Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Big Day for Big Man at Keaau – HPA’s Shane Brostek

 
Brostek leads BIIF in Shot – photo by Brad Ballesteros

One of the big men in prep track & field pulled out a David Copperfield trick and disappeared without leaving a trace.

Standing at 6 foot 3 inches and weighing in at 300 pounds, Hawaii Preparatory Academy’s Shane Brostek is an imposing giant in a field of big men that throw the shot and discus during the track and field season of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation.

This past Saturday, at the Keaau Track, Brostek once again led the league by doing what he does best; throwing inanimate objects the furthest across the field.

Better known for his football skills, Brostek has dominated the BIIF Big Men by launching the shot and discus further than anyone else on the island.

Brostek discus toss earlier in the season of 158-01 is nearly 17 feet further than his closest competitor and his shot of 53-04.25 is a foot further than anyone in the league.

But following his final event at the shot put ring on Saturday Brostek, who was visually upset with himself, picked up his gear and disappeared into the parking lot.

“Shane is a very serious competitor who has high standards and when he doesn’t perform up to that level he gets upset with himself and withdraws,” HPA head coach Pat Lau said of Brostek’s sudden disappearance.

Brostek, a junior, threw the shot 52 feet 10 inches on Saturday to win the meet by more than 8 feet over his closest competitor, but didn’t appear happy with his spin technique. 

photo by Brad Ballesteros

“Shane has a lot of talent and he sets his goals really high,” BIIF discus official Marvin Jones said.  “He has the potential to be the best in the state as he’s sitting on a gold mine.”

Back on the track it was Kealakehe’s Dylan Navarro showcasing his blazing sprint speed to take top honors in both the 100 and 200 meter dash.

“It’s been an exciting day for me today,” Navarro said.  “I had perfect block starts and I managed to keep my head down and arms pumping as I accelerated from start to finish.”

In the 100 Navarro got a push from Kamehameha’s Kaenen Aukai Akau as the Warrior grabbed the lead during the first 50 meters.

“I really wanted to win,” Navarro said of the 100 race.  “Aukai got a slight jump out of the blocks, but I think I just wanted it more.”

The 1500 displayed two of the finest distance runners in the BIIF with Honokaa’s Chris Mosch going against Waiakea’s Jackson Halford.

Mosch took the lead on a talented field, but Jackson hung onto his shadow keeping a full stride behind.  Coming out of the final turn Jackson turned on a kick and pulled up to Mosch shoulder as the Dragon began drifting further into Jackson’s lane.

Mosch ended up crossing the finish line a half stride ahead of Jackson, but was disqualified by race officials who claimed that Mosch impeded Jackson’s attempt to pass in the straight away.

“Chris helped me to set a P.R. (personal record) as this is the fastest I ever ran in my life,” Jackson said of his 4:17.20 performance.  “I didn’t know that I won until the officials took Chris on the side and DQ’d him.  He is the most talented runner I know on this island and he’s worked really hard to get where he is.”

Mosch was philosophical about his disqualification saying “It wasn’t my intent to impede, but I’m glad I learned this lesson now instead of two weeks from now during the BIIF championships.”

Mosch later ran the 3K and literally ran away from the field of 13 competitors, lapping some of them once and others twice during the seven and a half lap contest.

“I wanted to go out fast in the 3000, but the 1500 must have taken something out of me because I didn’t go out as fast as I would have liked.” Mosch said.

None the less, Mosch easily won in a time of 9:35.40 beating his closest competitor by more than 200 meters.

Halford also returned to run in the 800 and came away with a second place finish to Kealakehe’s Luca Walter.  Walter clocked in at 2:02.47 and Halford followed a second behind.

“Jackson (Halford) pushed me as he was on it today,” Walter said.  “I wasn’t at my best as I didn’t feel right and wasn’t able to shift gears coming out of the turn.  I heard footsteps and I got worried.”

Marley and Kristina – Big Dog photo

Another Warrior, Michael Morikawa, came away with another triple jump victory by leaping over 40 feet.

All season long the public school Warrior has been quietly leading the league in the triple as the sophomore feels like he is getting the technique down.

“I started doing the running triple in fifth grade,” Morikawa said.  “I’ve always liked that event and I’m going to hit a 41 in the triple one day so that I can rank higher in the state.  I must continue to work on my technique.”

Also getting the triple down to near perfection is a pair of Kau teammates in Kristina Padrigo and Marley Strand-Nicolaisen.

Padrigo was a workhorse for the Trojans taking second in the 100, third in the 200, first in the long and third in the triple jumps.

“This was just my second time trying the triple jump,” Padrigo said.  “My favorite race is the 100 dash and I like having Marley as she motivates me and teaches me a lot.”

Strand-Nicolaisen went first in the triple and fifth in the long.

“My main event is the triple jump as it comes naturally to me,” Stand-Nicolaisen said.  “Kristina pushes me as we do a lot of different things together including playing volleyball.”

The BIIF track and field venue moves to the HPA campus on Saturday with field events beginning at 9 am and running events at 10.

Related link:  https://waynejoseph.wordpress.com/2011/05/08/hpas-shane-brostek-win-2-gold-medals-at-hhsaa-track-field-championships/

April 18, 2011 Posted by | High School Track & Field | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Grassroot support growing to save UHH cross country program

Some members of the UHH women’s cross country team

“It is a sad day when UH Hilo cuts the only sport that has a connection to traditional Hawaiian culture (makahiki),” Kamehameha chemistry teacher Joel Truesdell said.

Truesdell is referring to the latest announcement from the Vulcan athletic department to cut both the men’s and women’s cross country programs in order to meet the projected 10 percent budget deficit.

“It shows a lack of sensitivity or awareness to the cultural basis of sport in our Hawaiian community,” Truesdell said.  “All we are left with are imported games.”

Along with being a teacher at the Kamehameha-Keaau campus Truesdell is also the head women’s cross country coach for the Warriors and an advocate for distance running.

The UHH cross country program is a non revenue generating sport and, like most business decisions, found itself at the bottom of the priority list and at the top of the chopping block of UHH Athletic Director Dexter Irvine.

“Our kids are devastated,” UHH cross country coach Jaime Guerpo said.  “I broke the news to them a few days ago and since that time we’ve been looking at ways to try to come up with the $100,000 needed each year to keep us going.”

Guerpo has been coaching the cross country program at UHH since 1999 and has taken a budget cut ever year.

“I feel it’s my duty to keep the program going,” Guerpo said.  “I understand that the administration had to make the cuts to keep the athletic program going and we’ve always made do with what we got and have produced a very successful program.”

Guerpo is even willing to coach the team without compensation if it would help salvage the program.

“I’d give up my pay in a heartbeat if that is what it would take to keep this program going,” he said.  “We’re looking at all sorts of ways to help keep cross country alive at UHH.”

Over the years Guerpo had heavily recruited local athletes from around the state to run on his men’s and women’s teams.

Currently Christian Liberty’s Justin Pang, Keoni and Nick Ucker, Keaau’s Nick Hagemann and Liliana DeSmither, Kau’s Kapua Lapera, Waiakea’s James Imai, and Hilo’s Stefano Barbis are members of the team.

Several of the current and former UHH cross country runners were winners of the Big Island Road Runners scholarship.

“We were all in shock when Coach Jaime broke the news to us a few days ago,” Imai said.  “We’re still hoping we can find a way to keep the programs alive.”

The BIRR, along with the Big Island International Marathon, Honolulu Marathon, and Big Island Running Company have all been contacted to lend their support towards helping to keep running alive at UHH.

These UHH runners have also been highly visible in the community, often found at the finish lines of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation cross country and track and field finish lines as they help give back to the sport in which they love dearly.

Guerpo and his runners have also been strong support/volunteers at Hawai’i Island Special Olympics and numerous County Parks and Recreation track and field meets as they serve as strong role models for our community.

“We also help out with the Big Island Marathon each year by setting up hundreds of cones and barricades along the 26.2 mile course at 3:00 a.m. and then collecting and returning them when the event is over,” Guerpo said.

“The UHH cross country team are not self-promoters, but are contributors in ways that are not always recognized in public forums,” Faith Nance, the cross country representative on the Vulcan Athletic Club said.

“Many of the talented high school runners who choose to remain at home have the opportunity to continue to participate in a sport that can become a lifelong avocation and a strong foundation for a healthy lifestyle,” Nance said.

Dozens of emails poured into the Big Dog’s mail box in support of looking at ways of keeping the cross country program alive at UH Hilo.

 “At least UH Manoa gets it,” Truesdell said.  “They have a full complement of the sports that are traditionally based such as cross country, track and field, swimming and sailing.”  

The UHH athletic department made their decision to cut cross country without getting community input which has many local residents upset because they feel they are stake holders in higher education.

“It seems to me that UH Hilo should reach out to the community before making this decision,” Truesdell said.  “The people here will take care of their own if given the opportunity or challenge.”

Guerpo continues to look over a variety of scenarios to see if something can be salvaged.

