Back in the day, track and field athletes had no limit to the number of events they entered.
Joy Purdy carried Hana when she was an elite athlete in the early 1980s. There weren’t a whole lot of sprinters/jumpers/vaulters/throwers/runners carrying major loads now that they are limited to four.
William Ho tried his version of maximum load at the ILH boys track and field championships, winning the 800- and 1,500-meter runs, placing second in the 3,000 and running a leg in the 4×400 for Kamehameha on Saturday afternoon at soggy, sunny Alexander Field.
“That was amazing what he did,” Saint Louis sprinter Keanu Wallace said.
“That guy was just crazy,” Punahou hurdler Christopher Paige said. “He just came off a 3,000 and he jumped in the 4×400. That’s unreal.”
Ho, a senior with a 4.3 grade-point average, won the ILH cross country championship in March, outlasting promising ‘Iolani freshman Devin Pang. The ninth grader did some work of his own on Saturday, placing second in the 1,500 and third in the 3,000.
The Raiders won the team standings, using balance across events. Ho did what he could for the Warriors, bringing onlookers watching through the fence on Punahou Street to their feet as he used his powerful kick finishes to win two races. He nearly did it again in the 3,000, but couldn’t quite make up a 60-yard lead by the winner, Parker Wagnild.
The energy was there. On a day when Ho excelled at long distances and a sprint in a relay, the only force that could stop him was the premier runner at this distance. More so when Wagnild focused on the 3,000 and nothing else.
In the 3,000, however, Wagnild was waiting. Wagnild exploded to a huge lead in the first half of the run. In the final two laps, Ho nearly made up a gap of about 60 yards. Wagnild’s kick in the final stretch was enough to save off Ho and his bid for a rarity.
“Honestly, I’m kind of used to that (gap) in cross country. That was the game plan. We knew that he was going to go out fast, so my coaches said to run comfortably and try and reel him in,” Ho said. “He told me that he heard my teammates cheering for me, so he knew he had to go.”
He stuck with his usual pre-game calories.
“I had spaghetti with Classico tomato sauce,” he said of Thursday’s dinner. “For breakfast, I had oatmeal with peanut butter and honey. For lunch, it was a turkey wrap. I was eating fruits and veggies throughout the day, too. Especially bananas, also some Belvita (bars).”
Two first-place finishes made the post-race meal as tasty as ever.
“I had Teddy’s (Bigger Burgers) again for a celebration-ary dinner. I got the classic burger,” Ho said.
Ho’s next destination is Duke, where he plans to major in Economics. His background in Linear Algebra and Vector Calculus may come in handy.
“If I can get on either one (cross country or track), I’ll be happy,” Ho said.
He will be a long way from the islands, which is why his family watched intently on Saturday. His father, Timothy, and uncle (Alfred Chun) and aunt (Shelli Landeryou) were on the hill overlooking the track, watching through the fence as the rain fell.
“He just thought it was an awesome meet,” Ho said of his father. “Lots of my family members told me it was probably my best meet ever.”