Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

“King Jacob” wins three gold medals at HHSAA Track & Field Championships

Kau's Jacob Edwards is "King of the Hurdles"

Long Live the King!

   Kau’s Jacob Edwards retained his title as the “King of the Hurdles” by successfully defending the state crown at the Hawaii High School Athletic Association track and field championships held at Kamehameha-Kapalama on Saturday.

   Edwards began by winning the 110 meter hurdles and later returned for a repeat performance by winning the 300 hurdles in a blistering time of 38.27 seconds, nearly two seconds ahead of his closest competitor.

   Between his hurdle performances Edwards was claiming his third state medal by winning the triple jump and added a sixth place medal in the long jump to singlehandedly accumulate 31 team points for the Trojans.

   “I’m grateful for how things turned out today,” Edwards said.  “My goal coming in was to keep my state hurdle titles and to try to survive the triple jump.  I was really feeling it today in the 300, but I like all three of these events.”

   Edwards passed on two of his three triple jump attempts during the finals and watched as fellow Big Island Interscholastic Federation athletes performed.  “It was a really cool meet to watch and I was excited for Kelson (Kawai from Kohala) in winning the high jump,” Edwards said.  “We’re all part of a family and we cheer each other on during the state meet.”

  Anuenue’s Joshua Gante leaped 45-05 on his final triple jump to close in on Edwards, but fell 1.25 inches short of passing the talented Trojan.  “I knew I had the best jump from Friday and I wanted to rest between the hurdle events,” Edwards said of his passing on two attempts.

Ku’uipo Nakoa

The BIIF’s other defending state track & field champion, Hawaii Preparatory Academy’s Ku’uipo Nakoa, won the gold medal in the 300 hurdles and the triple jump and needed to settle for silver medals in the long jump, and 100 hurdles, Nakoa’s four medals added 36 points to HPA’s total team score.

   “I knew I was running against some amazing athletes,” Nakoa said.  “During the trials I felt intimidated, but today I blocked it out and focused, using tunnel vision.”

   Nakoa’s runner-up status in the 100 hurdles and long jump was due to Kahuku’s superstar Zhane Santiago who won gold in the long jump while setting a new state record for the 100 hurdles with a time of 14.92 seconds.

  In the triple jump Nakoa had to come back from a mediocre trials performance to win the event during the finals in 38-08.25.  “I knew what I had to do in the triple and I didn’t even think about it, I just went for it,” she said.  “I had no idea that I had the winning jump until after the event was over and one of the girls came over to congratulate me.”

Kaopua Sutton

Kamehameha’s Kaopua Sutton came into the finals leading in the girl’s discus with her preliminary toss of 134-4 inches which stood up in the finals to claim the gold medal.

   “The conditions were just perfect on Friday,” Sutton said.  “The ring was smooth enough for me to gain rotational speed and the wind was just right.  I thought I had better form during the finals as I threw another 134 feet, but yesterday (prelims) everything just clicked.”

Kohala’s Kelson Kawai brought home the gold in the boy’s high jump when he cleared 6’ 6”.  Kawai’s previous best clearance this season was 6-4 as the 5 foot 7 inch leaper defied the laws of gravity.  Kamehameha’s Manta Dirks finished in a tie for fourth.

Kelson Kawai

“This might be the first time that Kohala has had a state champion,” Coach Tom McCue said.  “We’re absolutely thrilled at what Kelson has accomplished – to jump 11 inches beyond his height is incredible.”

   Kawai cleared 6-6 on his first attempt, and then went after the 6-9 state record by asking that the bar be raised to 6-9.25.  “I kept my head positive and I practiced a lot of mental imagery,” Kawai said after winning the event.  “I tried for the state record because I just wanted to see what I could do in my senior year.”

   “A lot of credit goes to my high jump coach, Maria Bunyi, as she helped me get to where I am,” Kawai said. 

Other BIIF finalist on Saturday:

  • Kamehameha’s Francis Blas III finished third in the 110 hurdles and second in the 300 hurdles with teammate Everett “Maka” McKee in eighth for the 300.  Teammates Manta Dirks was seventh in the triple jump and fifth in the long jump with Kaenan Akau fourth in the long.  Not to be outdone Victoria Evans-Bautista captured third in the long jump for the Warrior girls.
  • HPA’s Shane Brostek took third in the shot put and fourth in the discus – Kamehameha’s David Kekuewa finished eighth in the shot.
  • In the 800 Keaau’s Daniel Brooks took fifth for the boys while Waiakea’s Kaitlyn Chock finished sixth for the girls.
  • Kamehameha sprinter Kana Silva finished fifth and Waiakea’s Ka’imi Scott seventh in the boys 200 and Waiakea’s Teisha Nacis was eighth in the girls 100.
  • Waiakea’s Ka’imi Scott was fifth in the boys 400 and Keaau’s Randi Estrada finished fifth for the girls.
  • Honokaa’s Athena Oldfather was fifth in the girls 1500 with teammate Joshua Robinson finishing in sixth for the boys.  (Island School – Kauai’s Pierce Murphy established a new meet record for the 1500 with his time of 4:02.1)
  • High jump finals for the girls were held on Friday with Waiakea’s Ericka Cushnie winning the silver medal and HPA’s Mindy Campbell, the defending state champion, finishing in sixth.
  • Konawaena’s Ua Ruedy third in the girls 300 hurdles.
  • Hilo’s Shina Chung finished tied for fifth in the girl’s pole vault. “I feel good about today,” Chung said.  “I still have two more years to get better.  There is tough competition at the state meet.”

