New Season of Cross Country

A season filled with passionate runners from grades 9-12.

Aliyah Page, Reporter

The school year of 2018-19 has begun as well as a new season for Kohala’s Cross Country team. This year’s team has grown in numbers as new and previous members come together to train and learn from one another. As the team trains together the first meet of the year comes closer and closer. Previous members have experience with the HPA course, though the new members will have to learn as they go. For this year, the BIFF Championships will take place at HPA. Cross Country is a sport that requires both a good physical and mental base. To be able to run a 3K race, one must be able to expect the unexpected. With the team bigger in size, Kohala High School is lucky to have 17 students representing our school in this fall sport.

New members from grades 9-11 show absolute determination during every practice as they run alongside the old runners. Everyone has some sort of motivation and reason as to why they joined. Interviewing one new member from each grade level, they are asked this question: “Why did you join Cross Country and what are your motivations?”

Freshmen student Jera Hook-DeSilva says, “I ran Cross Country in the 7th grade and I thought it was fun. What motivates me is that both my parents are athletic and enjoy running.”

Sophomore student Arwen Hasegawa says, “I joined because I wanted to try something new. My sister, Aliyah Page, is my motivation.”

Finally, Junior student Carl Rich says, “I joined Cross Country to train for soccer next season.” His motivation caught me by surprise honestly, “Military. Just for the military.”

These interviews show me that each student has his or her own reason to join a sport, even if it was something they’ve done before or had never done in their lives. These students aren’t the only opinions you’ll get to hear. Kohala High School’s Cross Country coaches are Melody Nietfeld and Danny Guerpo. They are both passionate life long runners who’s tirelessly trained each member of the team for this upcoming season.

Each coach was asked this question, “What are your thoughts on the old/new runners and what goals do you have for the team?”

Melody Nietfeld says, “Old players are wonderful assets to the team because they know the routine and they have a good base. They’re the ones that lead the pack physically, mentally, and emotionally. They know what it takes to train hard and know the consequences of inconsistency with practice. New players are eager to learn and respect the experienced runners as they are finding their way in a very strenuous sport. It’s exciting to see the new talent and potential in new runners. The number one goal is to stay healthy, enjoy the sport so that all participants can be life long runners. If the team continues to work as a cohesive group and appreciate and emphasize with the challenges and triumph of their teammates. We’re looking forward to the season. We have a great group of runners with 17 in the group this year.”

Danny Guerpo says, “I want to be a fair yet stern coach. My goal is to have everyone run their best season whether it’s timed or for fun. And as a coach, I want to see everyone compete in the state meet.”

Both coaches and students share enthusiasm for this season. As the first meet comes into view, the team is in for a season where they must learn about themselves and understand what it means to be a Cross Country runner. The first meet was on September 1st at HPA. Next meet is on September 8th at Kamehameha school, first race at 10am. Good luck Cowboys and Cowgirls!