Brighton and Castro fight to the end for the MIL titles | News, Sports, Jobs

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Seabury Hall’s Micah Brighton pulls away in the home stretch to edge Maui High’s Galen Okamoto for the MIL Boys Cross Country title on Saturday at the Kahului Community Center. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photos

KAHULUI — It took courage to become the Maui Interscholastic League Cross Country Champions for Baldwin High School senior Selena Castro and Seabury Hall sophomore Micah Brighton.

Both riders had to battle for the lead and sprint neck and neck with their competition on the home stretch of their respective races to claim gold Saturday morning at Kahului Community Center.

“I didn’t expect it, but I kind of wanted to (win) since it’s my last race, so I guess that made me say ‘it’s all or nothing’. I don’t care about hurt myself, I don’t care if I sprain myself… I don’t know, I’m just very happy and I really cherished the times when I was running with Ashley (Tarasenko), ” Castro said with a big smile after winning with a time of 21 minutes 22.3 seconds over the 5 kilometer course. “This sport is amazing and I will miss the team and all the coaches who help us.”

For Brighton to go from seventh place at the 2021 MIL Championships to being crowned MIL Boys Champion this year was also unexpected. The young Spartans have been training hard this season and they have seen improvements, he said.

“It’s pretty nice to get to this. It was hard, but I did it. he said after crossing the finish line in 17:30.4. “In general, even the whole team, we have done very well this season, individually and as a team. Even for me, it’s good to have come this far.

Baldwin’s Selena Castro nears the finish line en route to winning the MIL Women’s Individual Title on Saturday.

After competing in two off-island races, the runner-up said he feels ready and is looking forward to the Honolulu Marathon State Championships at Kauai Island School next Saturday.

“I feel like it’s going to be a good trip and a fun experience,” said Brighton.

Maui High senior Galen Okamoto (17:32.3) finished less than two seconds behind for a silver medal, and Seabury rookie Kayden Volner (18:16.4) was third.

In the girls’ race, Maui High’s Tarasenko finished just behind Castro with a time of 21:25.8, while Kihei Charter’s Layla James (21:45.7) collected a bronze medal.

Under overcast skies, Prianna Dugied of James and Seabury led for the majority of the first two miles on the Sabers’ home course.

Kihei Charter’s Layla James sets the tone early in the girls race on Saturday.

Castro and Tarasenko’s chasing pack held steady at around 40 yards. As the riders made a blind turn before the final kilometer, the pair had caught up with the leaders.

Tarasenko said she noticed the sideburns slowing down, so she looked at Castro and “We just nodded to each other, like, ‘yeah we have to go.’ “

Castro, Tarasenko and James raced together as they completed one final loop around the park before Castro and Tarasenko began to pull ahead and create a gap. A tough final push with 100 yards to go put Castro — a 400-yard track athlete for the Bears — in good stead to cross the finish line first.

“We always run together, so we cheer each other on, and we got up and went,” said Tarasenko. “I went into the race with confidence because we’ve been training here for a long time, just course rehearsals and stuff, so I knew this course with my eyes closed, so I was super excited about that advantage, but I wasn’t not i was expecting all this, but i am super grateful, blessed.

When Castro saw that finishing chute, she said “I was just going for that.”

The leading peloton breaks away at the start of the boys’ race.

“I kind of taught myself not to be in such a rush at first because back then, last year, I always wanted to follow the front and I would always die,” she says. “So I guess I’ve become more of a mature runner knowing that if they’re 100 yards in front of me and I can still see them, I got them.”

The boys’ race was equally exciting as Brighton and Okamoto raced side by side almost every 5 kilometres. The pair finished first and second, respectively, all season.

Okamoto momentarily took the lead heading into the final kilometer but Brighton said he hung on despite the creeping fatigue. With the finish line in sight, the pair began sprinting together before Brighton advanced with around 30 yards to go with all the energy they had. left.

“I heard everyone applaud and I was able to finish” said Brighton. “I just had a feeling, like I was starting to sprint right now, and I was able to sustain it, and when I finally crossed the finish line, I kind of died.”

Eight schools fielded scoring teams in the men’s competition. Division-II team Seabury won the overall MIL title with 24 points by placing six riders in the top 11 spots. Maui High was second with 70 points and Kihei Charter third with 79.

In women’s competition, D-II Kihei Charter finished first among five scoring teams with 36 points for the school’s first-ever MIL cross-country title. Maui High was second with 45 points and Baldwin third with 52.

“Last year they set a goal of trying to win overall at the end of the track season and they worked hard all summer and they overcame, you know, injuries and illness. , and they really pushed each other and they stayed focused on the goal and I’ve never had a team do that to the extent that those guys have,” Kihei Charter coach Cassie Kepler said. “I’m super proud of them. They support each other, and the boys and girls train together and I think that helps them, so I know a lot of people say they have the best team, but I have the best team because individuals and amazing human beings and they work really hard.

The day brought mixed emotions for longtime Spartans manager Bobby Grossman as 16-time champions Seabury were unable to defend their crown on Saturday – the program has not fielded a full squad this season – but it was the first time since 2005 that the boys’ team won an overall MIL title.

“It was hard to lose 16 years in a row, but the women’s team will be back next year,” said Grosman. “I’m very proud of the hard work our boys have put in this year and it definitely paid off in their performance in today’s race. Micah’s epic finish was awesome and fun to watch.

The top 33 male and 34 female runners in the league will face off next Saturday at the state championship.

“States is definitely going to be a challenge, but it’s been a team goal for about mid-season to win a state championship,” said Grosman. “As a team we will have to have our best race of the year to win and we have to rise to the challenge.”

* Dakota Grossman is at [email protected]

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MIL Cross Country Championships

Saturday’s results

At the Kahului Community Center

Note: Full results will be published later this week in The Maui News

Boys

Team–1. Seabury Hall 24, 2. Maui High 70, 3. Kihei Charter 79, 4. Baldwin 105, 5. Maui Prep 149, 6. King Kekaulike 150, 7. Lanai 163, 8. Lahainaluna 165.

Top 10–1 individual. Micah Brighton, Seabury Hall, 17:30.4; 2. Galen Okamoto, Maui High, 17:32.3; 3. Kayden Volner, Seabury Hall, 18:16.4; 4. Charlie Baldwin, Haleakala Waldorf, 18:36.9; 5. Chauvin Matheus, King Kekaulike, 18:40.3; 6. Sage Ryden, Seabury Hall, 19:03.4; 7. Jacob Romero, Seabury Hall, 19:07.3; 8. Mason Anklam, Maui High, 19:10.9; 9. Aidan Javier, Kihei Charter, 19:14.0; 10. Martin Parraguez, Seabury Hall, 19:14.5.

Girls

Team–1. Kihei Charter 36, 2. Maui High 45, 3. Baldwin 52, 4. King Kekaulike 92, 5. Kamehameha Maui 121.

Top 10–1 individual. Selena Castro, Baldwin, 21:22.3; 2. Ashley Tarasenko, Maui High, 21:25.8; 3. Layla James, Kihei Charter, 21:45.7; 4. Prianna Dugied, Seabury Hall, 21:58.4; 5. Tanya Kari, Kihei Charter, 22:15.2; 6. Lindsey Kong, Maui High, 22:59.8; 7. Kalia Kaneta, Maui High, 11:00.5 p.m.; 8. Paige Asato, Baldwin, 23:22.3; 9. Gianna Pogni, Lahainaluna, 24:13.2; 10. Daisy Queirolo, Kihei Charter, 24:21.1.


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