Baldwin Boys to Challenge for Team Title at State Track
By Rodney S. Yap
On paper, the Baldwin High School boys track team has never looked better.
In track and field, however, you don’t get points for looking good — and Baldwin knows that.
“The bottom line is we have to show up and do it,” Baldwin boys coach Gary Sanches said. “We’ll see come Friday.”
Trials for the 53rd Annual Hawaii High School State Track & Field Championships get underway Friday at Kea’au High School on the Big Island. Field events start at noon with the boys discus and the girls 100 hurdles is the first running event at 3:15 p.m. The trials is scheduled to end at 8 p.m.
There will be finals on Friday in the boys pole vault and the girls high jump.
The top eight finishers in the other 30 events advance to Saturday’s finals where individuals/relays will battle for points and medals through sixth place (10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1). The 2012 event is sponsored by Island Movers.
Being perennial Maui Interscholastic League champions does not mean much when 53 other schools from around the 50th state, representing four different leagues, are thrown in the picture. For example, Baldwin scored 189 points to claim the MIL crown last year and St. Anthony was fourth with 64 points. A week later at state, St. Anthony finished fifth in the state with 28 points and the Bears were a distant 27th place having generated 4 points.
There are no big fish or small fish when it comes to state competition, just ask Pierce Murphy, last year’s record-setting distance runner in the 1,500 and 3,000. Coming from a small private school on the Garden Island, with an enrollment of 293, did little to slow down Murphy, even against ILH power Punahou and its 3,753 students.
Baldwin will be among the boys favorites, but it won’t be the only Neighbor Island contender as host-school Kea’au earned its first Big island Interscholastic Federation title in any sport last week on its home track. The Cougars have hurdlers, sprinters and the fastest 4×100 relay team in the state.
Punahou, winners of four of the last five state championships, bring tradition and big-meet experience to the table. With 32 state championships in the boys division, the Buffanblu winning formula is their combination of talent and depth across the board.
Baldwin figures to score in 12 of 16 events and will be able to gauge how well it is doing after the first two field events — discus and shot put — which happens to be the team’s best events.
For the first time, Baldwin coach Anthony Perry has three 50-foot-plus throwers in the shot and three 150-foot-plus throwers in the discus. When it is all said and done, the Bears could easily score between 20 and 30 points in the two ring events alone.
“I certainly hope so,” Perry said of the potential 30-point cushion his throwers could provide. “In practice this week they looked their best all year, which is exactly what you want going into the state meet. But they still have to translate it to competition on Friday.”
Baldwin’s best finish at state was runner-up in 2007 to Punahou. The Bears scored 54 points to the Buffanblu’s 65.
Maui High is the only MIL school to win state titles in boys track and field. The Sabers’ first championship came in 1987 on the Valley Isle and then again in 1995 at Kaiser Stadium.
DISCUS / SHOT PUT
Pasoni Tasini is the state’s No. 1 thrower at 173 feet, 3 inches. Teammates Miki Fangatua is seeded No. 5 (156-10) and BJ Wilhelm-Ioane is No. 12 (151-7).
Hawaii Prep Academy’s Shane Brostek is the defending champion in both the discus (173-04) and the shot (55-11.5) and would have to be considered the favorite in both events as he is a late-season finisher with a history of throwing his best in the finals. His top marks this year is 168-11 and 56-0.
Tasini is seeded No. 3 in the shot at 52-10.5, Fangatua is No. 6 at 51-2 and Wilhelm-Ioane is No 10 at 50-0.
Ironically, it was Maui High’s Tau Lotulelei that won the MIL shot, hurling the steel ball 52-11.5 on his final throw to beat Tasini. Lotulelei’s mark is No. 2 in the state behnd Brostek.
As a team, King Kekaulike has the top qualifiers in the jumps, starting with Jansen Agapay, who won the MIL title in the high jump at 6-1 and has the No. 6 long jump at 21-6.5 and No. 5 triple jump at 43-5.5. Teammate Luke Brown is the MIL’s top triple jumper at 44-4.75 (No. 4). Meanwhile, Austin Allgood is currently 13th in the state in the long jump at 21-3.75.
Agapay’s brother, Jay-Ar, won the state high jump in 2009 (6-6) and St. Anthony’s Mark Thayer won the event last year (6-4).
Maui High’s Vincent Keomoungkhoune owns the state’s best high jump mark at 6-5, but has not come close to matching that effort since early March. In comparison, Kekaulike’s jumpers produced all of their top marks two weeks ago at the MIL championships.
MIL long jump champion Keelan Ewaliko of Baldwin owns the third best jump in the state at 22-1.5. Ewaliko is dangerous on his first attempt. Meanwhile, Seabury Hall’s Jay Braun often recoord’s his best mark on his last jump. Braun has consistently jump 21-feet-plus and is currently No. 7 at 21-6.
Mattis Thompson is the Bears top triple jumper (No. 7, 43-4.75).
Ka’u senior Alika Kaupua tops the triple at 44-7, while Kaenen Akau of Kamehameha Big Island leads all long jumpers at 22-9.75.
Devin Jenkins of Kapolei will easily defend his 100- and 200-meter races, even if his is not 100% from the pull muscle he suffered prior to the Honolulu Marathon Invitational. Jenkins is one of the best sprinters in the country and has a hand-timed 10.1 in the 100. Converted to a FAT (Fully Automatic Time), Jenkins would still own one of the fastest prep times in the nation.
