For a high schooler who once ran marathons during his elementary school years, track and field races are a blip.
Parker Wagnild gave up marathons years ago and now is one of the state’s premier runners in the 1,500- and 3,000-meter runs. The Mid-Pacific senior also added the 800 to his menu, setting a state-best time of 2 minutes, 1.25 seconds last Friday at Punahou.
The plan, generally, is for Wagnild to focus on the 1,500 and 3,000 at the ILH and state championships. He holds the school records in the two long-distance events: 4:09.7 in the 1,500 and 9:11.52 in the 3,000.
What Wagnild brings to his fellow Owls is more than pristine numbers. His enthusiasm for classmates, teammates and the future of the burgeoning program — in both track and field, and cross country — is undeniable.
“I first met Parker when we were in sixth grade,” teammate Eli Stein said. “At the time, he was interested in both swimming and running. We had P.E. together and I remember being impressed by his athletic ability, and also his balance in personality and life. He is both a very committed athlete, but also a light-hearted, funny friend.”
Tripp Tokioka also remembers making a new friend six years ago.
“I first met Parker in sixth grade through a mutual friend, but I really got to know him through track and field in seventh grade. As a friend, Parker was very talkative and energetic. There’d always be something to talk about when he was around. As a runner, however, he was very dedicated and would become more reserved right before a race,” he said.
Wagnild shared his thoughts on running and more in Tuesday’s edition of the Star-Advertiser. So did his head coach, Rick Hendrix. Wagnild has a 3.6 grade-point average and will attend Seattle University this fall. He plans to major in Kinesiology and minor in business.
“Seattle is D1 school. They have very nice facilities. I love the coach, Kelly Sullivan. Their facility is outdoor, but they go to a lot of different places for whatever is needed. Indoor or outdoor,” he said. “I was given a pretty generous scholarship. I’m very lucky. I’m not going to take anything for granted. I was blessed in that regard. It helped my parents a lot. I’m going to take advantage of the free gear we get.”
He also runs an average of 45 to 50 miles per week in the off-season. At that rate, after getting into track in seventh grade, he could reach the 100,000-mile mark around age 54. He journals about his miles online through Strava. Younger brother Zachary, 14, also runs at MPI.
“We’re all on different stages of our journey,” Wagnild said. “As long as he loves to do it, that’s all that matters.”
Parker Wagnild’s lockdown staples
>> Pre-race fuel
Dinner: “Probably my mom’s spaghetti (with hamburger). Angel hair or regular pasta. I usually eat two plates. I’m loaded on spaghetti.”
Breakfast: “If the meet is in the afternoon, I eat a bigger breakfast of tortellini (pasta with cheese or sausage). If the meet is in the morning, I’ll eat a toasted bagel, sometimes with peanut butter, with a granola bar.”
Hydration: “I hydrate a ton. I’m not too choosy. I just drink a lot of water. If I drink Gatorade, I dilute it. Usually the day before. I’ve been pretty good so I haven’t had this in awhile, but if I don’t hydrate, I feel fatigued and just drowsy.”
Post-race: “Enchiladas at Chile Relleno. Always a celebration. On good days, usually that’s my go-to celebration food.
>> Race resume: 11th at states in 2019 as a freshman. First in the 3,000 as a junior in the ILH championships.
“I was mainly a 3k runner. My coach raced me sparingly and didn’t double me as much as I’m doing this year. I ran one 1,500 last year. It paid off at the end. It would’ve been nice to race some 1500s but I like to believe coach has the right path for me.”
>> Top 3 movies
1. The first Avengers
“That’s hard. I’m a big Marvel guy.”
“My parents loved it, therefore I loved it. I’ve seen it eight times. I don’t how to feel because the sequels aren’t usually good.”
“When I was younger I was a Transformers fan. After that, it became a mess. The first film will have a place in my heart. They changed directors too many times and it became about explosions.”
>> Top 3 food/snacks/drinks
“Genki Sushi, the one in Windward City.”
“I’m a very big spaghetti fan. I’m not a fancy guy. I don’t even have a favorite sauce brand. Whatever is on sale at Times.”
3. Mexican food
“Either Chile Relleno or Alejandro’s (Kalihi Valley). The (Alejandro’s) by Kapiolani Park is open more.”
>> Favorite home cooked food
“My mom (Debbie)’s spaghetti. Pretty much anything she cooks is great. Sometimes for protein, tuna noodles. Tuna protein, like a stir fry with the noodles. It’s canned, I think. It’s a cheap way to get a meal that’s healthy and lean.”
>> Top 3 music artists
1. The Weeknd – “Blinding Lights”
2. Twenty-one Pilots
3. Drake – “Cellphone”
4. Imagine Dragons – “Enemy or Bones”
>> Favorite athletes
“Eliude Kipchoge, Mo Farah, Bekele Cooper Teare, Cole Hocker. But for non-running, our family are big fans of the Seattle Seahawks. A lot of my dad’s family, everyone but my dad, is from Seattle.”
>> Favorite class/teacher
“Dystopian Literature, Mr. Nipps; Japanese 3, Mrs. Asato; Math, Mr. Hangai. Also, Human Anatomy. I’m taking some pretty rigorous courses, but I have to say Mid-Pac’s teachers have been awesome.”
>> GPA: 3.6
>> Funniest teammate
“Alex Goodrowe. He was on the team for four years. This last track season, he decided he’s going to college in New York, so he’s focusing only on school. He’s just a funny guy, good natured and loves to make people laugh. Sometimes at my expense, but he keeps my humility at a good level. To this day, he’s one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met.”
>> Smartest teammate
“Tripp Tokioka. He works very hard at school and he has a GPA of 4.1 or something (weighted). I’m always inspired by the work he does and makes me want to do better as well.”
>> Teammate most likely to coach
“Me or Eli Stein. It was interesting. I’m actually planning to come back this summer before I go to college and help at Mid-Pac’s pre-cross country practices. That’s one of the things I love is the amount of people I’ve met. On the track you’re focused and you want to win, but off the track we’re all really close friends. I can call a lot of people from different schools my best friends.”
>> New life skill: Responsibility
“Just that I have my (driver’s license), managing my time a lot more and trying to do things that’ll help my parents out even if it’s something that might be out of my way.”
>> Bucket list
“Travel the world. Japan. I would go to Tokyo and I might go to Kyoto. I want to go back to Italy again. I had a lot of fun there. I was there when I was 9. We did go to Rome and Rome was cool. I would love to see the coliseum again.”
>> Hidden talent
“I can draw pretty well. Sometimes I sketch on my free time. I like to sketch faces. In the past, the most I’ve filled out in my books is 20. Sometimes I start and get distracted.”
>> Shout outs
“I want to shout out the man above and also my good friend, Matt Foster, who was an inspiration to me. Thank you to my family, my best friends for the support: Nick, Ocean, Keyn, Kai, Alex, Ian and Narayan. Thank you to all my coaches and particularly my head coaches, Coach Rick (Hendrix) and Coach Jon (Lee). All my teammates. Thank you everyone who supported me. It means the world to have all of you. I’m very grateful.”