Bettendorf Boosts Spartans’ Yamamoto Triumph
By Rodney S. Yap
Although it has taken some time, Seabury Hall’s Alyssa Bettendorf is officially all-in.
Bettendorf raised her level of commitment to track and field in early November and has been reaping the rewards of her offseason dedication ever since.
On Saturday, March 23, the junior sprinter proved her early-season times are no fluke, sweeping the girls’ sprint races — 100, 200, 400 — at the finals of the Yamamoto Invitational track meet at War Memorial Stadium.
Performing on back-to-back days for the first time, Bettendorf rolled up personal best times of 12.43 seconds in the 100, 25.79 in the 200 and 60.28 in the 400. She also landed her best long jump of the year at 16 feet, 4.25 inches, finishing second to Baldwin’s Amber Kozaki (17-6.75) and ran a leg on the Spartans’ winning 4 x 400 relay team (4:26.67).
Bettendorf scored a meet-high 42.5 points, 38 coming from her individual events, to earn Most Outstanding Female honors at the conclusion of Saturday’s finals.
Seabury Hall won its second Yamamoto Invitational team title in three years, outscoring Baldwin, 139.50 to 95.50. Maui High was third with 54 points.
“She’s not used to putting herself out there, but now she’s in the spotlight,” said Seabury Hall head coach Bobby Grossman. “She’s a nice girl. She was always competitive but she never really pushed herself.”
After failed attempts to build on the high jump, an event she won as an 8th-grader at the Kiwanis Track Meet, Bettendorf tried the hurdles her freshman year.
Coach Grossman saw a hint of speed when he “threw her in the 4 x 100” last year. She eventually showed some promise by finishing third in the 200 at the Maui Interscholastic League championships, but she missed last call of the 200 at the state meet and never got to run.
Finally, Grossman challenged her to lead the 4 x 400 relay team at state and Bettendorf answered with a blistering 60.5 seconds on the first leg.
But the proof was not in the pudding until she showed up five months ago, eager to get busy.
“Instead of basketball she started coming out during the offseason in November and started putting in some work,” Grossman said.
Bettendorf is undefeated on the track this year and is currently No. 1 in the state in the 100. Her time of 25.79 in the 200 is currently No. 2 in the state, .06 tenths of a second behind Pearl City’s Diamond Briscoe.
Grossman said Bettendorf’s success is no accident. Her progress is part of the program he is building and more and more athletes at Seabury are enjoying the positive results of their hard work.
“Regardless, no one beats us,” the coach said. “We are here to compete.”
Seabury has its sights set on repeating as MIL champions and winning a state title.
“Like I told Alyssa, no one is going to out-work you. You’re doing everything right. If she loses, its because the other person is just faster.”
Grossman said the team appears to have turned the corner, now that everyone has “bought in” to what they are doing and how they are doing it.
“Now when I meet with the team at the start of practice and I give everyone their workout for the day, there is no discussion,” Grossman said.
Gone are the complaints. In its place are victories. Not bad for a team that doesn’t have its own track.
Seabury Hall won every individual running event on Saturday, except for the 800, which was won by Hawaii Prep Academy’s Zoe Sims, the state’s runner-up in the event last year.
In addition to Bettendorf, the coach’s daughter, Dakota Grossman used a strong sprint at the finish to beat Sims in the 1,500, 4:48.16 to 4:48.29. Dakota also won the 3,000 in 12:52.28 and was second to Sims in the 800, 2:19.15 to 2:22.94.
“It was really fun to be here and have the competition,” said Sims, who plans to attend Princeton next fall. “I was happy with my times and it was fun to be here.”
“For me, at this point, I’m a senior, I’m going into college running and what it’s really about is pushing myself to get faster times and having fun. And this meet was definitely fun.”
For complete results, go to MileSplit Hawaii.
Other top performers in the girls division included:
* Seabury Hall’s Christy Fell, who doubled in the hurdles, winning the 100 highs (16.14) and 300s (49.22), also grabbed a third gold medal in the triple jump (33-3.75).
* Baldwin’s Brooke Higa delivered clutch throws in the discus (30-3.5) and shot put (99-02), coming from behind to win both events.
* Baldwin’s Amber Kozaki won the long jump in 17-6.75 and the pole vault at 12-1, setting a new record in the event, which leaves her ranked 18th in the nation. Her marks are also tops in the state.