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

Lady Ka Makani looking to continue BIIF Cross Country Dynasty

Lady harriers from Hawaii Prep

The Hawaii Prep girls cross country program doesn’t don Yankee pinstripes, it doesn’t channel Celtic pride and it’s never celebrated their victories with the Lambeau leap.  But in its own realm, Ka Makani wahine are every bit as dominant.

Since 1980 the ladies from Hawaii Preparatory Academy have dominated the Big Island Interscholastic Federation cross county winning league titles in 27 of the past 31 years, according to Ka Makani athletic director Stephen Perry.

The BIIF cross country season opens this Saturday with the HPA girls team coming in as heavy favorites to win yet another league championship.

Waiakea (1983 & 1991) and Kamehameha (2005 & 2007) were the only other schools to win BIIF girls team titles and HPA looks on track to continue their cross country dominance.

Ka Makani return four of the varsity seven from last year’s league champions with Zoe Sims, Emily Evans, Kristiana Van Pernis and Mariah Haight leading the way.

Head coach Michael Franklin returns at the helm, but down plays his team’s goal of winning another league title.

“Truly, people don’t believe me when I say this, but winning a championship is not one of our goals,” Franklin said.  “Our goals are simple as they come from the basic philosophy that life is more satisfying if one pushes him or herself beyond perceived limits.”

Franklin believes that his harriers need to focus on themselves and their team rather than on trying to win a league championship.

“Focusing on winning a championship would require too much attention on others,” he said.  “We really have a team focus.”

Ka Makani girls finished second in the state last season and this year is considered the team to challenge Punahou again for the Hawaii High School Athletic Association title.

“This is the strongest team that I have yet coached at HPA,” Franklin said.  “That does not mean that it is the fastest team.  It is the strongest because of its unified spirit and unanimous love for the running lifestyle.  Whether we win or lose races, this team’s attitude makes it exceptional.”

Gunning for the girl’s title will be the Warriors of Kamehameha as Coach Joel Truesdell return five of his top seven girls.

“This is the first time since we last won the BIIF championship that we return this many varsity starters,” Truesdell said.

Kamehameha returns three girls that were in the top 20 at the BIIF championships last season in Tiana Iwata (12th), Corin Kim (16th) and Erin Carvalho (20th).

“We’ve got some depth on our girl’s squad as we have 8 girls running in the lead pack,” Truesdell said.  “Our goals are the same as last year, to get a full team into states.”

Also shooting to get a full team to qualify for the state championship is Hilo’s veteran coach, Bill McMahon.

“Our top two returning girls are Shalila De Bournmont and Carmen Garson-Shumway,” McMahon said.  “Our boy’s team are all young, but I do have a good sized group.”

Waiakea’s  fastest girl is Kelsie Kobayashi and she will be anchored by Haley Rasse, Vanessa Ignacio, Skye Ombac, and Vandey Okinaka, according to Coach Jordan Rosado.

“We have a large team, with 40 boys and 28 girls,” Rosado said.  “I feel we have as good a chance to compete for the boy’s team title as anyone else, since Honokaa lost some of their best runners to graduation.”

Waiakea will be led by Jackson Halford and Keoni Rice with Ian McQuate, Hajime Hiyano and Dyson Sato providing needed support according to Rosado.

Honokaa, returns as the four time defending league champion, but has some holes to fill from last season.

“Chayce Moniz, Clayton Robinson, Pedro Sanches, Robert Conners, Tony Conners, Riston Matias, Koa Phenice, Sean Quinlan, Justin Warren, and Mason Wilkes are our returners,” Coach Joshua Abner said.

Abner lost three of his seven starters from last year, including two time individual BIIF champion Chris Mosch, which leaves the door open for several teams to vie for the team title.

“Every day is an open tryout for us and every one of these boys are hungry,” Abner said.

Last season’s big surprise came from the boys at Parker School as Coach Ceri Whitfield qualified her team for the HHSAA.

“I feel with the hard work these boys put into their training they have as much chance as any of the other schools to come in first,” Whitfield said.  “They are very committed and positive about their chances this year as they work very hard.”

Leading the way for the Bulls is Jesse Tarnas who will brings a solid core of runners which includes Jesse Tarnas, Paul Gregg, Tyler McCullough, Jess Burns and Evan Kasberg.

Kamehameha boys coach, Ryan Cabalse, has four returnees that made it to the state championships last season in Shawn Correa-Doll, Kaulana Ho, Colton Hill, and Jonah Knell.

“Our boy’s squad has never qualified as a team for states yet, (five from the same team need to qualify to score as a team) but we are hoping to contend for one of the automatic team slots this season,” Cabalse said.

St. Joseph returns one of the best BIIF runners in Andrew Langtry who is expected to challenge for the individual league crown.  Langtry ran in various community races during the off season and was often seen in the top leader board.

Keaau brings 41 boys and 15 girls into competition with returnees Deann Nishimura-Thornton and Natalie Hagemann leading the girls while Jhun-Delle Venture, Davin Alviento, Greg Matias, Arman Navarro and Adrian Martinez headline the boy’s squad, according to Coach Donna Wong Yuen.

Though difficult, we always want to try and qualify a team for states,” Wong Yuen said.  “Our goals are to have fun and improve from last year.”

Christian Liberty Academy doesn’t have any girls on their cross country team but will bring 10 boys to the starting line, according to Coach Frank Grotenhuis.

“Caeden Cambra and Keenen Freitas are the two fastest on the team,” Grotenhuis said.  “We’re looking at having the boys push hard so that they can achieve their personal best.”

The BIIF harriers get off to a running start on Saturday with Grotenhuis as his CLA family playing host to the Canefire Conditioner starting at 10 am on the Keaau campus.

August 25, 2011 Posted by | High School Runners | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment