Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

National Honor for Kau’s Edwards

State Hurdle Champion, Kau's Jacob Edwards

State Hurdle Champion, Kau's Jacob Edwards

Accolades keep coming in for Kau’s Jacob Edwards.  The junior hurdler from tiny Kau won gold medals at the Big Island Interscholastic Federation track & field championships in May, then went on to win the state titles in both the 110 and 300 meter hurdle events.

   Recently, ESPN/RISE Gatorade released the names of the top boys and girls from each state, with Edwards taking the Player of the Year for Hawaii’s boy’s Track & Field Year with King Kelaulike’s Bailey Massenburg of Maui winning the girls title.

   Edwards was noted for his outstanding performance in both hurdles events during the track & field season along with his placing at the island level in both the long and triple jumps.

   Edwards’s sister, Larissa, who also was a state champion in the hurdles, is on scholarship at the University of Wyoming where she is turning in impressive times in the indoor track.

   “It was Larissa that pushed me into trying the hurdles when I was a freshman,” Jacob Edwards said.  “I’m glad she was bossy with me and steered me into that event.”

   Edwards led the state with a personal best time in the 110 hurdles at 14.85 seconds and in the 300 hurdles posting a time of 39.23.

   Edwards also has a season best long jump of 21-03.50 and triple at 45.02.00 to be a one man scoring machine for tiny Kau.

   “My 110, 300 and triple jumps this year were all personal best and I’ll be looking on improving on all of them in my senior year.”

   During the regular season Edwards often ran in the maximum six events which often included the 100 and 200 meter dashes.  “My 100 time (11.39) wasn’t that good and my 200 time (22.74) was okay, but I like doing these events just to be able to see what I can do” he said.

    “Besides, if you come to a meet and only run two or three events it’s a waste of a day,” Edwards explained.

    At the Hawaii High School Athletic Association track & field championships held at Keaau in mid-May Edwards’s singlehandedly scored 22 points to place Kau in seventh place among the 34 scoring teams.

   Besides his athletic performance on the track Edwards maintains a 3.68 GPA and is active in variety of community activities which includes three years in the DAT (Drug, Alcohol and Tobacco) program, and participation in town wide clean-up programs, according to Kau coach, Bob Martin.

    Edwards had strong competition for winning the Gatorade award.  In the mix was Trevor Mau from St. Louis who broke the state record in the long jump and Bryce Jenkins of Leileihua who broke the state record in the 3000 meter run.

    “The pool of talent vying for the boys Gatorade award in track was just amazing this year,” Martin said.  “Jacob receiving the award was surprising a bit, but deserving for sure.”

    “I can’t claim credit for any of his (Edwards) talent,” Martin said.  “He has a lot of potential with a lot of God given talent and I simply help make some modifications whenever I can.”

    Kau doesn’t have a track and the athletes work out on a grass surface.  “We set up five hurdles to simulate a race,” Martin said.  “We’ll use roundup and create a four lane track and the process will last for the entire season, then we start over again the following season.”

    This is the first time that Kau has ever had a student/athlete win the prestigious Gatorade Player of the Year award in any sport, according to Martin.  “Jacob has raw talent and we try to harness that energy and steer it in the right direction.”

    Martin is also quick to give credit to former Kau Athletic Director and track & field coach, Kimo Weaver (Weaver accepted a position with Kamehameha at the start of the 2008-09 season.)

     “Kimo developed the outstanding track & field program here at Kau about five or six years ago and deserves much of the credit in producing the hurdlers, sprinters and jumpers that we have.”

   In the upcoming weeks Edwards will start all over again, working on conditioning to prepare for his final year of high school competition.

   “In mid-August I’ll start doing long distance running which will include hills and I’ll do repeat sprints.  I’ll also hit the weights for upper body strength and will play soccer (forward) for sure as it’s a good conditioning sport,” he said.

   Edwards also watches a lot of YouTube of his favorite collegiate and professional hurdling stars.  “I’m a big fan of the Chinese Olympic hurdler, Liu Xiang, and I watch all his videos and try to learn,” he said.

      Christian Liberty’s Keoni Ucker (2006-07) and Konawaena’s Casey Flores (1995-96) were the other Big Island athletes that were selected by Gatorade since the program began in 1985.

      “We try to make do with what we have in Kau,” Edwards said.

July 12, 2009 Posted by | High School Track & Field | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment