Athlete of the Year: Jacob Edwards (Ka’u)
Coach of the Year: Kimo Weaver (Kamehameha)
Ka’u – Jacob Edwards, 300 hurdles, triple jump
Hawaii Prep – Shane Brostek, shot put;
Kamehameha – Kanakalele Silva, 100 dash; Francis Blas III, 110 hurdles;
Kaenen Akau, long jump; Isaac DeRego, pole vault
Keaau – Daniel Brooks, 800;
Kohala – Ethan Meikle & Kelson Kawai, high jump
Honokaa – Chayce Moniz, 1500 & 3000
Waiakea – Ka’imi Scott, 200 & 400
Second team: Luca Walter (Kealakehe), Tyde Kunishiro (Hilo), Cameron Calistro (Hilo), Manta Dircks (Kamehameha), David Kekuewa (Kamehameha)
Honorable mention: Richard Moylan (Christian Liberty), Jesse Huihui (Kea’au), Rocky Lominario (Kealakehe), Everett McKee (Kamehameha) Christian Lee (HawaiiPrep), Dylan Steele (Kealakehe), Casey Chai (Kamehameha), Jordan Decoito (Hilo), Juan Sepulveda (Kealakehe) Shawn Andrada (Kea’au) Tyler Tsubota (Hawaii Prep), Jackson Halford (Waiakea), Joshua Robinson (Honoka’a) Geoff Whitener (Kealakehe), Kevin Olsen (Kea’au), Damien Packer (Kea’au), Dylan Oakes (Hawaii Prep), Easten Tanimoto (Kamehameha), Rick Micheals (Hilo), Cliff Eriksson (Kea’au), George Twigg-Smith (Hawaii Prep), Robert Mockchew (Kealakehe), Kainoa Crum (Kamehameha), Ka’u Eggers (Kea’au) Nelson Enos (Kea’au) Greg Matias (Kea’au), Alika Kaopua (Ka’u), Travis Winters (Waiakea), Hawk Hanoa (Kamehameha), Dathan Toribio (Kea’au), Jake Jordan (Kealakehe), Maunaku Palama-Danielson (Waiakea)
Long Live the King!
Kau’s Jacob Edwards retained his title as the “King of the Hurdles” by successfully defending the state crown at the Hawaii High School Athletic Association track and field championships held at Kamehameha-Kapalama on Saturday.
Edwards began by winning the 110 meter hurdles and later returned for a repeat performance by winning the 300 hurdles in a blistering time of 38.27 seconds, nearly two seconds ahead of his closest competitor.
Between his hurdle performances Edwards was claiming his third state medal by winning the triple jump and added a sixth place medal in the long jump to singlehandedly accumulate 31 team points for the Trojans.
“I’m grateful for how things turned out today,” Edwards said. “My goal coming in was to keep my state hurdle titles and to try to survive the triple jump. I was really feeling it today in the 300, but I like all three of these events.”
Edwards passed on two of his three triple jump attempts during the finals and watched as fellow Big Island Interscholastic Federation athletes performed. “It was a really cool meet to watch and I was excited for Kelson (Kawai from Kohala) in winning the high jump,” Edwards said. “We’re all part of a family and we cheer each other on during the state meet.”
Anuenue’s Joshua Gante leaped 45-05 on his final triple jump to close in on Edwards, but fell 1.25 inches short of passing the talented Trojan. “I knew I had the best jump from Friday and I wanted to rest between the hurdle events,” Edwards said of his passing on two attempts.
The BIIF’s other defending state track & field champion, Hawaii Preparatory Academy’s Ku’uipo Nakoa, won the gold medal in the 300 hurdles and the triple jump and needed to settle for silver medals in the long jump, and 100 hurdles, Nakoa’s four medals added 36 points to HPA’s total team score.
“I knew I was running against some amazing athletes,” Nakoa said. “During the trials I felt intimidated, but today I blocked it out and focused, using tunnel vision.”
Nakoa’s runner-up status in the 100 hurdles and long jump was due to Kahuku’s superstar Zhane Santiago who won gold in the long jump while setting a new state record for the 100 hurdles with a time of 14.92 seconds.
In the triple jump Nakoa had to come back from a mediocre trials performance to win the event during the finals in 38-08.25. “I knew what I had to do in the triple and I didn’t even think about it, I just went for it,” she said. “I had no idea that I had the winning jump until after the event was over and one of the girls came over to congratulate me.”
