KEAAU – The Wildcats and Cougars were running wild on Saturday as their track and field teams swept the girls and boys titles at the Big Island Interscholastic Federation championships.
For the Konawaena girls and the Keaau boys this was their first league championships in school history and a big reason to celebrate.
Keaau Coach Vicky Chai-Guerpo was at a loss for words in what was an emotional journey over several years.
“This was a team effort,” the tearful Cougar coach said. “I’m so proud of them and they did it for themselves, their parents and for their school.”
The Cougars relied on the experience of a sprint core made up of Jesse Huihui, Damien Packer, and Alexander Engdahl with teammate Cliff Ericksson handling the jumps and hurdles.
Packer and Eriksson got the Cougars started going one, two respectively in the 110 hurdles to give the Cougars 18 team points and from that point forward Keaau never relinquished the team lead.
“It feels very exciting and I’m just glad to have had the opportunity,” Packer said of his 110 victory. “I think I can do better at states if I remain determined and focused.”
Sprinting also translated into victory in the 4×100 with Keaau showcasing their multitalented corps, not only winning the BIIF relay title by posting the best time in the state with a 43.10 time.
Egdahl, Packer, along with Raskassa Johnson and Jessie Huihui were instrumental in the picture perfect sprint relay for the Cougars.
Balance in Keaau’s firepower could be found everywhere with Cougars Engdahl and Eriksson going 1 and 3 respectively in the 300 hurdles for 16 points.
“It feels awesome to win,” Engdahl said. “This year I think I can do good at states and I will try my best.”
“This was our first BIIF title, in any sport, in school history,” Keaau Athletic Director Iris McGuire said. “We entered the BIIF during the 1998-’99 season, so this title means a lot to our school.”
Chai-Guerpo has been the track and field coach at Keaau since 2000.
“Everyone in this school will know that it is possible,” Chai-Guerpo said. “I’ve been coaching for a while and this has been a long time in coming.”
While the Cougar boys were racking up an enormous lead in the team standing, eventually winning by more than 40 points over a talented Kealakehe squad, the Wildcats girls were in a seesaw battle for their team title.
Kona using their two big guns in Ua Ruedy and Lia Galdeira were heavily relied upon to score the big points, but it was the few unexpected points that helped put them over the top in a close battle.
Wildcat Coach Kuulei Karratti-Saole had predicted the team’s victory the day before saying, “We should win by 10 to 15 points.”
The Kona coach knew her team well and relied upon Galdeira to score 50 points and Ruedy to add another 34 to keep a talented Hawaii Preparatory Academy team at bay during most of the day.
At one point, with just three events to go, HPA trailed the Wildcats by 14 points with the 3K, 200 dash and 4×400 relay left.
Four pivotal points were scored by Kona’s little known freshman, Shayli Nakamoto in the 3000 run with her fourth place finish.
“I just wanted to keep my team in first place,” Nakamoto said. “I feel really important.”
Nakamoto’s contribution managed to keep the Wildcat lead and it was a surprise victory in the 200 that sealed the team win for Kona.
The 200 dash saw Galdeira get disqualified in a false start the day before and it became a surprise victory for teammate Ruedy that sealed the deal.
“I never thought I could win the 200,” Ruedy said. “It is a big win for me and our team.”
“I think this is the first time Kona has won a BIIF team track title,” Karratti-Saole said.
Karratti-Saole is in her fourth year at the helm of the Wildcat track program. She is also a former state champion in track winning the gold medal in the 100 back in 2003.
Kona edged out HPA for the girls team title by 11 points.
The upset of the day may have come in the girls 1500 run with Hilo’s Carmen Garson-Shumway taking on defending state champion, HPA’s Zoe Sims.
HPA, known for their talented distance runners, took a pack of four runners immediately to the lead.
“I didn’t want to get boxed in so I moved out with 300 to go,” Garson-Shumway said.
It became an all out sprint to the finish with Sims and teammate Kristiana Van Pernis staying on the heels of Garson-Shumway.
All three girls crossed the finish line under the meet record, with Garson-Shumway winning in 4:53.36, Sims 4:54.63, and Van Pernis 4:55.23.
“I didn’t expect to win,” Garson-Shumway said. “We are all friends and this is not about winning, it’s about the experience.”
Garson-Shumway was quick to give credit to her teammate, freshman Mehana Sabado-Halpern for helping to push her during practice.
