Kalaheo sophomore surges late and captures girls cross-country championship
Kalaheo’s Emily Naylor added another trophy Saturday. In the offseason, she put in the work.
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Kalaheo’s Emily Naylor added another trophy Saturday.
Only a sophomore, Naylor ran to victory in the Honolulu Marathon/HHSAA Cross Country State Championships at Seabury Hall on Maui. One week earlier, she captured the OIA championship at Central Oahu Regional Park.
Naylor finished the 5-kilometer course in 19 minutes, 37.87 seconds, more than 20 seconds ahead of Seabury Hall’s Kaylee Volner.
Naylor trailed Volner late in the race before making a pass with about 400 meters left.
“Right after I passed her, I was so worried she was going to catch me,” Naylor said. “So that made me go faster. That was my plan, to catch her on the downhill. I slowly made my way. I felt strong the whole way and it felt nice.
“I would have never thought it would happen. Last year, I placed 99th and thought about it and said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to win’ and now I’m doing it. It’s unreal.”
In the offseason, Naylor put in the work.
“I would try to get in 25 miles a week,” she said. “I love to run. I would just go on long runs and let my feet take me where they wished to go. My neighbor (Nikki Updegraff), she was actually a state champion in hurdles in track and she told me that she would always tell herself, ‘They may be faster than me, but not today.’ I kept that in mind. I’m friends with her daughter, Charlie, who goes to our school.”
Led by Malia Dickhens (fourth place) and Lauren Saunders (seventh), Punahou won the Division I team title for the 32nd time in the 47 years of the race. Isabella Ford (ninth), Kayla Almeida (11th) and Sasha Iizuka-Sheely (17th) also scored for the Buffanblu, who scored 26 points for the D-I victory. ‘Iolani (93) was second with Hilo (125) in third.
Coach Duncan Macdonald’s Punahou squad has won the championship eight years in a row.
In Division II, Hawaii Baptist ran to the title for the second year in a row. Ashley Kodama (third place), Kacie Kwan (12th), Lindsay Sasaki (13th), Lindsey Jaeger (19th) and Mari Monico (28th) powered the Eagles, who scored 29 points. Seabury Hall (40) took second, with Kamehameha-Hawaii (85) in third.