Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

BIIF track and field season gets a running start on Saturday

     It’s never easy to dethrone a champion and this track & field season won’t be any different as the Big Island Interscholastic Federation defending girls and boys champions look for a repeat.

The Hawaii Preparatory Academy’s girls and Waiakea boys look to defend their team titles when the BIIF gets a running start with dual season openers at Kamehameha and Konawaena on Saturday.

“We return a young, but experienced girls team,” Veteran Ka Makani Coach Pat Lau said.

“Our strength will be with our distance girls in events of 400 meters and above.”

Lau has the luxury of having the entire 2011 girl’s state champion cross country team on the track.

Zoe Sims, last year’s 1500 meter state champion along with Kristiana Van Pernis who placed in both the 1500 and 800 meter events at states, will headline the talented Ka Makani distance squad.

“Besides our distance girls we have two strong finishers in pole vault, Sydney Budde and Taylor Esaki,” Lau said.

Experience is the name of the game with HPA having two hurdlers in Emily Evans and Katie Case which give firepower and depth to Ka Makani track squad.

“In the rest of the events we have a lot of new girls and they should do well,” Lau said.

Lau also has a host of talent to choose from with another large turnout on the track.

“This year we have another big  team with 47 girls and 32 boys, most are still learning,” Lau said.  “Pole vault alone will have 11 athletes with only 4 having experience.”

Lau points to his coaches which are working hard at finding the right events for each of his athletes.

“Our coaches will spend time with each and every one of them to find how they can best contribute to the team,” Lau said.

The HPA boys return state shot put and discus champion Shane Brostek and Lau feels that he will have another great year.

“Our senior leader is Kayden Haleakala in the pole vault and sprints,” Lau said.  “We expect a few surprises in the hurdles and jumps with our young boys.”

Defending boy’s team champions, Waiakea, return most of their squad from last season which have coaches Mary Jane and Lance Tominaga looking for a repeat.

“We’re expecting our returnees to contribute in their events,” MJ Tominaga said.

The Tominaga’s have high expectations for Mauna Palama-Danielson, throws, Jackson Halford, Ian McQuate and Keoni Rice in the mid to long distance races, Michael Morikawa and Kevin Nicolas in the hurdles and jumps and Colton Austria in sprints.

“We have about 40 athletes on the boy’s side and we expect some of our new additions to be key contributors to this year’s team,” Coach Tominaga said.  “We feel the team will be competitive as we have the depth to field athlete in every event except for pole vault.”

Waiakea has a small girl’s team with 15 and the Tominaga’s agree that they lack the depth of the boy’s squad.

Key individuals for the Warrior girls will come from Kelsie Kobayashi in distance, Haley Rasse, mid distance and Teisha Nacis in sprints.

Around the rest of the league:

KEAAU will field a large squad of 77 athletes, but according to Coach Vicky Chai-Guerpo most are young and have raw talent.

“We have a close knit group of kids who are focused on doing their best,” Chai-Guerpo said.  “Our goal is to be a ‘brotherhood’ caring about each other and if we accomplish this, then a win may follow.”

The Cougars will rely on the experience of a sprint core made up of Jesse Huihui, Damien Packer, and Alexander Engdahl. Teammates Cliff Ericksson, jumps and hurdles; Nelson Enos, pole vault; Talon Ota, jumps and 400; Joey Aquino, high jump; Randi Estrada, sprints; and Deann Nishimura-Thornton at distance events.

HILO with veteran coach Bill McMahon has a good turnout of mostly young girls and he is trying to see how they will develop.

“Our girls will bring back Carmen Garson-Shumway at distance, along with Shina Chung at Pole Vault,” McMahon said.

The Viking boys will see Zack Atagi in the discus and shot.

“Our boys had a good turnout but almost all are new guys so we don’t know what we have yet,” McMahon said.  “We are going to try to be competitive.”

HONOKAA – One of the league’s best distance coaches, Josh Abner, brings with him one of the strongest 1500 and 3K runners on the track in Chase Moniz along with brothers Robert and Tony Conners handling the mid distance. 

“I also have high expectations for our 4×400 meter relay team and sprints with the addition of Dylan Oanadasan, Brooks McVey, and Koa Phenice returning,” Abner said.

Abner also noted that Josh Tobias will join the team, after a fantastic soccer season.

For the Dragon girls Abner has high hopes for Hildhang Adona and Kelly Greenwell in the distance races along with Nahe Lau and Yvonne Daniels in the sprint events.

KAU – has a new coach, but a familiar face on campus, Kapua Lapera returns to her alma mater after graduating and running cross country for the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

The Trojans return one of the islands fastest sprinter and jumper in junior Christina Padrigo. 

Marley Stand-Nicolaisen, triple jump and hurdles along with teammate Alika Kaopua, the BIIF triple jump champion will also be a highlight for Kau.

KAMEHAMEHA – Under head coach Kimo Weaver always produces outstanding hurdlers who have gone on to win state titles.  Weaver is a master coach in the hurdles as that is his area of expertise.

The Warriors will carry between 20 and 30 boys and another 20 to 30 girls, according to Weaver.

Outstanding returnees include Kaenen Aukai Akau in the long jump and sprints along with Chelsea Poe in sprints and relays and Alyssa Lehua McGuire in the hurdles, pole vault and relays.

“Our strengths are in the jumps, but we are a young and inexperienced team,” Weaver said. “Our main goal is to simple get better every week and having fun doing it.”

KONAWAENA –  Wildcat coaches Kuulei Saole and Kuulika Taveras return some super star power in Ua Ruedy, the defending state champion in the 300 hurdles and Lita Taomoefalau who placed third in the BIIF throws.

The big question was whether or not basketball great Lia Galderia will compete as she was questionable going into the preseason while she was still working on preparing for college, according to a school source.

Galderia, a muli talented athlete will appear in action on the BIIF track scene, as her presence will add a boost to the Wildcat program according to sources within the BIIF.

The BIIF regular track and field season gets a leaping start this Saturday as West side schools head to Kona with East side running on the Kamehameha Keaau track.

Both venues start with field events at 9 am and running events commencing at 10 am.

March 30, 2012 - Posted by | High School Track & Field | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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