Cross Country
Punahou girls, Kaiser's Tashiro triumph at state cross country


WAIPIO — Lisa Tashiro capped a successful debut cross country season by beating everyone Saturday morning.

The Kaiser junior posted an impressive time of 18 minutes, 59.90 seconds to win the girls' individual title at the Honolulu Marathon/Hawaii High School Athletic Association Cross Country State Championships at Patsy T. Mink/Central Oahu Regional Park.

Tashiro beat out Iolani junior Amanda Beaman, who ran the three-mile course in a time of 19:11.80 and took runner-up honors for the second consecutive year.

"We both had been around the same times all year," Tashiro said. "It's been pretty back-and-forth between us all year."

The duo was part of the lead pack that included Hilo's Mehana Sabado-Halpern for much of the first half of the race. It wasn't until nearly two miles in that Tashiro and Beaman separated. The runners were neck-and-neck heading toward the final downhill portion of the course, but as they emerged toward the finish line it was Tashiro who had build a lead of about 70 yards on Beaman.

"At practice we've been practicing on a lot of downhills and I really thought for my last downhill that I should sprint as much as I can to the finish line," said Tashiro, who had to battle some nerves prior to the start of the race. "I was really nervous in the beginning. I knew it was going to be a tough race, but I kept telling myself that this was the last cross country race in my junior year and I needed to finish it."

Sabado-Halpern finished third in a time of 19:18.20, just edging St. Andrew's Jordan Jones by 1/10th of a second.

The race conditions were favorable Saturday morning: sunny with a fairly consistent breeze.

"It wasn't too humid and because it was in the morning it was better than last week," said Tashiro, referring to the Oahu Interscholastic Association championships that were held in the mid afternoon at CORP the previous weekend. "But, running this same course last week helped me for this week. It gave me some time to prepare for it."

Tashiro has certainly made the most of her time this year. Growing up, she spent most of her free time in the pool, as a member of the Kamehameha Swim Club, and joined the Cougars' track team two years ago, but it wasn't until this Fall that she took up cross country.

"My freshman year and until the beginning of my sophomore year, I thought that I was a sprinter, but then I just challenged myself to doing distance," Tashiro said. "I think swimming has helped me a lot, because my lungs are getting stronger and I'm a sprinter in swimming and that definitely helps."

Although Tashiro was hesitant to say that she expected to win the race, she did have a goal in mine; one that she has carried throughout the season.

"Every race I try to drop at least 10 seconds to see if I can keep dropping my time and it turned out pretty good, I guess," Tashiro said.

It was the first time since 2009 that someone aside from former Seabury Hall runner Dakota Grossman won the individual crown. Grossman dominated during her prep career, winning four straight state championships.

Meanwhile, perhaps to no one's surprise, the Punahou girls' retained the team title for a third consecutive championship and the 26th in school history. The trio of Teri Brady (19:19.2), Kailey Totherow (19:24.9) and Noe Obermeyer (19:25.7) placed fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively to pace the Buffanblu.

Kaiser finished second with 73 points, Iolani third with 78 points, Kamehameah fourth with 165 points and Mililani rounded out the top five with 178 points.

Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].

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