HIGH SCHOOL TRACK AND FIELD
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kim Culver of Punahou was the top qualifier in the 400 meters yesterday. The finals are tomorrow.
ILH favorites look good for track and field finals
A key to the Punahou girls' hopes for a fourth consecutive league track and field title sat in the stands at Kamehameha, ankle in a cast and crutches at the ready.
But nothing was wrong with Duncan Macdonald's coaching faculties, and the Buffanblu purred with machine-like efficiency throughout yesterday's Interscholastic League of Honolulu trials. The team's only weak spot yesterday was Macdonald's torn left Achilles' heel, hurt in a snowboarding accident.
Kamehameha's boys are also poised for a fourth ILH crown in a row. Tomorrow's finals start around 4 p.m.
Punahou's girls had the top qualifier in three of the six running events that required trials, and star jumper Samantha Cabreros took the early lead in the triple and long.
The only drama for the two-time defending state champs came when Cabreros scratched on her first two triple-jump tries. But she went a clean 37 feet, 10 inches on her final attempt.
"We just work hard and try not to worry about what the other teams are doing, we just look at ourselves," said Punahou sophomore Alexa Untermann, who qualified second behind teammate Kim Culver in the 400 meters and also made the final eight in the 200.
Culver, a junior who won the 100 and 200 in this meet last year, was also the top qualifier in the 200 yesterday in 27.55, with teammates Cabreros and Stephanie Ratte second and third.
"We don't feel any pressure to keep the winning going," Culver said. "We're just having fun."
Macdonald said Kamehemeha's girls "will be breathing down our neck, as always," in tomorrow's finals.
No one was buying that, though.
If Pac-Five distance star Lauren Ho wasn't out with an injury, would the Wolfpack have a shot?
Coach Al Wilson laughed.
"I would also need to get about 10 good field people," he said.
It seemed like Damien had that kind of squad yesterday, as the Monarchs dominated the throws and jumps. If this were just field and not track and field, coach Eddie Klaneski's boys might win it.
Kealoha Pilares soared to first in the long jump with 21-9 1/4, and zeroed in on Ronnie Jones' 17-year-old meet record in the triple jump with a 46-1 effort. With first place virtually locked up, Pilares will use all three attempts tomorrow to go after the remaining 2 inches separating him from Jones' mark, Klaneski said.
Damien also got a superior performance from Lolomana Mikaele. His discus throw of 162-2 is best in the state this year, and teammate Sione Tau is second at 153-7.
"We're not surprised at all. In practice he throws 170s easily. It was just a matter of him getting a fair throw. Thankfully it's in a championship meet, where it counts," Klaneski said.
Damien grad Sam Moku was proud of his alma mater, but the Kamehameha coach's job is to guide the Warriors past the Monarchs -- and he's got the qualifiers to do it, despite top-seeded discus-thrower Sonny Recca's failure to make the cut, and Parrish Brito's DQ in the 400.
Distance runner Jeremy Kamaka'ala, jumper Anthony Taylor, sprinter Kinohi Warrington and hurdler Kaneakua Friel are all poised to score big points tomorrow.
Warrington and Britos looked like they were enjoying refreshing jogs around the park instead of dealing with the sport's most brutal sprint while winning their 400 heats. And Kamehameha is so deep that when Britos was deleted for running out of his lane, it merely gave teammates Kyle Pidot and Blayne Asing better opportunities to score in the final.
"We're in pretty good shape for Friday," Moku said.