“Mehana helps to push me and she is a real nice running partner,” Garson-Shumway said.
Sims later returned to the oval to redeem the situation in the 800 winning in a meet record time of 2:18.46 to edge out Garson-Shumway, 2:20.02.
The girl’s pole vault title went to HPA senior Sydney Budde at 8-6 with Kealakehe sophomore Kristi Lovell finish second.
The senior, who has vaulted all four years, was excited about her first BIIF title.
“That’s insane that I made it this far,” Budde said. “I’ve been second in my previous three years.”
Keaau will play host to the Hawaii High School Athletic Association track and field championships on Friday and Saturday, May 11 and 12.
Age division: GIRLS 11-12
Jaysha Pavao 1st High Jump, 3rd 400, 2nd 4×50
Tawnee Respescio 1st 200, 3rd 4×100 Tianna Celis 3rd 4×100
Kailee Sibayan-Santiago 3rd 4×100 Saydie Burns 1st 4×50 3rd 4×100
Chantel Carlos 3rd 200, Diana Doan 3rd 4×50
Maria Calso 2nd shot put, 3rd 4×50
Jessica Andres 3rd 4×50 Kyla Andres 3rd 4×50
Ruby Galapon 2nd high jump Narizza Saladio 3rd high jump
Audra Payne 3rd high jump, 1st 800, 2nd 1500 relay
Gerenel Galvez 1st 4×200 Eve Paguirigan 1st 4×200
Gretchen Padamada 1st 4×200
Kaimana Tabajunda 3rd 1200, 3rd 4×50
Jake Cambia 1st running long, 2nd 800, 1st 4×50
Dallin Oandasan 1st shot put, 1st discus, 3rd 4×100
Christain Batad 2nd high jump, 2nd 100, 1st 4×100
Reynaldo Arcellana 1st 400, 1st 4×100
JoJoe Villa 1st high jump, 1 4×100 Albert Zuniga 2nd 1200, 2nd 4×50
Kyle Rice 1st 4×50, 3rd 4×100
Rhodney Hernando 1st 4×100 Elijah Castillo 2nd 4×100
Kolby Gebin 1st 100, 3rd 4×100
Oliver Padamada 1st 4×50 Joseph MacDonald 2nd 4×50
Bronson Pili 2nd 4×50 Kalena Napihaha 1st 4×50
Greyson Haskell 2nd 800, 2nd 4×200 Paxton Rhyss 2nd 200, 2 4×200
Joshua Quero-Ondo 2nd 4×200 Charles Calwell-Kaai 2nd 4×200
Hershey’s Track & Field Games are coming up on Saturday at Keaau.
Kids, 9 to 14, will challenge their potential while exploring sports and recreation through running, jumping and throwing events.
Home town favorite, Keaau Middle School, will bring several members of their team to compete in the daylong event on Saturday, March 5.
Hosted by the County’s Parks and Recreation Division teams from around the island will be on hand as the best of the best youngsters from Hawai’i Island will compete for medals.
Longtime Keaau Green Wave coach, Randee Arkin, expects a fun day filled with competitive athletes which will display a high level of sportsmanship.
“Our main goal is to have fun and to enjoy the wonderful sport of track and field,” Arkin said.
A Disciplined Arkin Keeps Busy and Fit (Dec. 13, 2003)
What does it take to stay with a fitness program?
For those that exercise on a regular basis, the key to self-motivation lies in one’s determination to be self-disciplined.
In the sleepy little village of Honomu lives such a person. A woman that is admired for her dedication to a healthy and fit lifestyle.
Randee Arkin, a middle school physical education teacher at Keaau, embodies the values of a focused and dedicated individual that believes in taking care of herself.
Arkin, who practices what she preaches, eats healthy on a daily basis in a diet filled with a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables.
Her yard produces an abundance of avocados, papayas, oranges and bananas, and Arkin often trades her excess for other healthful foods with neighbors and friends.
She also supplements her diet with eating flax seed, oat and wheat bran for breakfast and then uses brewer’s yeast with her dinner salad.
At school, she reminds her students of the importance of eating properly and makes suggestions as to the types of foods that produces a healthy and balanced diet.
Arkin regularly rises at 5 a.m. and leaves for school by 6. “I’m a morning person,” she said, “and I like getting things done early.”
She arrives at school by 6:30 and begins her day. At 7 o’clock, she has the Shipman gym door open and provides supervised play for dozens of kids.
