KEAAU – Pouring rain and a bone chilling wind didn’t prevent Kau’s Marley Strand-Nicolaisen from winning the first event of the day as the Trojan stood at the starting line of the 100 meter hurdles.
“During my warm ups a strong wind would kick up and I would have to start all over again,” Strand-Nicolaisen said. “It was difficult to get myself into the right frame space and get this race over with.”
Strand-Nicolaisen along with her competitors couldn’t escape being drenched and then had to fight against the chill while jumping up and down to stay warm.
“I really wanted to win the 100 hurdles because I was second last week,” Strand-Nicolaisen said. “I want to come back and win today and focus my concentration on winning the triple jump.”
Big Island Interscholastic Federation East Side track and field schools were at Keaau on Saturday while the West Side were running on the Hawaii Preparatory campus.
Strand-Nicolaisen became a triple event winner as she claimed victories in the long and triple jumps.
“My favorite event is the triple,” she said after leaping 34-9.75. “I’m hoping to go beyond 35 feet during the season in the triple and I’m feeling a lot better on my long as I am improving on my last year’s mark.”
Across the field the pole vaulters were experiencing a few rain delays but it didn’t infringe on the outcome for the two BIIF defending champions with Hilo’s Shina Chung winning the girls and Keaau’s Nelson Enos winning the boys.
“I’m not finishing and I need to work more on my technique,” Enos said of his 13 foot clearance. “I think I can go pass 14 feet.”
Enos used a 14 foot pole and knew what it would take to eclipse the mental barrier while predicting things to come in this Saturday’s meet.
“I’ll be practicing hard during the week and when we’re in Kona I’ll clear 14 feet,” the confident Cougar senior said. “I keep dropping my legs when I go over the bar and I need to work on that.”
Hilo’s Chung was also a little disgruntled with the 10 foot clearance as she strives to go 10-5.
“It just wasn’t in me today,” Chung said. “I’m on a bigger pole than last year while I am making the transition from an 11-6 pole to a 12 foot pole.”
Chung is also hoping for bigger and better things on Saturday in Kona.
“I think I can go a lot higher with a bigger pole, but I’m okay with today,” Chung said. “I try not to take meets for granted and I always try to do the best that I can.”
While Chung was trying to leap tall buildings fellow Viking teammate Mehana Sabado-Halpern, a freshman, was going against a senior from Waiakea in the 1500.
“I surprised myself today,” she said of her 5:10 victory over Kelsey Kobayashi. “I wanted to hit 5:15 so I’m really happy with today’s results.”
Sabado-Halpern credited teammate Carmen Garson-Shumway with providing her the skills necessary to run the distance race.
“Carmen has been giving me a lot of tips and has really helped me gain more confidence,” she said.
The Viking freshman has also been exploring a variety of events as she’s been in the 100, 200, 400 and 800.
Waiakea’s Michael Morikawa was injured during the 110 hurdles when his knee clipped a hurdle, but didn’t lose a step when he also competed in the long and triple jumps and the 300 hurdles.
“I was dreading the 300 today,” Morikawa said.
With knee wrapped and traces of blood leaking through the bandage Morikawa didn’t lose a step when trailing Keaau’s Damien Packer into the final turn.
“My adrenaline kicked in so I didn’t feel the pain,” Morikawa said. “When I caught up to Damien I discovered I could win when I realized that he was stuttering his steps.”
Packer was in Lane 3 and Morikawa in Lane 4 as the duo came racing to the finish. Morikawa pulled out the victory and in the process managed a personal best time of 43.02.
Warrior teammate Ian McQuate also pulled out an upset when he won the 3000 meter race, breaking 10 minutes in the process.
Last week it was St. Joseph’s Andrew Langtry running away from the rest of the field to win comfortably, but on Saturday McQuate did the near improbable.
Langtry took the early lead with Hilo’s Steven Hunter hanging onto second for the first three laps in a seven and a half lap race.
“I was just trying to keep my pace and I had lost track of how many laps I had left,” McQuate said. “I was a little confused, and I was never sure of myself.”
McQuate pulled up to Hunter and Langtry and then surged his way into the lead with less than 3 laps to go.
“Once I took the lead I did not want them to catch up to me so I began to speed up,” McQuate said. “I thought I might have a chance to win the race and it became more about me never wanting them to catch up.”
The BIIF venue moves to Konawaena on Saturday with an all schools meet beginning at 9 am.