Martinez, Jenkins dominate OIA


POSTED: Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sometimes what's supposed to happen, happens. But cross country is unpredictable enough that even the same old story offers plot twists with each new chapter.

Margarito Martinez dominated from the start to lead his Leilehua boys squad to its fifth consecutive team title and Gabriella Jenkins led Mililani to a 1-2-3 finish in the girls event yesterday in the OIA Championships at Patsy Mink Central Oahu Regional Park.

Martinez, a junior, became the Mules equivalent of a runaway stallion, sprinting through the 3-mile course in a blistering 16:15:42. Aiea senior Colin Honeker placed second with a time of 17:12:96, followed by Mililani freshman Zachary Carvalho at 17:31:86. Castle's Eric Pak and Roosevelt's Kai Yoshioka rounded out the boy's top five.

“;I tried to push myself to the edge, to the point where I feel like I can't move my legs anymore,”; said Martinez. “;Running is part mental and part physical. Mentally, I tried to go out there with a great attitude. I try not to think I'm better than anyone else but instead focus on running the best race that I can.”;

Leilehua has ruled the OIA boys division under head coach Shawn Nakata since 2005, reigning the team and individual honors during that span, thanks in good part to former teammate and three-time state champion Bryce Jenkins, now running for Idaho State.

Martinez says he learned a lot from Jenkins during their time together. They never really tried to race against each other but more, “;whoever wins.”; Martinez says that Jenkins usually won.

“;Bryce and I were close, but he had a different training method than I did,”; said Martinez. “;He was more serious and I just wanted to go out there, do my best, and have fun.”;

With Jenkins gone, Martinez is no longer in the shadows, but rather, casting his own. He's gotten a lot more serious now and assumed a role in team leadership.

Like the boys race, the wahine had similar story lines. Pre-race consensus had the Lady Trojans placing well, but the order of finish was a bit of a surprise.

Sophomore Jenkins, in what could be labeled a mild upset, led the way for the top-three Mililani girls with a 19:37:35 finish, followed by teammates Kimberly Pugliese at 20:04:81, and pre-race favorite Kristin Ali-Keith with a time of 20:22:29. Moanalua's Sophie Curatilo placed fourth, followed by Deylynn White from Kapolei.

Mililani head coach Nathan Aragaki said the tight finish wasn't so much strategic but more pure chance.

“;They try to run together in the beginning, but all three are at about the same ability level, so it just kind of happens,”; said Aragaki.

Jenkins, the top girls finisher, seemed more satisfied with her Mililani team title than finishing first.

“;No matter what order we finished, it just felt good to come in all together,”; said Jenkins.

But Jenkins might have added incentive in the future. Aragaki told her that if she finished well in a race several weeks ago, she could drive his prized Monte Carlo. Jenkins performed, and got to drive the car—all of 10 feet. When asked what would happen if she did well in the upcoming HHSAA Sate tourney on Kauai, she wondered if her coach would actually give her the car.

“;I have a friend with a nice Harley-Davidson,”; Aragaki said. “;If she does well, maybe I can get her a ride.”;

The top 50 girls and 48 boys runners qualify for the HHSAA state meet at the Island School campus in Lihue on Saturday.