Two Defending Champions Falter in BIIF Track Qualifiers
KEALAKEKUA – It was a day filled with highs and lows as the Big Island Interscholastic Federation held the Track & Field Championship Preliminary’s at Yates Field in Konawaena on Friday.
During the first running event of the day Kau’s BIIF and state champion in the 110 meter hurdles, Jacob Edwards, jumped the starting gun and received a disqualification, false start, to leave him out of Saturday’s championships.
“It happens,” Edwards said of his false start. “I guess I was a little excited going into the race, but its okay.”
Edwards went on to win the 300 hurdles in 39.53 seconds and also set a new BIIF championship record in the triple jump with his leap of 45’ 4”, eclipsing Waiakea’s David Doll record of 45-2 set in 2004. The Trojan also qualified for the BIIF finals in the 100 and 200 dashes and the long jump.
Along with Edwards’s disappointment in the 110 hurdles was Hawaii Preparatory Academy’s Mindy Campbell in the high jump as she failed to make her opening height of 4’ 8” and failed to advance.
The high jump event was delayed for nearly an hour while event officials scrambled to find a cross bar. By the time the event got under way showers came in which made footing challenging.
Campbell came into the meet as the defending state champion in the high jump and with her dropping out early, opened the door for Waiakea’s Erika Cushnie and Keaau’s Randi Estrada to compete for the BIIF crown.
Cushnie won the high jump event by clearing 5 feet on her second attempt while Estrada cleared the same height on her third attempt with neither girl going higher.
“Today was a very weird day,” Cushnie said after winning her gold medal. “It normally never rains when we come over to Kona, but the rain made it difficult to warm up and to stay warm. I wish I could have gone higher, but I know I will when we go to states next week.”
The BIIF held two finals on Friday, the girl’s high jump and the boy’s pole vault, with Kamehameha’s Isaac DeRego winning the event by clearing 13 feet.
“After letting the BIIF wrestling title slip away this past season winning the pole vault title is redemption for me,” DeRego said. DeRego was the BIIF wrestling running up in the 171 weight class.
Leading performances during the qualifying day came from HPA’s Ku’uipo Nakoa in the 100 and 300 hurdles, 100 and 200 dashes, and the long and triple jumps.
Ka Makani teammates Zoe Sims in the 400 dash, and Shane Brostek in the shot put and discus throw.
Kamehameha sprinter Kanakalele Silva will lead Saturday’s finals in the 100 (11.14) and 200 (22.66) dash and teammate Kaopua Sutton discus throw of 126 feet 6.5 inches will separate her from the rest of the field.
The private school Warriors boys 4×100 relay team ran a 43.71 qualifier time and ranks as one of the state’s fastest, but will be challenged by strong Keaau and Kealakehe squads.
Of note is Kona freshman Ua Ruedy who clocked in at 47.49 seconds in the 300 hurdles and is only a step behind Nakoa in that event.
The Hilo boys and Kamehameha girls are the defending BIIF team champions. Going into the finals the HPA girls and Kamehameha boys come in as favorites.
“Kam boys are really strong and have solid sprinters, but don’t count out Hilo,” HPA coach Pat Lau said. “We have a good team, but anything can happen. We’re keeping Ipo (Nakoa) out of the relays and she’ll concentrate on six 10 point events.”
The BIIF finals will begin with field events at 3 pm and running events at 4pm on Saturday at Yates Field in Konawaena.