Vulcan runners support many local community races

“If we have to give something up then I’d like to see the women’s team saved as this would at least come into Title 9 compliance of gender equity, “Guerpo said.

 If the UHH decision makers were to come to BIIF cross country meet they would see the connections.  Keeping a sport like this will maintain and strengthen ties to the community that are priceless.

“A University’s cross country program provides a valuable benefit not only to the team members, but also to the entire university and surrounding community by inspiring everyone to get more active,” Jason Braswell, owner of the Big Island Running Company said.

“Collegiate cross country is particularly inspirational to middle school and high school students who get to see where their running can lead them,” Braswell said.

With the continued growth of the Big Island International Marathon and BIIF cross county programs the continuation of a university running team would be responding to the interest of a growing segment of our community.

We all hope that Athletic Director Dexter Irvin will reconsider his decision to cut an important sports program and instead become part of the solution in promoting something that has deep seeded roots in our culturally based community.

If anyone in the community would like to help save the UHH cross country program please contact the Big Dog at waiakeabigdog@aol.com or call 969-7400.

Related link:  https://waynejoseph.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/uhh-athletics-suspends-cross-country-cheerleading-press-release/

April 18, 2011 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

UHH Athletics Suspends Cross-Country & Cheerleading – Press Release

Pac West men’s cross country

 University of Hawaii at Hilo Director of Athletic Dexter Irvin announced today the 2-year suspension of three programs as part of an effort to reduce its budget while maintaining the viability of the department.

On the table are men’s and women’s cross country and cheerleading.

The savings of approximately $100,000 in operational, salary and scholarship funding per academic year will be added to a 10-percent operational savings Irvin established at the beginning of the fiscal year.

“We’ve been able to stay in the black for the past two years but like everyone else we also need to cut back,” said Irvin. “We looked at many scenarios but felt that this move would have the least affect on our student/athletes’ academic opportunities and our program’s competitiveness.”

During the 2010-11 seasons, 120 athletes were on athletic scholarship. Six belonged to the cross country program.

“These scholarships will not be affected,” said Irvin. “We will honor our commitment to their academic success here at UH Hilo.”

Among the challenges Irvin faces in his second year at UH Hilo are the increasing cost of travel and education while trying to balance a budget that is currently funded below the NCAA Division II national average.

“We are part of a 7-percent decrease in scholarships as well as a probable 7-percent decrease in our operational funding,” said Irvin. “We have made significant reductions in many programs and we cannot continue to make overall program reductions without sacrificing student/athlete welfare and well being,”

University of Hawaii at Hilo Director of Athletic Dexter Irvin announced today the 2-year suspension of three programs as part of an effort to reduce its budget while maintaining the viability of the department.

On the table are men’s and women’s cross country and cheerleading.

The savings of approximately $100,000 in operational, salary and scholarship funding per academic year will be added to a 10-percent operational savings Irvin established at the beginning of the fiscal year.

“We’ve been able to stay in the black for the past two years but like everyone else we also need to cut back,” said Irvin. “We looked at many scenarios but felt that this move would have the least affect on our student/athletes’ academic opportunities and our program’s competitiveness.”

During the 2010-11 seasons, 120 athletes were on athletic scholarship. Six belonged to the cross country program.

“These scholarships will not be affected,” said Irvin. “We will honor our commitment to their academic success here at UH Hilo.”

Among the challenges Irvin faces in his second year at UH Hilo are the increasing cost of travel and education while trying to balance a budget that is currently funded below the NCAA Division II national average.

“We are part of a 7-percent decrease in scholarships as well as a probable 7-percent decrease in our operational funding,” said Irvin. “We have made significant reductions in many programs and we cannot continue to make overall program reductions without sacrificing student/athlete welfare and well being,”

Cross Country was started in the 1980s. Under similar fiscal conditions, the programs were suspended during the 1989 and 1990 seasons before being re-instated during the 1991 season. During the 20-year stretch since, the Vulcans claimed three conference championships and were consistent participants of post-season races.

“Coach (Jaime) Guerpo had done an excellent job in recruiting this upcoming season so it is very painful for him and for us,” said Irvin. “We look forward to the time we can revisit the opportunity for our cross country programs.”

Vulcan athletics consists of six women’s sports (basketball, golf, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball) and five men’s sports (baseball, basketball, golf, soccer and tennis). Nine of the 11 sports participate as members of the Pacific West Conference while women’s golf and men’s tennis will gain membership beginning the 2012-13 seasons.

NOTE: Vulcan Athletics will be submitting an application for a PacWest waiver in cross country.

April 18, 2011 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , | Leave a comment