BIIF’s Finest procduces state champions in Track & Field
KEAAU – Five defending state champions from the Big Island Interscholastic Federation had their titles on the line as the Hawaii High School Athletic Association held the track and field championships over a two day period on Friday and Saturday.
Hawaii Preparatory Academy’s Shane Brostek (shot and discus) and Zoe Sims (1500), along with Konawaena’s Ua Ruedy, Kealakehe’s Luca Walter and Kamehameha’s Kaenen Akau (long jump) all passed the qualifiers on Friday to make it into the finals on Saturday.
BIIF athletes advanced 21 boys and 19 girls into the finals with individual and team championships on the line.
The defending BIIF boy’s team champions and Coach Vicky Chai-Guerpo were looking to place within the top 5 teams during Saturday’s finals.
“The competition at this level is very stiff and I hope our kids are ready to compete,” Chai-Guerpo said. “Baldwin is probably the team to beat and I’m impressed with them.”
The Bears from Maui came in as the heavy team favorites as their qualifiers were spread deep into the finals.
Chai-Guerpo’s time was split between hosting the state meet and coaching the Cougars.
“I had lots of help from parents, my athletic director, and many other people which made hosting easy for me,” she said.
Brostek had an off two days in the discus throw and finished the championship in 4th place, to be the first defending champ to be unseeded from his crown.
In the shot Brostek came back with a vengeance repeating as the state champion with his toss of 55-7.25.
“I messed up in the discus with bad technique,” Brostek said. “I’m a little disappointed tonight, even with my shot because I did better during the regular season.”
Brostek is headed to the University of Washington on a football scholarship, but is also thinking of joining the track team.
“I might try to walk on in track, but those guys are pretty awesome,” he said.
Kealakehe’s Luca Walter did what he’s been dreaming of in the finals.
“I finally got my time under 50 seconds,” Walter said of his 400 meter victory. “Breaking 50 seconds means more to me than winning the state title.”
Walter, a confident senior for the Waveriders, took the race out in lane 5 and ran his own race.
“I actually like lane 3 better because I can see my competition around me,” Walter said. “I’m a firm believer in God so I asked him to help me.”
During the preliminary trails on Friday a Kealakehe coach timed Walter on his 4×400 anchor leg at 48.99 seconds.
Akau had no trouble defending his long jump title with his leap of 21-11.
“It’s great to repeat as state champ,” Akau said. “I managed to work out the tension in practice and allowed my technique to carry over into the jump.”
Akau, who most of the season found himself fouling in his first two attempts was composed during the state championships and on Friday unleashed a 22-1 leap to regain his title.
“It was during my last jump on Friday that I hit the 22 mark,” Akau said.
During the 100 dash Akau claimed third place and was satisfied with that mark.
“Third in the 100 at states, I can’t go wrong with that,” Akau said. “My mantra coming into states was ‘run fast, jump further’.
The defending 300 hurdle champion, Kona’s Ua Ruedy dove in desperation 18 inches from the finish line to take second place.
Ruedy a real competitor gave 100 percent in her attempt to retain her hurdle crown, falling just short.
Wildcat teammate Lia Galderia won her first track state title leaping 18-01 in the long jump to outdistance the rest of the field.
“I can’t wait to play basketball,” Galderia said after winning the long. “It was good fun with great coaches, but it’s onto basketball now.”
HPA’s Sims fell in her attempt to repeat in the 1500 when a talented Seabury Hall’s Dakota Grossman, a sophomore, ran her personal best and gave credit to the two Big Island girls for pushing her during the race.
Hilo’s Carmen Garson-Shumway tried to stay in the pack of Sims and Grossman, but as the event came to its final lap Grossman pulled away for the victory.
Two new state champions were crowned in Keaau’s Cliff Eriksson, wining the high jump going 6-2 and Alexander Engdahl taking the 300 hurdles.
Eriksson was the only competitor to clear 6-2 and he asked that the bar be raised to 6-4.
“I just wanted to see what I could do today,” he said. “I am happy that I won the state title, but am also disappointed that I couldn’t clear 6-4.”
For Eriksson it proved to be a mental game as the senior put it all together.
“I thought I could and I wanted it,” Eriksson said of the hurdle victory.
Eriksson did have his share of disappointment as his relay team failed to pull out the victory in the 4×100.
“It was a little disappointing,” Eriksson said. “We were all hoping we could win the relay and it just didn’t happen.”
The Keaau boys were the BIIF team champions and were looking for a top five finish at the state meet.
“I’m very proud of my team,” Coach Chai-Guerpo said. “This was our greatest season in the history of Keaau.”
The Cougars boys finished fourth overall and was the first BIIF team.