Kalani Simpson Sidelines

Kalani Simpson

Hawaii built it, but
they’re not coming

DEAR World of College Track:

You are blowing it.

You are fools.

You would have to be, not to be here this week for the Rainbow Relays.

What happened to all the college track teams that were going to be invited to the Rainbow Relays?

"They were invited," Rainbow Wahine coach Carmyn James said.

Michigan talked about coming. But didn't. Three college teams in Kansas were going to charter a plane.

It never came.

Fools, I tell you.

Where else can you run outdoors in March? (Without donning ski caps and snow jackets between events?)

It was beautiful, yesterday, at Hawaii's brand new kalakoa track. Bright sun. Blue skies. What more could you want?

(Actually, that is not true. It alternated between gray and raining and hot and humid. But what the heck, they weren't here, they won't know the difference.)

Where is everybody?

Don't they know about Hawaii athletic director Herman Frazier's love of track and field?

Couldn't Frazier whip out his legendary Rolodex and start speed-dialing through some of his famous contacts?

But James said she isn't sure what her boss could do to fill out the field, other than to pay someone's way.

You see, you can have the best facility in the world, and the best location, and perfect timing (college spring break). But unless these nonrevenue programs can find some extra cash, they aren't coming.

"It all comes down to who has the money," she said.

You know who has the money? Texas. Texas has money. And the Longhorns, bless them, showed up.

Well, at least 15 of them did (including 200- and 400-meter world junior record holder and reigning NCAA indoor 400-meter champ Sanya Richards). So the Wahine got to compete against at least a few of the best.

UH's Tasha Monroe long-jumped her way into the national championship meet Friday with an NCAA qualifying mark.

And the Rainbow Relays grow slowly.

For now the Wahine are content to host mostly high school kids -- James is hoping her rainbow track can be the site of the HHSAA state meet in the not-too-distant future, to get great local runners used to coming to UH.

Every track team in the ILH (except Iolani) was there, yesterday, James said, and McKinley and Waialua, too.

James dreams of attracting all the high-school teams, and a good number of college ones, too. Of making these Rainbow Relays into a big-time meet.

Until then, she may be the only Division I coach in the country in any sport who announces her own event.

"The toughest thing for me is pronouncing a lot of these Hawaii names," the Canadian James said. "(Friday) I went up to each kid individually and said, 'How do you say your name?' "

She's looking to give up the microphone, as her program grows. Interested emcees should apply. Salary is a box lunch. Chocolate chip cookie included.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Kalani Simpson can be reached at


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