The drought was a time of renewal.
A time of thirst. It was quenched on Saturday night.
After five years without a state title, the Punahou girls ended the dry spell at the Island Movers/HHSAA Track and Field State Championships at Kunuiakea Stadium. Depth, as always was the key for Coach Duncan Macdonald’s team. The Buffanblu amassed 92 points and was never threatened, even as Seabury Hall’s long-distance runners made up some ground late in the night.
The promise is in the culture. The Buffanblu don’t like track and field. They love it. With or without titles. Macdonald noted that the Buffanblu girls have their first first-place finisher in five years, which is the last time Punahou won a girls state title. Their top 400-meter runners are friends who happen to be in the same event with elite-level ability. Sophomore Kaila Ronquillo won the 400 in 57.06. The 400 runner-up, Allie Little (58.67), is a freshman.
“We train really hard throughout the season and we planned out our race really well,” Ronquillo said.
“And it helps to have each other because we push each other at practice,” Little added.
They don’t like competition. They love it. They embrace the race each day, just the way Macdonald and his veteran staff have done it for decades. And decades.
“We support each other and we’re happy for each other. We want the best for each other,” Ronquillo said.
After a steaming hot afternoon with a fickle breeze blowing across the track, conditions at the Kamehameha-Kapalama campus were close to ideal for all competitors.
“The wind kind of died down for our race and that was helpful. Overall temperature was good, I think,” Ronquillo said.
“We prepared super hard for this race and it turned out well,” Little said.
“You have to have the heart at practice, and wanting to want it,” Ronquillo said.
“Yeah, Kaila said it all,” Little added.
And the celebration continued.