HIGH SCHOOL TRACK & FIELD
CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Radford sprinters Ikaika Kamaka, Donniqtay Campbell, C.J. Rainey and Jonathan Atangan chilled in tubs of ice yesterday. The heat is on them today and tomorrow as they try to lead the Rams to their first state track and field title in 23 years.
Radford track is enjoying a resurgence under Patton
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Radford hopes to sprint to victory at the Island Movers/HHSAA state track and field meet, which begins with trials today.
State Track & Field
Mililani High School, trials today from noon, finals tomorrow starting at 3 p.m. Defending team champions: Punahou boys and girls.
Radford was a track powerhouse in the 1970s and 1980s and is enjoying a recent resurgence under coach Elizabeth Patton, a star herself during the program's peak.
"I knew this school was fast before, but not recently," sophomore Ikaika Kamaka said. "We want to bring back the tradition."
The Rams, who won the Oahu Interscholastic Association title two weeks ago by one point, need to dominate the sprints against Punahou and Baldwin, which are better balanced.
Mike Pavich, who coached the Buffanblu to their 29th state crown last year, said several teams have a chance to hoist the trophy.
"It should be a tremendous meet. And don't count out Mililani and Leilehua," Pavich said.
Much will hinge on the durability of Punahou's Zach Coronas. The defending champion in the 200 and 400 meters is battling a foot injury and will try to hold off the Rams speedsters, including C.J. Rainey, who has the second-fastest times to Coronas in the 100 and 400.
The Punahou girls are young, but well-equipped to strike for a fifth title in a row under coach Duncan Macdonald.
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They were known to their opponents as The Army although most of them were Air Force or Navy dependents. Only a flat tire on their big black bus could stop them. But maybe not even that -- they could probably run to the track and still win the meet.
Six athletes return to defend their state track and field individual championships from 2007.
» Brittany Feiteira, Baldwin: 400 meters
» Charmaine Mokiao, Kamehameha: shot put
» Yasmina Taketa, Kalani: long jump
» Daysha Viernes, Hilo: pole vault
» Joey Amescua, Baldwin: 800 meters
» Zach Coronas, Punahou: 200 meters and 400 meters
That was Radford for a long spell in the 1970s and early '80s, when the Rams dominated the Oahu Interscholastic Association and grabbed their six state team titles, four girls and two boys. Coach Elizabeth Patton was Elizabeth Bunch then, and she and her brother, Joey, were two of the most stellar soldiers.
More than 20 years later, The Army is back. Radford has a shot at upending defending champion Punahou at the boys state meet, in which Baldwin may also contend. Trials get under way today and finals are tomorrow, both at Mililani.
"We've been hearing that again this year," Patton said. "We get there and people say, 'Here comes The Army.' "
Punahou's boys and girls stand a good chance of continuing the Buffanblu's incredible run in this meet (30 girls titles, including the last four, and 29 boys), as well as their domination of this spring's state championship events in various sports. But both meets could be close.
The Kamehameha girls have enough top-level talent to challenge their Interscholastic League of Honolulu rivals. But the Buffanblu, under coach Duncan Macdonald, have a reputation of peaking at precisely the right time -- namely the state meet.
The Radford girls are young, but their 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams have the second- and third-best times in the state headed into today. Kaeli Patton, the sophomore daughter of Elizabeth and Sidney (sprints coach), is one of the Rams' top sprinters.
Kaeli is well aware of the legacy of her mom and uncles at the Aliamanu school.
"There's pictures in the weight room and all over grandma's house," she said.
Kaeli was a national champion last summer -- in volleyball, with the Asics Rainbows team. Her idea for track was to be the team manager. Elizabeth nixed that and had Kaeli try running.
While Kaeli may have her chance at a team title next year or in 2010, the time is now for the Radford boys.
The Rams won the OIA championship two weeks ago by one point, with star sprinter C.J. Rainey scoring in just two events (he false-started in the 100 and was held out of the 200 and 4x400).
"That spoke volumes about our team," Sid Patton said.
Sid Patton said Rainey and his teammates are ready, and Rainey will run all the sprints and both relays.
The dashes should be the pivotal events if it comes down to Punahou and Radford. The Buffanblu have Zach Coronas, the defending state champion in the 200 and 400 meters. Coronas, whose father, David, took on The Army as a middle-distance runner for Waipahu, will attempt to run in all the sprints, despite a foot injury he's dealt with the past month.
"He's a tough kid, but we're going to take it event by event and see how it goes," Punahou coach Mike Pavich said.
CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Radford coach Elizabeth Patton passed a baton to her daughter, Kaeli Patton, during a photo shoot yesterday.
In the long run
The most vulnerable individual record this year may be the 9:01.80 in the 3,000 meters fashioned by Punahou's Todd Iacovelli in 2002. Dawson Vorderbruegge of Kaiser ran 8:59.99 at the OIA championship.
Another Kaiser runner, Sarah Clapp, enters with the best time in the girls 3,000, with 10:49.42.
Cougars coach Dennis Swart said both have been ailing since the league meet two weeks ago. Vorderbruegge was sick with the flu the day of the meet and for several after, and Clapp has developed some respiratory discomfort.
"But they're both ferocious competitors," Swart said.
Both will likely run in only the 3,000, the coach added.
This is the last meet for Mililani boys and girls head coach Marshall Ochi and Punahou boys head coach Mike Pavich.
Both successful mentors are resigning for family reasons. Ochi's wife is expecting their first child and Pavich is moving to the mainland.
The Kauai High girls project to score heavily, especially in the jumps with Tiffany Ikeda-Simao and Jamilee Jimenez (state-best 18-0 1/2 in the long).
Larissa Edwards of Ka'u entered today as the state's fastest in both hurdles (15.23 and 47.18).
Bailey Massenburg from King Kekaulike arrives with the top times in the 1,500 (4:52.14) and 800 (2:23.64).