BIIF runners rank high in State
Smith, Wall and Scott made long strides this past Saturday at a Big Island Interscholastic Federation track & field meet at Konawaena.
Kona’s Dakota Smith established himself as the number one 800 meter runner by powering his way to a close victory over Kamehameha’s Jordan Lerma.
Smith came into the final heat of the boy’s 800 meter run as the clear favorite and quickly jumped out to a fast start running the opening lap in 56 seconds.
“My target was to hit a 57 or 58 second first lap and I went out a little too fast,” Smith said after winning the event.
Lerma was determined to stay with Smith, but faded back 10 meters at one point during the race with the rest of the field more than 30 meters behind Lerma after the opening lap.
“I began to hear someone coming up on me with 250 meters to go,” Smith said. That someone was Lerma who began to make his move on the back straightaway to close the gap.
With 50 meters to go Lerma had pulled up with Smith as the two boys sprinted their way to the finish. In the final 10 meters Smith pulled a stride ahead of the determined Warrior to win in 1:59.81 with Lerma clocking in at 2:00.15.
Smith’s time propelled him into the state’s number one ranking with Lerma now being ranked third in the state. Keaau’s Daniel Brooks did not race on Saturday, but hold down the state’s number four position for the 800.
“I don’t really care about the ranking,” Smith said after it was announced that he was #1 in the state. “It’s just paper and it doesn’t mean much. I will mean more if I can win the state meet.”
“I felt good at this meet,” Smith said. “This was probably the first time this season that I ran without having a blister, or feeling sick, or having some other kind of problem.”
“I heard about that kid (Lerma) before, from cross-country, but I never expected him to be up there with me. Running on my home turf made a difference as I like this track as I practice on it all the time,” Smith said.
Smith believes that by the end of the season he’ll be able to get under 1:59. “My coaches, Lopaka (Robert May) and Ken (Foreman) have raised the bar for me and I give them a lot of the credit.”
For Lerma it was a big surprise to run 2 minutes flat in the 800. “I’ve never run that fast before as my goal coming in was to just get under 2:06 (his personal best),” he said.
“I just stayed focused during the race and I tried to stay with him (Smith) up to the 600 meter mark. I was hoping I could outkick him with 200 to go, Lerma said.”
With confidence in hand Lerma now expressed his desire to get under 1:59. “I’m going to try for a 1:58 and I believe that Dakota is a good guy to run against. I’ll focus on the 800 as I have the speed of a sprinter and the experience of a long distance runner,” Lerma said.
In the girls 400 meter dash it was Kona’s Kaua Wall and Keaau’s freshman sensation, Randi Estrada wowing the crowd.
Wall blazed through the one lap race in the BIIF fastest time this season clocking in at 61.25 seconds, which ranks her number five in the state, with Estrada taking second in 61.55 seconds and a number 7 state ranking.
Longtime Kona coach, Ken Foreman, said of his 400 meter runner “Kaua doesn’t have a lot of speed, but she has a lot of guts. She is probably one of the nicest and easiest kids to coach and one of the reasons that I continue to coach.”
Wall was equally complimentary of her coach saying, “Coach Ken has been pushing me hard in practice and I just wanted to do it for him.”
The Wildcat hit the halfway point right on her target goal of 29 seconds and was pleased with her effort. “I’m trying extra hard this year and during the race I just dug deep and pushed hard,” she said. “I know with hard work I’ll be able to get under 60 seconds this season.”
Better known for her soccer skills where she captured the BIIF’s MVP award, Wall will be attending college at Hawaii Pacific University on a partial athletic scholarship. “I’m hoping to convert from a midfielder to a forward at HPU as I want to be attacking,” she said.
Another 400 meter runner, Waiakea’s Ka’imi Scott, established himself as the top BIIF runner in that event this season.
Scott used the 100 meter dash earlier in the morning as a warm up, then went out and opened his 400 with a 24 second 200 split to win the event in 51.60 seconds.
“I was actually trying to go 26 seconds at the halfway mark, so I went out too fast,” Scott said. “I know I need to pace myself better in the beginning and push really hard at the end.”
Scott’s 400 time raised his state ranking to #3 in that event, but the junior Warrior isn’t satisfied with where he is at. “I’d like to get under 50 seconds. I like running at the Kona track because the surface is hard and it has longer straight-aways,” he said.
Scott anchored his team during the 4×400 relay which won the event and raised Waiakea’s state relay ranking to #5. Hilo didn’t run a 1600 relay on Saturday, but continues to hold down the state’s #3 ranking.
Other BIIF runners ranked in the state top five are:
Hilo Bronson Kahaleua, #2, 200; Thomas Delacruz, #2 300 hurdles, #3, 110 hurdles; Mark Turner, #3, 3000; David King, #1 pole vault, Scott Hunter, #4 pole vault, Jordan Loeffler, #5 shot put.
Kamehameha’s Caleb Friel, #3 pole vault.
Kau’s Jacob Edwards, #1 for 110 & 300 hurdles, #3, triple jump.
HPA’s Ku’uipo Nakoa #1 triple jump, #2, 100 meters and long jump, #4, 200; Ka Makani 4×400 relay #3.
Kamehameha’s Aubrey Lea Shaw, #2, 300 hurdles.
Kohala’s Julia Naumes, #4 shot put
Honokaa’s Tialana Greenwell, #5, 3000.
HPA’s Mindy Campbell & Waiakea’s Cassie Morigaki are in a three way tie for first in high jump