Kamehameha’s Kaopua Sutton came into the finals leading in the girl’s discus with her preliminary toss of 134-4 inches which stood up in the finals to claim the gold medal.
“The conditions were just perfect on Friday,” Sutton said. “The ring was smooth enough for me to gain rotational speed and the wind was just right. I thought I had better form during the finals as I threw another 134 feet, but yesterday (prelims) everything just clicked.”
Kohala’s Kelson Kawai brought home the gold in the boy’s high jump when he cleared 6’ 6”. Kawai’s previous best clearance this season was 6-4 as the 5 foot 7 inch leaper defied the laws of gravity. Kamehameha’s Manta Dirks finished in a tie for fourth.
“This might be the first time that Kohala has had a state champion,” Coach Tom McCue said. “We’re absolutely thrilled at what Kelson has accomplished – to jump 11 inches beyond his height is incredible.”
Kawai cleared 6-6 on his first attempt, and then went after the 6-9 state record by asking that the bar be raised to 6-9.25. “I kept my head positive and I practiced a lot of mental imagery,” Kawai said after winning the event. “I tried for the state record because I just wanted to see what I could do in my senior year.”
“A lot of credit goes to my high jump coach, Maria Bunyi, as she helped me get to where I am,” Kawai said.
Other BIIF finalist on Saturday:
- Kamehameha’s Francis Blas III finished third in the 110 hurdles and second in the 300 hurdles with teammate Everett “Maka” McKee in eighth for the 300. Teammates Manta Dirks was seventh in the triple jump and fifth in the long jump with Kaenan Akau fourth in the long. Not to be outdone Victoria Evans-Bautista captured third in the long jump for the Warrior girls.
- HPA’s Shane Brostek took third in the shot put and fourth in the discus – Kamehameha’s David Kekuewa finished eighth in the shot.
- In the 800 Keaau’s Daniel Brooks took fifth for the boys while Waiakea’s Kaitlyn Chock finished sixth for the girls.
- Kamehameha sprinter Kana Silva finished fifth and Waiakea’s Ka’imi Scott seventh in the boys 200 and Waiakea’s Teisha Nacis was eighth in the girls 100.
- Waiakea’s Ka’imi Scott was fifth in the boys 400 and Keaau’s Randi Estrada finished fifth for the girls.
- Honokaa’s Athena Oldfather was fifth in the girls 1500 with teammate Joshua Robinson finishing in sixth for the boys. (Island School – Kauai’s Pierce Murphy established a new meet record for the 1500 with his time of 4:02.1)
- High jump finals for the girls were held on Friday with Waiakea’s Ericka Cushnie winning the silver medal and HPA’s Mindy Campbell, the defending state champion, finishing in sixth.
- Konawaena’s Ua Ruedy third in the girls 300 hurdles.
- Hilo’s Shina Chung finished tied for fifth in the girl’s pole vault. “I feel good about today,” Chung said. “I still have two more years to get better. There is tough competition at the state meet.”
The top six boys and top six girls in each of the track and field events took home medals and scored points for their respective schools.
Punahou claimed the girl’s team championship, accumulating 95 points and surpassing runner up Radford with 63. The top BIIF girl’s team was HPA with 37 points – 36 of those points coming from Nakoa.
Punahou also won the boy’s team title with 70 points with runner-up Kamehameha-Kapalama 66.33. Tiny Kau, on the back of Jacob Edwards, finished fourth in the state with Edwards scoring all 31 points for the Trojans.
If things go as planned Big Island track & field athletes will need to carry extra luggage when then return from the state championships on Oahu this weekend as they will be carrying a lot of extra hardware with them.
The Hawaii High School Athletic Association state track & field championships will be held May 14-15 at Kamehameha’s Oahu campus and the Big Island Interscholastic Federation will be looking to bring home medals in a variety of track and field events.
Leading the way for the BIIF are state defending champions Kau’s Jacob Edwards and Hawaii Preparatory Academy’s Ku’uipo Nakoa.
Edwards who has been billed as the “King of the Hurdles” has dominated both the 110 and 300 meter events and holds the best times in the state this season. To go along with his picture perfect hurdling Edwards also has the best distance in the state in the triple jump and could win gold in all three events.
“I think Jacob (Edwards) could also medal in the long jump,” Kau coach Bob Martin said. “I’d also look at Kaenen (Akau) and Manta (Dirks) from Kamehameha to medal in the long.”
Nakoa, who single handily scored 58 points in helping HPA win the girls BIIF team title, also ranks as one of the top hurlers in the state. The senior Ka Makani is expected to fight for top honors in the 100 and 300 hurdles, but will face stiff opposition in the high hurdles from Kahuku’s Zhane Santiago.
Santiago leads the state in the triple jump while Nakoa leads the state in the long jump going 18 feet earlier this season. Nakoa also has a good chance of medaling in both the 100 and 200 meter dash.
Konawaena freshman, Ua Ruedy, has already made a name for herself in the 300 hurdles and on Oahu the youngster will focus entirely on that event as a gold or silver medal is within her reach.
The fastest sprinter in the state this year is Punahou’s Ashley Satterwhite who has dominated the 100, 200 and 400 meter events. But Satterwhite has decided to forego the 400 dash to concentrate on the 100 and 200 leaving the door open to HPA’s Zoe Sims to compete for gold in the 400.
Sims is the only BIIF girl to break the 60 second barrier in the 400 this season and if she goes under 59 seconds will have an excellent chance at taking top honors. Teammate Mindy Campbell is the defending state champion in the high jump and should also pick up a medal in that event.
Hilo’s Shina Chung is ranked in a tie for second in the state in the pole vault, clearing a height of 10 feet 7 inches. Chung, just a sophomore, is the two time defending BIIF champion in the vault and has a good chance of breaking the 11 foot barrier which would put her in contention for the gold medal.
BIIF girl’s team champions, Kamehameha, could also see Kaopua Sutton at discus and Victoria Evans-Bautista in the long jump claim medals in those events.
The Punahou girls are the clear favorites to win the team championship as they have the depth and the “big point earner” in Ashley Satterwhite.
“At states our athletes get to pick their favorite events,” HPA coach Pat Lau said. “Ku’uipo most likely will stick with both hurdles and jumps. Our relay teams are all underclassmen and the experience of running in states will be great for them.”
Lau believes that HPA has a shot of coming in the top five as a team. “The girl’s team title will be a fight between Punahou, Radford and Kahuku,” he said.
While Edwards is the best hope for the BIIF boys to bring home gold a host of other talented Big Island athletes will be fighting to gain one of the top six medals presented in each event.
Kamehameha coach Kimo Weaver sees his team’s depth as bringing them a long way this season. “At the state level we should be competitive in the relays, hurdles, sprints, jumps, throws and in the pole vault,” Weaver said.
Kana Silva, Keanen Akau, Manta Dirks, Keli’I Kekuewa, Francis Blas, Maka McKee, and Isaac DeRego are the Warrior boy’s hopefuls to medal at the state, according to Weaver.
“There are other kids that could step it up and hopefully medal for us,” Weaver said. “At the state level anything can happen and we are hoping it goes our way.”
Also watch for Waiakea’s Ka’imi Scott in the 200 and 400 meter dashes as the two time BIIF defending champion in those events has the quickness and ability to get out of the blocks fast and maintain a lead.
Kohala high jumpers Ethan Meikle and Kelson Kawai both cleared 6’ 4” during the BIIF championships which rank them in the top five in the state. Kamehameha’s Shane Brostek ranks third in the state for the shot put and Keaau’s Daniel Brooks third in the 800 meter run.
A big question mark is whether or not Honokaa’s distance runner Chris Mosch will be fully recovered to run in the grueling 3K. Mosch hurt himself prior to last week’s BIIF championships and wasn’t able to compete. Should he be at full strength he would be the BIIF best hope to medal in that event.
Unlike the girl’s team title, the boy’s title appears up for grabs with several schools vying for top honors. “Kamehameha-Kapalama has the inside track to win the team title for the boys,” Weaver said. “Waimea of Kauai and Punahou look to be contenders as well.”
As for the BIIF boys team champions: “It’s our goal to finish in the top 10 at state,” Weaver said. “If things go our way it is possible, but you never know as anything can happen at a state meet.”
Kohala is a quant, quiet little village on the north end of the island, but something must be going on as they have produced two of the finest high jumpers in high school track.
Ethan Meikle and Kelson Kawai are making a name for themselves as the Cowboys from Kohala are leading the Big Island Interscholastic Federation for their ability to leap over a cross bar.
