Jordan McNamara strides out from starting line
Big meet in spectacular setting at Kualoa Ranch on windward Oahu is set for Saturday morning. Two Northwest region #4 ranked teams -- Auburn-Riverside WA boys and Snohomish WA girls -- are the favorites. Host Iolani has the defending Hawaii boys and girls champs. Schools travelling the furthest, Midlothian VA and Lake Braddock VA, arrived Tuesday to see the Hawaiian sights and shake jet lag before the races. Individual favorites include Midlothian veteran Amanda Patterson; California soph sensation Shannon Murakami; Snohomish's trio of Alyssa Modrell, Amanda Stopa and Kara Sporrong; Hawaii champ Nicole Anderson; and Auburn-Riverside's Jordan McNamara and Josh Clough.
by Rich Gonzalez, editor of DyeStatCal
Iolani continues to grow in its 6th year
After months of anticipation, the wait is finally over. With talented national-caliber entries from the state of Washington leading the record onslaught of mainland teams participating, the Iolani Invitational continues to grow in its 6th year, both in size and stature. Once regarded as a showcase for national-class individual talent (including boasting three eventual FootLocker national champions on the girls' side), the meet has since evolved in recent editions to include powerhouse teams as well.
This year should prove no exception, with nationally regarded Pacific Northwest juggernaut Snohomish High School (ranked 17th nationally) leading the list of girls' teams entered. Snohomish, which was pinned with a narrow loss in a battle of national megapowers here a year ago, enters as the favorite in 2004. There are prime contenders for the podium spots, however, with California power Saugus, East Coast force Midlothian of Virginia, regional standouts East Valley of Washington and Long Beach Poly of California joining the hosts and three-time defending state champion Iolani High.
Individually, the pacesetters could very well be Midlothian senior standout Amanda Patterson and California sophomore sensation Shannon Murakami, although Snohomish checks in with a trio of decorated All-State performers. Patterson, who clocked a lifetime-best 5:00.55 for 1600 meters in May, might have the edge in terms of big-meet experience, often crossing state lines in search of top-flight competition in recent years. Murakami was the fifth-fastest freshman in California at the 2003 state meet, clocking 18:14 to earn Division I All-State accolades. For Snohomish, Alyssa Modrell, Amanda Stopa and Kara Sporrong are all leading entries in the field. Former Hawaii state champion Nicole Anderson of host Iolani leads the island contingent.
On the boys' side, Auburn Riverside aims to make it a possible sweep of the team titles Pacific Northwest squads, with pre-race individual favorite Jordan McNamara leading five returnees from an A-R unit that placed 7th at the 2003 Washington State 4-A championships. McNamara and senior classmate Josh Clough spearhead a vaunted attack that has the crew ranked fourth in this week's just-released Nike Team Nationals Northwest Region poll. Other top teams entered include perennial area powers Midlothian and Lake Braddock ogf Virginia and Long Beach Poly of Southern California. Locally, defending state champion Iolani headlines the entries. Aloha!
2003 - Nationally ranked teams show well on the slopes of Kualoa Ranch. Sultana CA girls edge Snohomish WA, 48-52. Eisenhower Yakima WA boys parlay 1-2-3 pack of Robbie Barany, Chuy Chavez and Charles Cummings (below) to near perfect 19-point score. Shelby Leland CA wins girls individual title.
2002 - Carl Moe WA and Ruth Graham CA win individual titles. Eisenhower Yakima WA boys and Montgomery Santa Rosa CA girls win team titles.
2001 - Amber Trotter CA is the third straight girl to win Iolani and go on to win the Foot Locker cross country national championship.
2000 - Sara Bei CA and Nick Millar CA.
1999 - Local favorite Victoria Chang wins inaugural meet.