Sunday, May 1, 2005


Mililani's Naola Romero cleared the bar in the pole vault yesterday morning. Romero tied for third in the event, clearing 9 feet.

Track season heats up

With the league championships just
around the corner, Oahu’s best
gather for the Punahou Relays

The Interscholastic League of Honolulu championships are a week away, but the intensity is already simmering.

Pac-Five set a record in the 1,600 sprint medley yesterday at the 60th annual Punahou Invitational Relays. The Wolfpack won the race in a time of 4 minutes, 15.27 seconds, clipping nearly 3 seconds off the previous mark set by Punahou in 2003.

The race took an intriguing twist, though, when Pac-Five's Lauren Ho and Punahou's Marisa Schoen bumped at the start of the final lap. Schoen's baton hit the ground as Ho continued on. Schoen recovered and her team finished 7 seconds behind in 4:22.36.

"It wasn't intentional. I had the baton in my right hand," said Schoen, who was in the inside lane. "We were both trying to get in the lead. Besides, you can't do anything about it."

For the Wolfpack, the win was poignant. After next week's ILH meet, they'll be done as a relay team since Pac-Five isn't permitted to compete as a group at the state championships. "We weren't supposed to do this race, but at the trials (on Thursday), we almost got the record," Ho said.

The unusual mix of runners in the race made for an interesting combination. The first two runners run legs of 200 meters, followed by a 400-meter runner, and the 800 leg by the anchor.

"Now our names will be in the (record) book," said Jennifer Playdon, who ran the 400 leg.

"Forever," said sprinter Chantel Franco, who ran the first 200 leg. Mallory Kurosumi ran the other 200.

Iolani's Charles Fasi wowed an attentive audience in the pole vault. The senior cleared 14 feet with plenty to spare.

"That's what I heard from people. When I'm up there, I just see white," he said. "So I took their word for it and went for it."

Fasi, whose best is 14 feet, 6 inches, went after 15 feet three times but came up a bit short.

"I figured I might as well go for it. I've done it before at practice, but that was with a string," he said. "Seriously, this is the hottest meet I've ever been at. I felt good, but the heat and the waiting is a killer."

Word of Life senior Brashton Satele didn't approach his season-best distance, but still won the discus throw handily with a toss of 174-2.

Afa Bridenstine helped Kahuku to a win in the boys 4x110-meter shuttle hurdles at the Punahou Invitational Relays yesterday.

The Punahou Relays don't involve team scores, per se, but the slew of relay and field events were highly competitive. So was the power relay event, a 6x67 race for runners weighing at least 200 pounds. Kahuku won with a time of 47.66, more than a second off the record. The team was comprised of Al Afalava, Byron Beatty, Kevin Unga, Devin Unga and anchor Micah Strickland. The team was short one runner and borrowed B.J. Fruean from Leilehua.

Chad Miyamoto won the 100-meter race, dubbed as the "Hawaii's Fastest Human" event, with a time of 10.95 seconds. Ryan Keomaka was a close second at 10.97 and Kelsey Nakanelua was third at 11.07.

Careena Onosai and Keani Santos continued their footholds on the top two distances statewide in the girls discus. Onosai dealt with plenty this weekend.

By the time she threw her discus 130 feet, 11 inches to win the event, it was just 12 hours after she was at her prom.

"It was really hot today. I was tired," said Onosai, who had 60 Division I scholarship offers in track and field, as well as volleyball. She turned them down and will walk on at the University of Hawaii to play volleyball in the fall of 2006.

Despite the mid-80s temperature and just a tiny bit of breeze, Onosai was 6 feet off her personal best.

"I just tried to focus on the technique my dad told me," she said. Onosai also won the shot put with a heave of 39-8.

Santos, a senior, tossed her discus 118-9.

"These last three weeks, I've been in a slump since I got sick," she said. "I slept 14 hours yesterday."

Some notable individuals in the girls discus didn't enter yesterday, including Aiea's Konae Purcell.

"Konae is going to her prom," Santos said.

Purcell wound up making it to the meet to place second in the shot put.

A pair of Punahou underclassmen led the girls high jump competition. Caroline Ritson, a 5-foot-10 sophomore, cleared 5 feet to win. Her teammate, Alexa Untermann, placed second with a jump of 4-10.

"I'd be doing worse without her," Ritson said of Untermann. "She's a freshman and she's beaten me before. I get happy-slash-jealous."

Untermann and Ritson competed at the junior-varsity level this season, but have qualified for states.

"You get to see everyone else improve. You see their mistakes and learn from them," Untermann said of her first season of high school track and field.

Punahou also won the boys sprint medley in 3:37.86, with Jesse Brown and Peter Deptula closing out the victory by a wide margin. Brown, a senior, ran the 400 leg, and Deptula, a junior, finished with the 800 leg. The two have worked together on relay teams before.

"It's usually him passing the baton to me," Brown said. "Today was a good chance to see the OIA guys. A lot of good teams showed up today."

False start: Apparently, Charles Fasi isn't the first Iolani pole vaulter to clear 14 feet, despite the recollection of longtime coach Earl Hedani. A story in Thursday's Star-Bulletin quoted Hedani, who has coached for 35 years, saying Fasi was the only one.

However, in 1999, Brad Chun and Chris Yamashita both cleared 14 feet at the state championships. In fact, according to Joel Flores, the Punahou Relays record is 15 feet, set by Eric Chang of Iolani in 1996.

Flores is the Hawaii chairman of the USATF Pole Vault Development and Education committee.

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