While most of the high jumpers in the BIIF are struggling to clear 5’ 10” the Kohala duo jumped 6’ 2” on their first attempt this past Saturday at Keaau.
Meikle, who stands at 6’ 2”, cleared his own height for the first time in his track & field career. “My previous best this season was 6’ 1” and last season I couldn’t go higher than 5’ 10”,” he said.
Meikle credits a lot of his success to attending a high jump camp last summer. “I went to the Dwight Stone camp during the summer in Irvine, California,” Meikle said. “From the camp I learned a lot of drills and how to improve my technique which I passed on to my coach here at Kohala.”
Coaching Meikle and Kawai is Maria Bunyi who admits to being a student of the high jump. “I only started learning about high jump two years ago when the boys showed an interest in trying it,” she said.
Since that time Bunyi has read everything she could on the high jump and has introduced a variety of drills to improve technique.
“The boys are dedicated and they work very hard,” Bunyi said. “We work on technique and approach along with hip movement.”
Besides working on a variety of polymeric skills Bunyi has also gotten the duo to take part In 90 minute yoga sessions twice per week to improve flexibility.
“We trust our coach as she knows what she’s talking about,” Kawai said. “Yoga, imagery, form drills, it all works.”
Kawai, who stands at 5’ 7”, cleared 6’ 2” earlier in the season before injuring his foot in the triple jump. “I needed to take a couple weeks off to allow that injury to heal,” he said.
But after clearing 6’ 2” on his first try Kawai checked into the triple jump event and on his first jump reinjured his foot. While teammate Meikle was attempting to clear 6’ 4” Kawai could only watch as he limped across the field.
Both Kawai and Meikle lead the BIIF in the high jump and are tied for fourth in the state with their 6’ 2” clearance. But Kawai believes that in order to win the state championship they will need to go a lot higher.
“I’d like to be the state champ, but it’s going to take a jump of 6’ 5” or higher,” Kawai said. “Anything is possible if we put our mind to it.”
On the track it was Honokaa’s Tialana Greenwell winning both distance races in convincing fashion. Greenwell, who has struggled during most of the track season, is the three time BIIF cross-country champion.
“I just haven’t been feeling it this season,” Greenwell admitted after winning the 3000. “Mentally I wasn’t myself and there had been a lot of external pressure which brought my self confidence down.”
But on Saturday it was the old Greenwell emerging to first win the 1500 meter run in 5 minutes 15.33 seconds with Hilo’s Traci Palermo and Keaau’s Deann Nishimura-Thornton close behind.
Then later in the evening Greenwell led the 3000 race from start to finish with teammate Athena Oldfather trying to keep pace, winning in the leagues fastest time of 11:36.
“I know I need to work a little harder to get to states, but after today my confidence is back and it feels good,” Greenwell said.
In a surprise race it was relative unknown, Konawaena freshman Ua Ruedy, running the girls 300 meter hurdles for the very first time and winning the event in 49.37 seconds, the fastest time in the BIIF this season.
“I just tried the hurdles last week and I think the 300 is something that I can be really good at,” Ruedy said. “I like the 300 hurdles way better than the 100 hurdles because there is more space between the hurdles and I can gain more speed.”
Ruedy ran the 300 like a seasoned runner and didn’t miss a beat going over each hurdle on her right foot to lead the league on her very first try.
One of the best races of the day came towards the end of the venue when the boy’s 200 meter dash featured some of the fastest runners on the island.
Waiakea’s Ka’imi Scott got out of the blocks perfectly and pulled away from the talented field in the first half of the race. During the final 100 Keaau’s Jesse Huihui came flying down the straight away to pull up to Scott’s shoulder and out of nowhere came Kau’s Jacob Edwards with a fierce kick.
Edwards, who earlier recorded the best triple jump distance in the state, had a slow start out of the blocks and looked to be out of the race, but the gritty senior made it a three way affair in what was a photo finish at the line.
Three one-hundredths of a second separated the three talented sprinters with Scott (22.47) getting the win followed by Edwards and Huihui. All three boys made state qualifying time for the 200.
“I’ve been working on my block starts all week,” Scott said. “Getting out to a fast start is something that I’ve been practicing and it paid off today.”
This Saturday the BIIF will conclude its regular season with an all-schools meet at Keaau. Field events began at 2 pm with running events starting at 3 pm.