Jenkins’ best 200 is a hand-timed 21.2. Last year, Jenkins won the 100 in 10.46 and the 200 in 21.09, both wind-aided marks.
Sophomore Braun of Seabury Hall has been the most consistent sprinter from the MIL. He is ranked No. 3 in the 100 (10.94) and No. 2 in the 200 (21.9). In only his first year of track, Baldwin’s Ewaliko continues to surprise onlookers with his speed and determination. Ewaliko is No. 4 in the 100 (11.00) and No. 3 in the 200 (22.32) behind Braun in both events.
Expect both Braun and Ewaliko to make the finals. Baldwin’s Ryne Yokouchi (11.04) and Aaron Marzan (10.9) are both capable of making the finals, but have not come close to their respective PR’s in more than a month.
Kekaulike freshman Jake Jacobs is the MIL’s top quartermiler seeded No. 6 (50.95). Jacobs ran away with the MIL title and will be challenged for the first time this year.
Kamehameha Kapalama’s Logan Ne is No. 1 in the 400 with a 50.06 recorded at the ILH championships. Kealakehe’s Luca Walter (50.09) and Jason Fowler (50.87) are No. 2 and No. 5 in the 400, respectively.
Until last week, Baldwin’s Vetekina Malafu was the state’s top high hurdler. Radord senior Kevin Acasio was timed in 15.01 in the OIA championship the same weekend Malafu ran 15.11. Neither hurdler was pushed in their respective races, which means they should run in the 14s on Saturday.
Baldwin’s Tyler Feiteira is seeded No. 4 in the 110s at 15.48, while Kamehameha’s Connor Yap is seeded No. 7 (15.58). Baldwin would have had three top 10 hurdlers, however, Abraham Reinhardt (15.50) suffered a season-ending hip injury prior to the Honolulu Marathon meet and has been unable to compete.
Kea’au two seniors, Damien Packer (15.50), the BIIF champion, and Cliff Eriksson (15.62), the runner-up, are seeded, No. 5 and No. 9, respectively.
Acasio finished fourth in the event last year (15.26) and Waipahu’s Aaron Cox (15.58) and Kamehameha Kapalama’s Collin Pidot (15.85) were also among the finals last year.
In the 300 intermediates, Feiteira of Baldwin is the state’s best in 40.66. Cox, the defending state champion in the event, is next at 40.72. Cox won last year in 38.77. Kea’au’s Alexander Engdahl is No. 3 (40.74), Pidot No. 4 (40.75) and Yap is No. 5 (40.81).
800 / DISTANCE
MIL champion Keegan Gregg has the state’s fourth best time in the 800 at 1:58.62. Gregg established his PR at the MIL championships running unchallenged. He currently trails the top qualifer, Michael Chin of Christian Academy (1:56.08), Adan Overcash of Iolani (1:56.62) and Punahou’s Nikolai Scharer (1:57.07).
Baldwin’s James Pearson and Maui High’s Nicola Perez-Garreaud are second and third in the 1,500 and third and fourth in the 3,000. Pearson has a best of 4:12.43 in the shorter race and Perez-Garreaud has a 4:14.87. The pair ran their PR’s at the Honolulu Marathon Invitational chasing eventual winner Nikolai Scharer of Punahou (4:12.34). There is a good chance the trio will get battle on Saturday again.
Pearson’s PR in the 3,000 is 9:19.33, while Perez-Garreaud is close behind at 9:22.42.
Kapalama’s Charles Akiona is the top 3,000 runner at 9:16.02. He is followed by Leilehua’s Elliot Estrada (9:18.70) and Punahou’s Jac Hebert is seeded No. 5 (9:25.39).
Annually, one of the MIL’s best medal events and this year is no exception with three of the top six vaulter coming from the Valley Isle. Kekaulike’s Michael Teves leads the state at 14-3. His mark is especially impressive having come at the Punahou Relays three weeks ago.
Kihei Charter’s Lucas Zarro is No. 2 at 14-0, while Feiteira, Kea’au’s Nelson Enos and Mililani’s Collin Nguyen are tied at 13-6. Punahou has a pair of 13-foot vaulters in Quinn Cassidy and Cody Forsyth.
The boys vault will be decided on Friday and that will impact Feiteira, who will be attempting to qualify in the hurdles.
Baldwin is No. 3 in the 4×100 at 43.29. The Bears’ quartet is made of Yokouchi, Malafu, Marzan and Ewaliko. Kea’au is the top seed at 43.10, followed by Mililani at 43.21. Campbell is No. 4 at 43.58 and ILH champion Kamehameha Kapalama is No. 5 at 43.73. Kealakehe is No. 6 at 43.85, Radford No. 7 at 43.86 and Kamehameha Maui’s 43.93 rounds out the top 8 teams — all under 44 seconds. Sayge Edrada, Yap, Jamal Jones and Jordan Nauka make up the Warriors’ relay team.
Kamehameha Maui is seeded No. 7 in the 4×400 relay at 3:30.13. Kekaulike is No. 9 at 3:30.60.
Billy Ayakawa, Tyler Macarthur, Nauka and Jones make up the Warriors’ 4×400 relay. Kekaulike’s foursome are Jacobs, Brenan Warman, Teves, and Gregg.
Punahou’s No. 1 at 3:24.19, followed by Mililani (3:25.02), Kamehameha Kapalama (3:25.43), Radford (3:26.55), Saint Louis (3:27.93), and Kealakehe (3:29.62).