   The top six boys and top six girls in each of the track and field events took home medals and scored points for their respective schools.

   Punahou claimed the girl’s team championship, accumulating 95 points and surpassing runner up Radford with 63.  The top BIIF girl’s team was HPA with 37 points – 36 of those points coming from Nakoa.

   Punahou also won the boy’s team title with 70 points with runner-up Kamehameha-Kapalama 66.33.  Tiny Kau, on the back of Jacob Edwards, finished fourth in the state with Edwards scoring all 31 points for the Trojans.

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May 16, 2010 Posted by | High School Track & Field | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Kohala Duo Leads BIIF in High Jump

Kohala is a quant, quiet little village on the north end of the island, but something must be going on as they have produced two of the finest high jumpers in high school track.

   Ethan Meikle and Kelson Kawai are making a name for themselves as the Cowboys from Kohala are leading the Big Island Interscholastic Federation for their ability to leap over a cross bar.

   While most of the high jumpers in the BIIF are struggling to clear 5’ 10” the Kohala duo jumped 6’ 2” on their first attempt this past Saturday at Keaau.

Ethan Meikle

Meikle, who stands at 6’ 2”, cleared his own height for the first time in his track & field career.  “My previous best this season was 6’ 1” and last season I couldn’t go higher than 5’ 10”,” he said.

   Meikle credits a lot of his success to attending a high jump camp last summer.  “I went to the Dwight Stone camp during the summer in Irvine, California,” Meikle said.  “From the camp I learned a lot of drills and how to improve my technique which I passed on to my coach here at Kohala.”

   Coaching Meikle and Kawai is Maria Bunyi who admits to being a student of the high jump.  “I only started learning about high jump two years ago when the boys showed an interest in trying it,” she said.

   Since that time Bunyi has read everything she could on the high jump and has introduced a variety of drills to improve technique.

   “The boys are dedicated and they work very hard,” Bunyi said.  “We work on technique and approach along with hip movement.”

   Besides working on a variety of polymeric skills Bunyi has also gotten the duo to take part In 90 minute yoga sessions twice per week to improve flexibility.

Kelson Kawai

“We trust our coach as she knows what she’s talking about,” Kawai said.  “Yoga, imagery, form drills, it all works.”

   Kawai, who stands at 5’ 7”, cleared 6’ 2” earlier in the season before injuring his foot in the triple jump.  “I needed to take a couple weeks off to allow that injury to heal,” he said. 

   But after clearing 6’ 2” on his first try Kawai checked into the triple jump event and on his first jump reinjured his foot.  While teammate Meikle was attempting to clear 6’ 4” Kawai could only watch as he limped across the field.

   Both Kawai and Meikle lead the BIIF in the high jump and are tied for fourth in the state with their 6’ 2” clearance.  But Kawai believes that in order to win the state championship they will need to go a lot higher.

   “I’d like to be the state champ, but it’s going to take a jump of 6’ 5” or higher,” Kawai said.  “Anything is possible if we put our mind to it.”

Tia Greenwell

On the track it was Honokaa’s Tialana Greenwell winning both distance races in convincing fashion.  Greenwell, who has struggled during most of the track season, is the three time BIIF cross-country champion.

   “I just haven’t been feeling it this season,” Greenwell admitted after winning the 3000.  “Mentally I wasn’t myself and there had been a lot of external pressure which brought my self confidence down.”

   But on Saturday it was the old Greenwell emerging to first win the 1500 meter run in 5 minutes 15.33 seconds with Hilo’s Traci Palermo and Keaau’s Deann Nishimura-Thornton close behind.

   Then later in the evening Greenwell led the 3000 race from start to finish with teammate Athena Oldfather trying to keep pace, winning in the leagues fastest time of 11:36.

   “I know I need to work a little harder to get to states, but after today my confidence is back and it feels good,” Greenwell said.

Ua Ruedy

In a surprise race it was relative unknown, Konawaena freshman Ua Ruedy, running the girls 300 meter hurdles for the very first time and winning the event in 49.37 seconds, the fastest time in the BIIF this season.

   “I just tried the hurdles last week and I think the 300 is something that I can be really good at,” Ruedy said.  “I like the 300 hurdles way better than the 100 hurdles because there is more space between the hurdles and I can gain more speed.”

   Ruedy ran the 300 like a seasoned runner and didn’t miss a beat going over each hurdle on her right foot to lead the league on her very first try.

   One of the best races of the day came towards the end of the venue when the boy’s 200 meter dash featured some of the fastest runners on the island.

   Waiakea’s Ka’imi Scott got out of the blocks perfectly and pulled away from the talented field in the first half of the race.  During the final 100 Keaau’s Jesse Huihui came flying down the straight away to pull up to Scott’s shoulder and out of nowhere came Kau’s Jacob Edwards with a fierce kick.

   Edwards, who earlier recorded the best triple jump distance in the state, had a slow start out of the blocks and looked to be out of the race, but the gritty senior made it a three way affair in what was a photo finish at the line.

   Three one-hundredths of a second separated the three talented sprinters with Scott (22.47) getting the win followed by Edwards and Huihui.  All three boys made state qualifying time for the 200.

   “I’ve been working on my block starts all week,” Scott said.  “Getting out to a fast start is something that I’ve been practicing and it paid off today.”

   This Saturday the BIIF will conclude its regular season with an all-schools meet at Keaau.  Field events began at 2 pm with running events starting at 3 pm.

April 26, 2010 Posted by | High School Track & Field | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment