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Big Island Interscholastic Federation track & field athletes left their mark at the Hawaii High School Athletic Association preliminaries held at Kamehameha-Oahu on Friday.
BIIF athletes made the championship finals, to be held Saturday, in 22 different events as the top eight competitors in each event advanced.
Kau’s Jacob Edwards demonstrated why he is the state champion in both the 110 and 300 hurdles by taking both events in convincing fashion. KS-Hawaii standout Francis Blas III will be joining Edwards in the finals of the 110 (No. 4) and 300 (No. 3) with Warrior teammate Everett McKee also making the 300 (No. 6) hurdles event.
In the triple jump Edwards made the furthest distance and will be seeded No. 1 going into the finals along with KS-Hawaii’s Manta Dirks seeded No. 7.
Edwards also made the finals of the long jump (No. 6) and is joined by KS-Hawaii jumpers Kaenan Akau (No. 4) and Dirks (No. 5).
Hawaii Repertory’s Ku’uipo Nakoa had the second fastest prelim time in the 100 and 300 meter hurdles and in the second best long jump distance, with Kahuku’s Zhane Santiago edging Nakoa out in each of those events during day one of the championships.
Nakoa also advanced in the triple jump, but was not too pleased with her overall placement. “I’m a little frustrated in the triple,” she said. “My 300 was a little off too as I was concentrating so much on not messing up the fourth hurdle that I missed a step and went off stride.”
HPA big man, Shane Brostek, qualified for Saturday in the shot put (No. 3) along with Kamehameha’s David Kekuewa (#8). Brostek also made it into the finals of the discus (No. 7).
For the girls it was Kamehameha’s Kaopua Sutton’s impressive discus throw of 134’ 4” that gives her the No. 1 seed going into the finals.
In the boys 800 Keaau’s Daniel Brooks opened with the second fastest time while the girls saw Waiakea’s Kaitlyn Chock qualify (#8) with her fastest time of the season.
It was a tough day for BIIF athletes in the 100 and 200 meter dashes as league champion, Kana Silva, was disqualified in the 100, but came back to place #3 in the 200. The lone BIIF girl in the sprint finals will be Waiakea’s Teisha Nacis (No. 7) in the 100.
Waiakea’s Ka’imi Scott had a good showing in the 400 dash (No. 2) for the boys while Keaau’s Randi Estrada (#7) for the girls made finals.
“It was really windy today,” Scott said. “I short of laid up on my 400 in the last 50 meters, so I think I can go under 50 seconds during the finals tomorrow.”
Estrada finished the third in the state last year as a freshman and is hoping to do the same again this year. “I know I need to run faster in the finals and I really like to get back to finishing in the top three,” she said.
In the distance races it was Honokaa’s Athena Oldfather #5 and HPA’s Kela Vargas (#6) making finals in the 1500 meter run for the girls with Honokaa’s Chayse Moniz (#8) for the boys.
Distance hopeful, Honokaa’s Chris Mosch, scratched from the 3000 meter run with a stress fracture in his foot. The Dragon junior had the second fastest time in the state going into the prelims, but was forced to withdraw.
Not all was rosy for BIIF relay teams as no island school made it into the finals of the 4×100 while the Keaau girls were eighth and Waiakea boys (No. 8 ) got in for the 4×400.
The girl’s high jump and boy’s pole vault were the only two events that held their finals on Friday as Waiakea’s Ericka Cushnie earned the BIIF’s first medal by taking second in the high jump, clearing 5’ 2”. Defending state champion in the high jump, HPA’s Mindy Campbell, managed to clear 5 feet and took home the sixth place medal.
The HHSAA championship finals will conclude today with 32 events with medals being award to the top 6 in each event.
The reigning King and Queen of prep track and field will step onto the all-weather oval this weekend when the Big Island Interscholastic Federation holds their season openers at Kamehameha-Keaau and Konawaena.
Kau’s Jacob Edwards and Hawaii Prep’s Ku’uipo Nakoa return to the track for their senior season as the 2009 male and female athletes of the year, respectively.
Last year Edwards won individual honors during the BIIF championships in the 110 and 300 meter hurdles and the triple jump while placing second in the long jump and fourth in the 200-meter dash to single handedly score 42 points for the Trojans.
Edwards went on to win the Hawaii High School Athletic Association state championships in the 110 and 300-meter hurdles and placed fifth in the triple jump. For his efforts Edwards was selected as the Gatorade boy’s track and field athlete of the year for the State of Hawaii.
“I plan on coming out like a rocket again this year,” Edwards said of the upcoming season. “I’ve conditioned during the off season by running cross-country and I spent a lot of time strength training so I’m excited about starting the season.”
Despite not having a track to practice on at Kau, Edwards has managed to excel at just about everything he has entered. This season Kau’s long jump pit is under construction and Trojan coach Bob Martin drove Edwards to Kamehameha one day during Spring Break to practice at the Warriors field.
“I’ve set a lot of goals for myself in my senior season,” Edwards said while practicing at Kamehameha. “Once the season gets underway we’ll see what happens.”
Nakoa won the 200 dash, long and triple jumps and placed second in the 100-meter dash and scored 38 individual points and helped HPA finish first in the 1,600 relay and second in the 400 relay.
At the state championships Nakoa won the long jump, but it was a bitter sweet victory as she injured herself on the final jump and never totally recovered to do her remaining events.
“I was leading the long jump after my second try and my coach told me not to do a third jump, but I did anyway and that’s when I injured myself,” Nakoa said. “I went on to finish third in the triple and sixth in the 100.”
This year Nakoa comes in with a different attitude and the confidence that she can go further than in the past.
“In the past I’ve only really been focused on BIIF’s,” she said. “This year I want to place my focus on how far I can go at states. I plan on blocking everything out and concentrate on jumps while focusing on running the 400.”
Currently HPA is putting in a new all weather track which won’t be completed until the fall so Ka Makani athletes are training on makeshift areas and making do with what they have.
“My sprint coach, Brad Lau, is really helping me out as we’re looking for different places to do our workouts which have included running in the pastures and at the beach on the sand,” Nakoa said.
Waiakea’s Kaimi Scott returns for Waiakea as the defending 200 and 400-meter champion and looks to improve on his times this year.
“I’m focusing more on my form which will help me get faster,” he said. “The 200 is my strength, but I like running the 400 as well.”
The Waiakea boys are the two time BIFF 1600 relay champions and look to defend their title with a strong returning sprint core with the return of Owen Cooper, Travis Winters and Jacob St. George.
Last year three BIIF freshmen won individual titles with Keaau’s Randi Estrada winning the girls 400-meters and later took third place at the state championships. Hilo’s Shina Chung won the BIIF pole vault title and HPA’s Shane Brostek won the boys shot event.
Hilo High is the defending boy’s team champion winning last season by more than 60 points with Viking coach Bill McMahon winning his 18th team title (boys and girls combined) during his 19 years at the helm.
“I got some numbers this year, but most of the team is real green,” McMahon said. “We’re just going to have to see what happens as the season progresses.”
The Kamehameha girl’s team beat out a tough HPA squad to claim the title and another showdown between the two schools looks to be brewing once again this year.
“We are trying to keep the ball rolling,” Kamehameha coach Kimo Weaver said. “Our team goals are to better our times/marks each week, be in contention for the league title and improve on our number of state qualifiers.”
The Warrior girls will again face stiff opposition from a large and talented HPA squad for this year’s team title.
“We are stocked with good freshman distance runners, most from the BIIF girl’s champion cross-country team,” HPA coach Pat Lau said. “We have roughly 85 athletes on the track team and 61 are girls.”
Other top returning BIIF track & field athletes to watch this season are:
Hilo: Cameron Calistro, hurdles, Shalila De Bourmont, distance.
Honokaa: Tialana Greenwell, Athena Oldfather, Chris Mosch, and Joshua Robinson distance.
HPA: Hanna Scully, sprints, Kela Vargas, distance, Sydney Budde, pole vault, Lana Queen, hurdles & jumps, Mindy Campbell, high jump and Tyler Tsubota, distance.
Kamehameha: ‘Io Heaukulani, sprints & high jump; Kaopuanani Sutton, throws; Bronte Kaneakua, sprints; Natasha Ah Chong; Hiilani Evans-Bautista jumps; Corin Kim, mid distance; Manta Dirks jumps, and Kaenan Akau, sprints & jumps; Maka McKee hurdles.
Keaau: Daniel Brooks, mid distance, Jesse Huihui, sprints and jumps.
Kealakehe: Walter Luca, mid distance.
Kohala: Ethan Meikle, high jump.
Waiakea: Kaitlyn Chock mid distance and Erika Cushnie, high jump.
The BIIF Track & Field season kicks off on Saturday, March 27, with East/West meets at Kamehameha-Keaau and Konawaena starting at 9 am.