Niki KauzlarichCross Country

Kadena High School, Okinawa

Last week: Posted the fastest time in the Pacific this season, running the 3.1-mile Kishaba Housing Area course on Camp Foster in 20 minutes, 4 seconds as the Panthers won their second meet of the season, defeating Kubasaki 21-45 on Wednesday.

Kauzlarich’s time was 41 seconds faster than the 20:45 she posted when she won the Far East meet’s 3.1-mile individual race last November at Misawa Air Base, Japan, and 27 seconds behind her personal best of 19:37. She returned from a Texas A&M summer camp determined to do even better, coach Tom McKinney said.

“She realized you have to train differently if you want to be a total cross-country athlete,” McKinney said. “She’s wanting to do more things, more difficult workouts. She loves the challenge. She wants to win Far East again.”

Aaron ZendejasCross country

Kadena High School, Okinawa

Last week: Ran the 3.1-mile Kishaba Housing Area course on Camp Foster in 17 minutes, 44 seconds Wednesday, edging teammate Tim Nabonne by a second and winning his second Okinawa Activities Council race in as many tries this year.

Zendejas’ time was nearly two minutes better than in his first race of the season on Sept. 7 at Camp Hansen. The Panthers have won both their meets over Kubasaki, 16-51 at Hansen and 17-44 at Kishaba.

“He is a dedicated athlete (who) knows what he needs to do to win,” said Tom McKinney, coach of the two-time defending Far East meet champion Panthers. “Younger athletes are always asking him for advice on how to become a better runner. He is always willing to help others on the team reach their goals. He is a great asset to this team.”

— Selected by Stars and Stripes staff

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