HIGH SCHOOL TRACK & FIELD
Punahou girls track does it again
WAILUKU » Punahou sprinter Zach Coronas won the 200 and 400 meters and anchored the winning 4x400 meter relay as the Buffanblu boys won their first state track and field title since 2002 and 29th overall, last night at War Memorial Stadium.
Punahou scored 65 points to 54 for Baldwin, 49.5 for Kamehameha and 46 for Mililani.
Meanwhile, the Buffanblu girls dynasty continued, as Punahou outpointed runner-up Baldwin by 23 points. Punahou, sparked by senior Samantha Cabreros, claimed its 30th state championship and fourth in a row.
Cabreros won her third consecutive state title in the triple jump. It was the only first place for Punahou's girls, other than the winning 4x400 relay.
It was with a bit of dread and understated admiration that the rest of the field acknowledged the truth. Again.
Punahou, once more, reigned supreme in the world of girls track and field. The Buffanblu easily outpointed the competition to capture the girls crown yesterday in the Island Movers/HHSAA Track and Field State Championships.
Punahou amassed 91 points, easily outdistancing runner-up Baldwin (68) for its 30th state title in girls track and field. The Buffanblu did it with efficiency and volume. They also did it with record-chasing Samantha Cabreros. The triple-jumper had touched 38 feet even in Friday's trials, but got no farther than 37-4 1/2 in yesterday's final.
The effort was easily enough for another gold medal, though Cabreros was somewhat disappointed.
"Every track is different. I'm more used to Kamehameha," she said of Kunuiakea Stadium, where she set the state mark with a leap of 38-6. "Mentally, I guess you have to overcome that."
Cabreros also placed second in the long jump.
"We don't have any major studs other than Sammy. We had a lot of seconds and thirds," coach Duncan Macdonald. "They're magical kids and great assistant coaches."
Cabreros is one of four current Buffanblu girls to be part of a team state champion in all four years. Marisa Schoen, who anchored Punahou's winning 4x400 relay team, Christina Wong and Taylor Chang have a place in school track history as well.
"That four freshmen being part of a team (in 2003) is a little bit uncommon," Macdonald said. "Sammy's been the most successful. All of them have a lot of feathers in their cap. We try to keep the team continuity going, a lot of support going on."
The team title came without the expected challenge from Baldwin, which lost multi-event star June-Ann Lusk to a hip injury last week. "It's her senior year. It's sad when an athlete like her trains so hard and gets hurt," Schoen said.
A two-event champion was Britney Stephens of Mililani, who defended her title in the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.60, winning by four-hundredths of a second over teammate Ciara Quarles.
Stephens also rallied to win the 100 dash with a time of 12.36, outsprinting Baldwin's Brittany Feiteira.
"I really wanted to get first. She's a really good runner, but I just kept going and I caught up to her. My finish is better than my start," Stephens said.
Sarah Nicolaisen and Larissa Edwards did their best to bring some limelight to tiny Ka'u High School, where enrollment from kindergarten through grade 12 is roughly 500 students. Nicolaisen, a two-event winner in 2005, won the 100- and 300-meter hurdles yesterday after struggling in '06.
The two Trojans were first and second in the 100 hurdles.
"That's like, 'Woo! We're from the Big Island and we like to represent,' " Nicolaisen said.
In Friday's prelims, Nicolaisen posted the best time and Edwards had the third-best time.
Their combined efforts in the finals were pretty good for a program that doesn't have a track.
"I don't know if it's necessarily a disadvantage," said Nicolaisen, a senior. "We're not blessed with the money to buy a track, but after training on it for four years, I guess I've adapted to it."
She credited Edwards for her improvement.
"I was running horrible times until she came. I couldn't get under the 15s," Nicolaisen said.
Edwards, meanwhile, has incorporated every possible means of motivation.
"I check the Internet every day for the 100 and 300 (hurdles) times," she said of statewide competitors. "It helps me know where I stand."
The lanky junior improved drastically from last year's seventh-place finish.
"I'd been working on the wrong lead leg," Edwards explained. She praised coach Kimo Weaver. "He's a second dad for us," she said.
"They're great kids. Makes it easy when they're so good," said Weaver, who is also the school's athletic director.
Nicolaisen gets a lot of fuel from representing the small community.
"We had five people in the BIIFs and took third. I like beating the bigger, richer schools," she said.