Punahou’s Izzy Ford wins girls state cross country crown

Izzy Ford of Punahou is the 2021 girls champion at the Honolulu Marathon/HHSAA Cross Country State Championships. Ford finished the wet, hilly course at Hawaii Preparatory Academy in 21 minutes, 24 seconds. Photo courtesy of Natalie Iwamoto/HHSAA.

Izzy Ford of Punahou posted at time of 21 minutes, 24 seconds to win the girls individual race at the Honolulu Marathon/HHSAA Cross Country State Championships on Saturday morning.

Cloudy, foggy conditions, plus wet, 57-degree temperatures — it was 55 for the earlier boys’ race — greeted the field of 200 female harriers at the hilly Hawaii Preparatory Academy campus in Waimea. Just a few miles away, snow capped the summit of Mauna Kea.

Ford is a strong two-sport athlete and was joined in the top five by teammates Malia Dickhens (fourth place, 22:30) and Lauren Sanders (fifth, 22:32). Dickhens was the ILH regular-season champion on Nov. 20 on the campus of Kamehameha Schools. In that race, Dickhens posted a time of 19:34, ahead of Sanders (19:39) and Ford (19:43).

Punahou won the girls and boys team championships, as well.

“The worst conditions I have ever coached in,” longtime Punahou coach Duncan Macdonald said. “I wouldn’t say everybody fell down, but close to 50 percent fell at least once.”

And yet, somehow, the team from urban Honolulu endured the wet terrain and various hills of the beautiful HPA campus. This is the 33rd girls team cross country state championship for Punahou, including the last nine in a row. In all, the Buffanblu have won 17 girls team titles under Macdonald, who won the first two boys individual cross country state championships for Kailua in 1965 and ’66.

“It went very well for us. (The weather) may have affected the outcome of the race a little bit. Happy nobody got hurt,” Macdonald said. “Izzy Ford winning the race was huge. I have three senior girls and I thought they all had the potential to win, but Izzy kept her feet better and that is how things went. They all ran well.”

The Punahou girls and boys cross country teams won their respective cross country state championships on a blustery, 55-degree Saturday morning at Hawaii Preparatory Academy. Photo courtesy of Punahou Athletics.

Maui Interscholastic League champion Kaylee Volner of Seabury Hall placed second at 21:35 and Cozette Wood of Kealakehe was third at 22:07.

Emily Naylor (22:36) of Kalaheo placed sixth, followed by Layne Millen (22:55) of Seabury Hall, OIA champion Zola O’Donnell (23:11) of Mililani, Ashley Kodama (23:13) of Hawaii Baptist and Kaylee Noda (23:21) of Pearl City.

Results of the full meet are available via the HHSAA site.

Billy Hull contributed to this post.


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