Sunday | November 19, 2017
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BIIF cross-country: ‘Riders running strong on freshmen domino effect

KEAAU – Audrey Weir is no ordinary freshman. She skipped a grade and is 12 years old. Also, she keeps winning BIIF cross-country meets.

There’s one exception, though, when taller, older, and more experienced runners from the mainland are invited to the same 5K course as her.

Four Redlands (Calif.) High Tigers finished 1-2-3-4, but Weir was the first BIIF runner at the Kamehameha Invitational meet on Saturday at the school’s campus, which served as Waverider freshmen day.

Alec Ankrum, Kealakehe’s other standout freshman, captured his first title in 17 minutes, 44.96 seconds, ahead of Waiakea juniors Adrian Larkspur (17:48.65) and Eric Cabais-Fernandez (17:51.34).

Weir finished in 21:57.73, ahead of Hilo junior Devon Paulson (22:14.15) and Kealakehe sophomore teammates Leann Hamilton (22:17.83) and Heidi Andelfinger (22:24.61). Two-time defending BIIF champion Sophia Cash was 10th in 22:32.93.

With an outgoing personality, Weir enjoys facing older competition at meets and going to school with older classmates. She was homeschool by her parents Randall, a Kealakehe STEM teacher, and Sarah, a computer technician.

“It’s fun, and when I play soccer I play against older players,” Weir said. “My parents said I could participate in high school if I finished Algebra I. I love school. Now, I have more friends.

“I’m in my dad’s class. I call him, ‘Mr. Weir’ and I don’t get any benefits.”

Her two younger sisters Sophia 10, and Madeline, 11, are homeschooled. Her brother is Kealakehe sophomore Nathan Weir, who also runs cross country. But he was on Oahu during the Kamehameha Invitational, flying planes with the Civil Air Patrol.

Weir is also in the Civil Air Patrol and Girl Scouts. She plans to play soccer and run track for the Waveriders, who finished second behind Redlands.

“We’re very competitive as a family. When my brother beats me by a ton, I still want to race him,” she said. “Whenever you’re tired, you have to push through. That’s how you win. It’s mental toughness, wanting it more than everybody else.

“I always get nervous before a race. But after the first race (at HPA), I’m way more comfortable.”

Weir looked comfortable, doing her job as a domino (her coach explains that), finishing strong and pushing Redlands sophomore medalist Chelsey Romo (20:34.84).

“The freshmen have been a pleasant surprise,” Kealakehe coach Brad Lachance said. “The thing I tell the kids is everybody on the team is really important. You have to push the person in front of you, like a row of dominoes.

“Audrey has an outgoing personality. She’s friendly and competitive. Alec is a nice kid. He’s quiet and quietly competitive.”

From Wisconsin

Ankrum was born in Michigan, moved to Wisconsin when he was 2 years old and left the cold winters for Kailua-Kona’s warm weather when he was 12 years old.

His first win had him beaming with more sunshine.

“It felt great. I pushed really hard, and I was able to stay ahead of them,” he said. “I did a good job pacing myself. I stuck with the first couple of guys, and about halfway I turned it on.

“I started early in the third grade, not in competition but for fun. When I saw how fast I could get, I fell in love with it and got into the competition. Placing second the other week fueled me to go for first.”

Like Weir, Ankrum has athletic siblings, Aidan, in seventh grade, and Archer, in fifth. The three brothers will likely be swimming Waveriders one day. Besides swimming, Ankrum also plans to run track.

Their dad is Adam Ankrum, an emergency room doctor, and mom is Laura, a family practice physician. They provided athletic genes. He’s a triathlete, and she was a U.S. Olympic marathon qualifier in 2000.

“My dad got sick of the cold, and when he saw an ER opening in Waimea the family moved,” Ankrum said. “I’ve surfed. I’m not good but had a lot of fun. It was a great transition when he got the Hawaii job. Everyone here is friendly and so accepting. I’m happy we moved.”

Ankrum is also in Mr. Weir’s STEM class, and he hopes to be an engineer in that Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics field someday.

Like on the course, Ankrum and Weir can push each other in that STEM class, like a pair of dominoes.

 

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