Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Keaau and Kona win first BIIF Titles in Track & Field

Keaau boys celebrate first team title

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.

Keaau’s talent all started with middle school coach Randee Arkin

“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.

May 7, 2012 Posted by | High School Track & Field | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment