Huber Has High Hopes for KS-Maui Track & Field
By Rodney S. Yap
Rudy Huber would like to see the sport of track and field be fun again. It’s part of his mission as the new head coach at Kamehameha Schools Maui.
Huber, battling a week-long cold of his own, found the task of injecting “fun” into a dying sport nearly impossible Friday as frigid conditions reigned on King Kekaulike Stadium for the first Maui Interscholastic League meet of the 2013 season.
Mother Nature had a different plan for Upcountry Maui.
According to King Kekaulike coach James Algers, the wind-chilled temperature dipped to 58 degrees with 15 mph trade winds, occasionally gusting up to 36 mph. Hundreds of MIL athletes and fans from all across the Valley Isle braved the extreme elements on the first Friday of the month.
Girls and boys in varsity and junior varsity divisions competed in the high jump and running events, one day after all other field events were completed at War Memorial Stadium.
Judging by the crowd and the number of athletes who competed, track and field appears alive and well in the MIL.
“Everybody says track and field is a dying sport,” Huber said. “To me I think it is in a way, because we are not thinking about the kids and we are being to strict on certain things and we need to get the kids out and we need to make it fun for them.
“I think if we can get back to the old school way and think about the kids a little bit, I think the kids will want to come out and I think it will be more exciting.”
Huber, who is only two weeks into his new job, has just begun to warm up to 40 of his own boys and girls at Kamehameha Maui.
“It’s really a blessing to be here,” said the long-time youth coordinator for the Valley Isle Road Runners. “It’s nice to be up there, we got started kind of late and I had some prior things that I had to take care of. The kids seem to be responding well, but it’s going to take some time.”
The cupboards are hardly bare. The Warriors boost 30 boys and 10 girls, according to Huber, who enjoyed previous coaching stints at St. Anthony, Seabury Hall and UC-Irvine in 2006 before returning to Maui to be a personal coach.
“I know this is a rebuilding year for both the boys and girls teams and it’s going to take some time. The boys team is pretty powerful, we have at least one person in each event that is pretty good. Hopefully by MIL’s we should contend — I’d say in the top three.”
Huber said the immediate expectation at KS-maui is to get these the athletes to learn to be competitive.
“We want them to be competitive. We want them to be motivated to want to win and to vie for an MIL title and eventually a state title. We definitely have plenty of talented kids up there, so it’s just a matter of putting it all together and getting some good qualified coaches and once we do that I think we’ll be able to build a good solid program.
“The facilities are awesome, so now we have to bring out more kids. After this year, hopefully the kids will see how successful in certain things it will be a little easier to sell it and as we get more coaches in key positions it will be a lot more exciting. Once they see that track and field is good to get them in shape I think we can build a bigger program.”
MIL Meet #1 Highlights
* Baldwin’s Amber Kozaki, pole vault (11-0) and long jump (16-0 3/4).
* Seabury Hall’s Alyssa Bettendorf, 100 (13.88) and 200 (27.31).
* Seabury Hall’s Ally Smith, 400 (61.86).
* Seabury Hall’s Kiana Smith, 1,500 (5:35.62).
* Seabury Hall’s Dakota Grossman, 800 (2:35.59).
* Seabury Hall’s Allie Rudow, long jump (15-6 1/2).
* King Kekaulike’s Jordan Romero, High Jump (6-0).
* King Kekaulike’s Jake Jacobs, 400 (51.95).
* Baldwin’s Keelan Ewaliko, 100 (11.49) and long jump (20-10).
2013 MIL Track & Field Schedule
Friday — 3/8/2013, MIL Track and Field Meet #2, 4 p.m. at War Memorial Stadium
Friday — 3/15/2013, MIL Track and Field Meet #3, 4 p.m. at War Memorial Stadium
Friday — 3/22/2013, MIL Track and Field Yamamoto Invitational, 4 p.m. at War Memorial Stadium
Thurs. — 3/28/2013, MIL Track and Field Kamakea Memorial Meet, 4 p.m. at War Memorial Stadium
Friday — 4/5/2013, MIL Track and Field Victorino Ohana Invitational, 4 p.m. at War Memorial Stadium
Wed. — 4/10/2013, MIL Junior Varsity Track and Field Championship, 4 p.m. at War Memorial Stadium
Friday — 4/19/2013, MIL Track and Field Meet #4, 4 p.m. at War Memorial Stadium
Friday — 4/26/2013, MIL Track and Field Championship, 4 p.m. at War Memorial Stadium
Friday — 5/10/2013, HHSAA Track and Field Championship, TBA, at Mililani Stadium