HBA’s varsity cross country boys qualified for the state championships on Kauai but were unable to defend last year’s Division II victory because they could not field the required five runners for a team.

The varsity girls were able to team up to run at States and finished 14th overall.

This year’s top finishers were seniors Kane Verity and Jennifer Bunch, finishing at 78th and 70th, respectively. Verity finished in 18:11 and Bunch came in at 21:39.

HBA was the only ILH Division II school to qualify enough runners for a team score. “The girls could have run faster, but still tried hard, and I’m pleased with their performances no matter what,” says girls coach Ross Mukai.

During the ILH Championships, both varsity boys and girls teams took fifth place while the junior varsity boys and girls came in 5th and 4th, respectively. Boys coach Aaron Kondo says, “Even though [the boys] didn’t accomplish what they wanted to during the race, they still ran hard and tried their best.”

Though the team always has the next season to look forward to, the cross country team will lose some of its seasoned runners, such as seniors Mary Yeh and Jonathan Huster. “Whether or not I was one of the best racers on the team, I will still miss it because I love cross country,” says Yeh. “It really teaches you never to give up. Even when the going gets rough, you can’t just stop and run away. You have to finish until the end.”

Huster says, “I had a great season. It was hard-fought but it was definitely good. And I’m [going] to miss being on the team, as these four years were some of the best in my life.”

Mukai says it is inevitable to see runners go and that they will be missed, but “the team will continue to press on and in time, other [runners] will take their places.” He adds, “Next year, hopefully we’ll be able to go back to States with the team and compete for first or second place.”