Baldwin’s Feiteira Enjoys Three Wins at MIL Meet #2
By Rodney S. Yap
Although the Maui Interscholastic League track and field season is only two weeks old, Tyler Feiteira enjoyed a breakout performance Friday.
The Baldwin High School senior won two hurdle races and the boys pole vault in 13 feet, 3 inches, the best early-season mark in the state.
Feiteira was one of more than a hundred MIL athletes busy competing in MIL Meet #2 at the Satoki Yamamoto Track & Field Facility.
At the end of the night, however, few could boost having won three individual events. In fact, Seabury Hall sprinter Alyssa Bettendorf was the only other varsity performer to do so, claiming three individual sprint races (100, 200, 400) in the girls division.
“I was feeling pretty good tonight,” said Feiteira, after contributing a leg on Baldwin’s 4 x 400 relay team. “I feel pretty blessed right now. I had my family out here supporting me and my teammates kept stopping by the pole vault, encouraging me.”
Feiteira opened the running events in the boys division with a win in the boys 110-meter high hurdles. He was clocked in 15.56 seconds, ahead of teammate Jordan Piano (15.64) and Kamehameha Maui’s Connor Kala’i Yap (15.71).
“That was a good race, it pushed me really hard. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a good season with us pushing each other.”
In the 300 intermediate hurdles, Feiteira proved to have a stronger finish again, winning in 42.01. Piano was a close second in 42.81, followed by Yap in 43.09.
Minutes after winning the 300s, Feiteira was on the pole-vault runway preparing for his opening jump at 12-3. Despite some fatigue, Feiteira cleared the height on his first attempt. He cleared 12-6, 12-9 and 13-3 — all on the first try — before going out on misses at 13-6.
“It was perfect, he’s exactly where we want him to be,” said Baldwin pole vault coach Linden Wada. “Last week he went 12-6, so its a nine-inch improvement.”
“I’m actually really happy with the pole vault. . . . I wanted to get over 13-6, just to get it in the books but we talked about it and we would rather I continue to progress and go higher each week.”
Feiteira’s PR in the vault is 13-6, which earned him third place at last year’s state meet. His 14 points at state helped the Baldwin boys claim its first state team title. In addition to the vault, Feiteira went out hard in the 300 hurdles and finished second in 40.68 — his PR is 40.66. Although he did not run in the finals of the high hurdles at state last year, he has a personal best of 15.48.
“We hope that he’s at least a 14-foot jumper this year,” said Wada, a two-time state champion from Baldwin (2001-2002). “I have never seen anyone with the pole ability that he has. A 15-foot pole is so hard to get on. I never got on a15-foot-pole. That’s pretty elite, even college vaulters struggle on a 15-foot pole.
“He has long legs, great stride, great speed. He actually has the prototypical body for a pole vaulter,” added Wada, Baldwin’s only state champion vaulter.
Baldwin coach Gary Sanches agreed Feiteira had an outstanding night, but said: “We’re not satisfied yet. I mean, we have to get better.
“In the pole vault we have to start clearing 14 feet and he needs to be running low 15’s by midseason in the highs, because you have to run in the 14s to win at state, and that’s what we’re aiming for. If he can do that than we’ll be ok. He has it in him. He’s had a few issues the last couple of weeks, but I think we’ve ironed them out.”
Sanches, who has almost four decades of MIL coaching experience, is the only Valley Isle track coach to win the boys championship at three different high schools — St. Anthony, Maui High and Baldwin. The long-time coach has a penchant for being brutally honest and a knack for bringing out the best in his athletes.
“He’s always on me and we have our hassles,” Tyler said of Coach Sanches. “But in the end, when it comes to the meet, I’m always prepared.”
Feiteira said he doesn’t have to look far for inspiration or motivation.
“Coach Wada is a really good coach and he inspires me cause he competes with me in practice sometimes and that pushes me harder . . . he’s motivation to me — he’s won state twice.”
Wada said Tyler’s future is brighter as a vaulter versus a hurdler in college.
“I think he would do better in college as a pole vaulter. Honestly, I think there are times when he loves pole vault more, and there are times when he loves them equally, but I don’t think there is ever a time when he loves the hurdles more.”
“My goals this season in the pole vault is to improve each week. I want to at least hit 14-6, that’s my main goal right now. It would be good to hit 15s but to me 14-6 is a more realistic height. For the hurdles it’s just to push harder and get in condition for the 300s, and to support my teammates while my teammates support me.”
Tyler said his family is his primary supporters, particularly his sister, Brittany, who was a multiple state sprint champion during her days at Baldwin (2005-2008) and competed in the 100 (12.56) and 200 (25.91) at the University of Hawaii in 2010.
“My sister is my idol, honestly. She ran all sprints. I’m pretty sure she’s never done a field event. So when I came to track I didn’t want to follow in her footsteps, I wanted to make a name for myself. So the first things I went to was pole vault, hurdles and triple jump.
“Even though I’m blazing my own trail, my sister is still my idol, she still motivates me and calls me before or after all of my meets. She called me earlier today and I usually check in with her or she calls me after the meet and we talk about what happen, my times and how to improve and stuff.”
Feiteira said his parents, Millie and Wayne, have made huge sacrifices so he can be successful and he can’t thank them enough.
“They’ve done a lot for me, they are always there for me and have never missed a meet. Last year at states, my sister graduated (from UH) that same weekend and they flew back and forth (from the Big Island to Oahu and back) to see everything. I was very pleased and I love my parents . . . they are always willing to do anything before a track meet to help me get better.”
Feiteira had to think when asked what he liked best, pole vaulting or hurdling?
“That’s a hard one,” said Tyler. “I’m passionate about both, but I just love that feeling that pole vaulting gives you.”
Vaulting can be a lot more risky and dangerous than hurdling, although both are very technical events.
“Pole vaulting takes a lot of technical work and we work on that a lot during the week, concentrating on certain things to progress and taking one thing at a time. When it comes to a meet you have to put all those little things together as one. I mean it’s the best feeling, going over that bar knowing that you didn’t hit it is the best feeling.”