“Usually there are about 75 kids who want to come in and play basketball and dodge ball,” Arkin said.
Every day after work, Arkin heads home where she will spend 60 to 70 minutes working out on the treadmill.
On weekend, Arkin adds two hour walks, early in the morning, with her German Sheppard dog named Vegas.
Arkin begin in earnest, her healthier lifestyle when her daughter Bre was 2 years old. Now, 18 years later, Arkin reaps the rewards by looking younger, feeling more energetic and living life to the fullest.
Arkin knows full well the value of exercise and a healthy diet – she lost her father when she was only 10 years old.
“My dad, whom I adored, died of a massive heart attack at age 36,” she said. “I know that I need to take care of myself if I want to avoid the hereditary effects of heart disease.”
Arkin combines her brisk walking with light jogging to keep her heart rate up, thus maximizing the benefits of aerobic training. She schedules regular physical examines and has made herself knowledgeable of all her numbers, including her cholesterol.
Besides her school activities, Arkin has also volunteered to help with the Big Island International Marathon and for the past two years has served as the starting line official out in Pepeekeo.
Arkin also volunteers as a Red Cross worker and is on call whenever East Hawaii comes under the wrath of Mother Nature. Just last month, during one of our winter storms, Arkin was called upon by the Red Cross to help man one of the shelters, giving up part of her weekend with her sweetheart to do so.
A big part of her success comes from loving what she does. “I love to teach and I enjoy all of my students,” she said.
Arkin is a magnet for student affection as she always makes herself available. She can often be found sitting amongst a group of kids, answering the many questions this age group has in life’s growing circumstances.
For many years Arkin has volunteered to train the Keaau students in track and field. “I like to get kids to participate in the Parks and Recreation program,” she said.
Arkin has prepared many middle school students for the rigors of high school athletic program, encouraging and training some of the top prepsters today.
And she follows up with her kids by volunteering as a coach at Keaau High School and attending all of the track meets held in East Hawaii.
You can also find Arkin at many P & R basketball games as she is a big supporter of youth activities.
Arkin is an excellent role model in our community who works hard every day to give our youth the support and positive directional push in motivating everyone she comes into contact with.
She is a real life person that practices the values of self-motivation and self-discipline in her quest to live a full, healthy and active life.
We all could benefit from the Randee Arkins’ of the world.
Editors Note: This Big Dog column was written seven years ago. Big Dog was so inspired by Ms. Arkin that he married her four years ago. Merry Christmas Randee Arkin-Joseph as you continue to bring inspiration into my life!
P&R TRACK MEET – Feb 20, 2010
KEAAU MIDDLE SCHOOL RUNNERS AND THROWERS:
Kainalu Burley – 2nd shot Brandon Raney – 3rd 100, 1st relay
Isaiah Rosa – 1st high jump, 1st relay James Sloan – 1st relay Shaun Parker – 1st relay
Joshua Whitmore – 3rd shot Kumalani Filoteo-Kekipi – 2nd relay Brandon Aasve – 2nd relay
Dustin Kneidl – 2nd relay Roy Martines – 2nd relay Chase Peneku – 3rd 400
Jeffrey Ferrell – 3rd high jump, 3rd 200, 3rd 800
Sabrina Coverson – 1st high jump, 2nd 400, 1st relay Brianna Cadaoas – 2nd high, 1st 200, 1st relay
Tazha Gonsalves – 1st shot put, 2nd 200, 1st relay Laura Silva – 3rd high jump, 2nd relay
Sharae Mangauil-D’Amore – 2nd high jump, 2nd relay Sally Hanabaga = 2nd relay Alyssa Huihui – 2nd relay
Daysha Alameda – 1st high jump, 2nd 100, 1st relay Hannah Osborn – 2nd 1200, 3rd 800
Marie Garcia – 3rd high jump Eve Paguirigan – 1st 70, Kanani Cook – 2nd 70, 2nd relay
Charnalyn Crivello – 1st relay Lydia Turmelle – 2nd relay Sade Coverson – 1st relay
Alyssa Yamamoto – 2nd relay Natasha Naehu – 2nd relay
Keane Enos – 1st relay Kapua Cordero-Galasa – 2nd 400, 3rd relay
Hana Wilburn – 3rd relay Kiana Akana – 3rd relay Jade Kauwe – 3rd relay