OLINDA - After already making a couple of important decisions, Ryan Koss faces some more.
The Seabury Hall senior is not running high school cross country for the first time this year. Because of that, he will compete Saturday in the Maui Tacos 5K, part of the Maui Marathon weekend.
Simply running is actually something of a break for Koss - the 17-year-old from Kula climbed to the top of USA Triathlon's 16-17 age-group rankings a couple weeks of ago, and has qualified for the International Triathlon Union world championships next year in London.
"I was amazed when I heard I would get there; I didn't expect to go," Koss, who has his eyes on the Olympics, said after school on the Seabury campus Wednesday.
"It has been a dream for a while, honestly," he said. "Being out here in Hawaii, I have always wanted to represent the nation as a whole and I'm finally getting that opportunity."
The Maui Tacos 5K starts at 8 a.m. Saturday at Whaler's Village in Kaanapali, 90 minutes after the start of the first Hard Rock 10K event at the same site.
"This is that opportunity to get a fast time," Koss said.
Koss, 6-foot-1 and 153 pounds, must decide whether to pursue college scholarship money in triathlon, or in swimming, where a lot more is available. Either way, one of his college requirements is that the campus be at least 5,000 feet above sea level.
"I'm mostly looking in Colorado and Flagstaff, Arizona, those are the main destinations for me," Koss said.
Whether on swim scholarship or not, triathlon training will remain part of the agenda, and the Olympics could be on the horizon. Koss, who has won the last two Honolulu Triathlons, trains in swimming with Seabury senior Renny Richmond, an Olympic trials qualifier in the 100 butterfly.
"It may be more realistic for me in 2020, but 2016 for Renny, I'm looking for him," Koss said.
Koss starts his days at 5 a.m. with an 80-minute workout - bike or run - on the Seabury campus. His afternoons this fall are spent with Richmond at the Lahaina Aquatic Center.
"He is one of my inspirations, he is also one of my best friends," Koss said. "He is somebody that I know on this island who can push me to new limits that I never thought I had before. I think we can push each other, absolutely."
Koss was 72nd in the prep state cross country meet last season. As a swimmer, he finished sixth in the state 500-yard freestyle and swam legs on freestyle relay teams that were second and third.
Skipping cross country as a senior was not easy.
"I miss those guys, they are my brothers," Koss said. "It was a tough decision, but ultimately the best decision."