Punahou’s J. Kai Yamafuji pole vaulted higher than anyone in Hawaii history on Wednesday, according to his coach Tom Hintnaus and ILH track and field coordinator Jeff Meister.
Yamafuji, a sophomore, cleared 16 feet. A bit earlier, he had made 15 feet, 3 inches as did rival and defending state and ILH champion Logan Rubasch of ‘Iolani.
Yamafuji then went on to make 15-9 on his first try and 16-0 on his second attempt.
Yamafuji was immediately hugged by Hintnaus, a former Olympian after clearing 16-0. His personal best was 15-5 earlier this year.
“I got up (from the mat) and fell back down and when I got up,” Yamafuji said. “Coach was there congratulating me. I really couldn’t believe it.”
The state high school meet record is 15-3, set by St. Anthony’s Bubba McLean in 1997. Baldwin’s Kainoa Tom cleared 15-4 at the Punahou Relays in 2015.
Yamafuji and Rubasch, a senior who will attend Columbia on a track and field scholarship, will compete against each other again at the upcoming state meet.
The field events of the ILH track and field championships were held on Wednesday. All track events will be held Friday at Kamehameha.