Baldwin Boys Find Intensity, 8th Straight MIL Track Crown
By Rodney S. Yap
When you have depth and talent like the Baldwin High School boys track team, practices are as competitive as meets.
On Saturday, April 27, the Bears practiced for the upcoming state track and field championships by destroying the competition en route to their eighth straight Maui Interscholastic League championship.
A crowd of about 2,000 watched Baldwin win six individual events and the 4 x 100 relay at the Satoki Yamamoto Track & Field Facility.
Baldwin scored 179 points, almost twice as much as runner-up Kamehameha Maui’s 90. King Kekaulike won four events and finished third with 74 points, followed by Maui High’s 59.
“To me the points are not as important as the quality of the performances,” said Baldwin head coach Ardis Anguay. “We had some kids step up and the ones we were counting on did what they were supposed to do.”
Almost 50% of the team’s points came from three individuals, vaulter/hurdler Tyler Feiteira scored a meet-high 36 points, sprinter Keelan Ewaliko accounted for 26.5 and weight man Miki Fangatua had 20 points for his pair of wins in the shot put (48 feet, .5 inches) and discus (152-7).
“I was upset in the trials because I thought we lacked intensity,” Baldwin long-time assistant coach Gary Sanches said. “But tonight we had intensity and we turned it up a notch and that’s what we have to do.”
Sanches was worried about complacency with the Island Movers State Track and Field Championships only two weeks away, May 10-11, at Mililani High School.
Thoughts of complacency went out the window after the meet’s first running event, the boys’ 110-meter high hurdles. Baldwin finished 1-2-4 in the event with Abraham Reinhardt and Feiteira battling neck-and-neck to the finish line. Reinhardt was first off the last hurdle and sprinted to the finish line just ahead of Feiteira, in 14.90 seconds to 15.04 — both personal bests. Kamehameha Maui’s Connor Yap broke up a potential sweep with a 15.64, just ahead of Baldwin’s Jordan Piano’s 15.69.
“It didn’t feel that fast,” Reinhardt said afterwards. “But Tyler is fast and he was pushing me a lot and that made me go faster. I hit a couple of hurdles, but at the end is where it counts.
“It feels awesome. We practice a lot and race all the time. Sometimes he wins, sometimes I win, so that’s some good competition right there.”
The two, plus Piano, hugged each other after the race. Baldwin scored a meet-high 22 points in the high hurdles alone.
For Feiteira, it was just the beginning of a long productive night. The Baldwin senior later won the pole vault (14-0) and the 300 hurdles (40.27), to go with his second-place finish in the long jump (21-8.75).
Baldwin’s Ewaliko completed the 2013 MIL season undefeated with a pair of solid firsts in the 100 (10.90) and 200 (22.28). The Baldwin quarterback and three-time MIL Offensive Player of the Year, who is headed to the University of Hawaii next fall, also placed fourth in the long jump (20-8.25) and anchored the 4 x 100 relay to a slim win over King Kekaulike, 43.10 to 43.15.
The boys 400-meter relay was one of the closest races of the night, getting fans to stand and cheer the two teams as they dueled down the homestretch through the tape stride for stride.
Dylan Leigh, Gerard Nakamura and Aaron Marzan joined Ewaliko on the winning 4 x 100 relay. King Kekaulike anchorman Jay Braun, who finished second to Ewaliko in the 100 with a season best 11.00, received the baton on the final exchange a split second ahead of Ewaliko.
“Me and Ewaliko were kind of even and then he pulled away and I kind of pushed, I should have relaxed instead,” said Braun, who has overcome two major knee injuries in as many years. “In the 100 I was focused on opening up and not pushing, just relaxing my muscles. But it was good for both teams, we pushed each other really well.”
“That was just a rush of adrenaline, because we knew that King K was coming up on us,” said Marzan. “Sanches told us, ‘You guys have to step it up a notch.’ So thanks to God, thanks to Sanches, and Keelan and running with all the boys everyday at practice. It’s so great to know that we’re pushing each other to do our best.”
The one meet record to fall on Saturday came in the boys 400-meter run where King Kekaulike’s Jake Jacobs pressed the gas from the start and never let up, running the first sub-50-second quarter mile in MIL championship history. His time of 49.73 broke the previous meet record of 50.55, set by Na Alii’s Jesse Henderson in 2006 and breaks the school’s record of 49.88 set by 2002 state champion Matt Linder.
Jacobs qualified No. 1 but was seeded second based on time going into the weekend behind Kamehameha Maui’s Jamal Jones, 50.70 to 50.52.
“I was scared of him,” Jacobs said of Jones after the race. “The whole time I was thinking, ‘He’s coming, he’s coming,’ and I made it and it felt good.
“I’ve never run a race like that. I’ve never run the 400 like that. I usually take two breaks, I didn’t take one, I just went all out.”
The meet’s other double winners were Lahainaluna’s Corban Kaikkonen in the boys 1,500 (4:20.93) and 3,000 (9:45.66) and King Kekaulike’s Jansen Agapay in the long jump (23-3.25; New record) and triple jump (44-6.25). Kaikkonen ran a season best in the 1,500 and Agapay bettered his trials mark by five inches in the triple jump.
After the meet, Badwin’s Anguay chose to stay in the moment rather than talk of repeating as state track champions.
“We just want to enjoy this victory. . . . I wouldn’t say were confident about repeating, but we’re comfortable. I think there are still some things that we have to work on. But at the same time, we are at that point in the season where you either have it or you don’t.”