam Hakola, and Damon Wakefield lead the pack during Saturday's Westside Invitational at the Kapalua Village Golf Course. -- The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo

“That’s the first race I’ve ever won,” Shield said smiling. “Last year, I got second a lot, I’m just happy to get first.”

The Spartans’ girls scored 33 to finish on top of Baldwin by 13 points. King Kekaulike claimed third with 75.

Gangnath will look to lead Seabury Hall’s smallest team in years with just eight runners on the roster compared to last year’s 19. The Spartans are two-time defending overall state champions.

“Our team is smaller than we’ve ever had,” Spartans coach Bobby Grossman said. “We didn’t have a good preseason and it’s showing a little bit. We just got to get in shape.”

Saturday’s season-opening meet featured the most physically demanding course that was made even more difficult due to ongoing renovations at the Kapalua golf course. Gangnath said routes were changed throughout the hilly course, but she was confident due to her summer training that improved her endurance.

Maui High’s Hunter Shields finishes first at Saturday's Westside Invitational at the Kapalua Village course in 19 minutes, 25 seconds. -- The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo

“There’s a lot more uphill than before and that’s kind of been what I’ve needed to work on,” she said. “Going in to today, I was focusing on doing the uphills strong and using the downhills to my advantage.”

Hunter also welcomed the challenging course after running 300 miles over the summer throughout his neighborhood in Kihei. He said he ran just 50 miles last year, but was encouraged to increase his training by coaches and Hakola.

“I know Adam is going to train even harder to beat me so I’m going to have to train even harder too,” Hunter said.

For Volner, a freshman competing in her first race of her career, the course was not a welcomed start to the season but she was pleased with her second-place finish.

“A lot of hills. I don’t really like hills,” she said with a smile. “I wasn’t hoping for this to be my first three-mile race, but it was a good start.”

Grossman said the team will be looking to Gangnath and Volner to remain on top as well as improvement from other runners if it has any hope at capturing another state title.

“Kaylee is the future and she’s going to be a front runner at the state level one day,” he said. “And Chloe can be a state champion.”

* Chris Sugidono is at csugidono@mauinews.com

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WESTSIDE INVITATIONAL

Saturday’s Results

At Kapalua

Girls

Team scores

Division I–1. Baldwin 46, 2. Maui High 66, 3. King Kekaulike 75.

Division II–1. Seabury Hall 33.

Individual Results

1.Chloe Gangnath Seabury Hall, 23:03; 2. Kaylee Volner Seabury Hall, 23:47; 3. Sarah Pease King Kekaulike, 26:50; 4. Austin Ruppenthal Maui High, 26:57; 5. Julia Knowles Baldwin, 27:03; 6. Olivia Bozich Maui Prep, 27:14; 7. Elly Swartz Seabury Hall, 27:55; 8. Maile Dougherty Seabury Hall, 27:58; 9. McKayla Reyes Baldwin, 28:00; 10. Kathryn O’Neill King Kekaulike, 28:02; 11. Noami Takakura Baldwin, 28:03; 12. Chloe Toma Baldwin, 28:10; 13. Sarai Poepoe Kamehameha Maui, 28:13; 14. Erin Kobashigawa Baldwin, 28:14; 15. Makena Stevenson Maui High, 28:20; 16. Hailee Sanchez Maui High, 28:28; 17. Anysis Fuentos Lahainaluna, 28:29; 18 Trinity Fox Maui High, 28:39; 19. Zoe Bailey King Kekaulike 28:58; 20. Elizabeth Thibaudeau Seabury Hall, 29:00; 21. Deena Kiyabu Baldwin, 29:04; 22. Amy Joy Schmitt Baldwin, 29:15; 23. Czerena Bayle Maui High, 29:27; 24. Stephanie Ramos Maui High, 29:38; 25. Nida Bergoust Maui High, 29:41; 26. Taitum Jones King Kekaulike, 29:48; 27. Angel De La Cruz St. Anthony, 30:21; 28. Nyasia Martinez King Kekaulike, 30:30; 29. Heidi Mahan Maui Prep, 30:35; 30. Lily Mcleod Seabury Hall, 31:07; 31. Cassidy Matsuda Maui High, 31:09; 32. Raelynn Yoshida Kamehameha Maui, 31:10; 33. Nicole Daniels Maui High, 31:21; 34. Camille Haluber Maui High 31:42; 35. Eden Newman King Kekaulike, 31:49; 36. Ashley Nielson Maui Prep, 31:50; 37. Lilia Davis Kamehameha Maui, 31:52; 38. Sofia Andaluz Kihei Charter, 32:02; 39. Kaylee Cordeiro Baldwin, 32:19; 40. Jenna Boggs Baldwin, 32:29; 41. Rochelle Balala Maui High, 32:30; 42. Jaden Viloria Baldwin, 33:01; 43. Nadine Cunha Maui Prep, 33:08; 44. Alysha Fontanilla Baldwin, 33:15; 45. Jasmine Begley Baldwin, 33:22; 46. Sophia Horowitz Seabury Hall, 33:58; 47. Erin ong Baldwin, 35:17; 48. Lily Pascua Baldwin, 35:18; 49. Anela Maier Baldwin, 35:19; 50. Christine Davis Kihei Charter, 35:31; 51. Sokha Furumoto St. Anthony, 35:55; 52. Annalyn Hatfield Maui High, 36:20; 53. Arabella Silao Lahainaluna, 36:24; 54. Erin Mukai Baldwin, 36:28; 55. Logan Tsukiyama Maui High, 36:34; 56. Ellie Shapiro Kihei Charter, 37:25; 57. Sydnie Matsuda Maui High, 37:35; 58. Carine Bleasdell Kihei Charter, 37:59; 59. McKenzie Parker Maui High, 39:19; 60. Olivia Fukushima Baldwin, 39:21; 61. Kaila Macadangdang Baldwin, 39:38; 62. Ashlee Palimo’o Kamehameha Maui, 39:40; 63. Britney Bautista Maui High, 42:04; 64. Maritza Miranda Lahainaluna, 44:52.

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