They might need a name for their band soon because they’re playing some solid music on the track and field stage.
It’s Punahou’s 4-x-100-meter girls squad. And here they come to the big stage.
The girls – juniors Alialani Yamafuji and Kealoha Scullion, and sophomores Stevie Marvin and Kaylie Klausing – continue to improve and who knows how far they can take it.
A year ago at the state meet, they ran to first place in 50.64 seconds. In the first few meets this year, they topped that mark and then cruised to a 49.64 in breaking the Interscholastic League of Honolulu championship meet record Friday night at Kamehameha.
People are taking notice.
Take Kamehameha’s Kayla Afoa, for instance. She broke the ILH long jump record on the first-day of the two-day league title meet, recording a leap of 18 feet, 5 1/2 inches, and she also won the high jump and placed second in the triple jump. While being interviewed about her own accomplishments, here’s what Afoa said about Punahou’s roaring four: “They’re so good.”
To illustrate her point, Afoa – who was part of the Warriors’ team that placed second to the Punahou girls in the 4-x-100 – added again, “They’re so good.”
She continued: “Their handoffs are smooth, their runs are all smooth. It will be tough to beat them.”
When one of the top senior athletes in the state and a rival to boot says that, it means something. Afoa won the long jump state title a year ago to go along with two state volleyball championships with the Warriors as a freshman and junior.
Duncan Macdonald, the Punahou coach, also speaks highly of Yamafuji, Scullion, Marvin and Klausing.
“They started out this year slightly faster than the state winning time last year and have steadily improved since then, getting better each week,” Macdonald said. “They work really well together, very good chemistry. We do a lot of relay exchanges and I don’t need to be there for that. I can just say go practice and they will take care of the job on their own.”
These Buffanblu girls are not lacking in extra motivation.
“In the beginning of season at the Ruby Tuesday meet, we lost to Kaiser,” Scullion said. “I think that helped us to want to get better.”
Added Yamafuji, “We actually didn’t run together in the first two meets of the season. We were sad that we didn’t get to do our favorite event. It was the third meet that we ran and we were happy with our time.”
This foursome will likely have two shots to work on besting the state-meet mark of 48.35 set in 2010 by Radford, starting May 12-13 at Keaau High on the Big Isle.
Afoa, meanwhile, took a shot at the ILH high jump mark on Friday. She was the only girl to clear 5 feet and she took her three attempts at a would-be 5-6 3/4 record.
Despite not making it, her form looked solid.
“I’m getting there, and will be practicing a lot more in the next week,” Afoa said. “I’m focusing more on form. I was jumping with new shoes, so maybe if I get used to the shoes more. Hopefully, I can focus on certain things and go higher.”
PADRON FOLLOWING IN BLAZING FOOTSTEPS OF BROTHER
If the name Padron sounds familiar in Hawaii track and field circles, it’s because it is.
Damien’s Christian Padron won the 100- and 200-meter dashes for ILH titles Friday. His times were 10.97 and 22.18. He said his personal best in the 100 is 10.8, and he’s going to take a shot at winning both at states.
Padron has a chance at Justin Desaki’s‘s state-meet mark of 10.75, set in his Kamehameha home track in the 2016 preliminaries.
Padron is the younger brother of Jonathan Padron, who won the state title for the Monarchs in 2009. That meet was also at Keaau.
Jonathan Padron was a junior at the time, and he boosted up from fourth in the preliminaries to a 10.97 in the final.
Christian Padron, whose personal best in the 200 is 22.45, is doing his homework. He knows that Isaiah Payne of Seabury Hall has run a 21.87 this year.
“Those times mean something,” he said. “When it comes to the day of the race, we’ll see how everything turns out.”
He is taking nothing for granted as far as the 100 goes, either.
“You never know,” he said. “People can come out of nowhere.”
Padron placed fifth at states in the 100 last year, despite a hamstring pull.
“My coach told me that not many runners can run with a pulled hamstring,” he said. “He was kind of impressed.”
Padron is looking forward to the state 4-x-100 relay, too. his four-man unit did not compete in the league championship meet.
“The relay team is doing phenomenal,” Padron said. “We’ve been with the same team since freshman year and getting to this point, we’re like a little family.”
RUBASCH WINS POLE VAULT, MISSES RECORD
‘Iolani’s Logan Rubasch took three shots at an ILH meet pole vault record of 15-3. The first two were duds and the third was a near miss.
Rubasch had already cleared 15-0, his personal best, to get past Punahou senior Nick Kapule (14-6) and J. Kai Yamafuji (14-6, the freshman brother of sprinter Alialani). Kapule, who was a Buffanblu quarterback in football as well, just missed on two attempts at 15-0.
The state-meet record is 15-3 and the best all-time in the state is 15-4 (Punahou Relays).
JONES KEEPS BUSY AND KEEPS ON TRUCKING
Junior Jordan Jones of The Priory, the defending 3,000 state champion, ran to victory in the 3,000 in 11:01.87.
She also found time Friday to place second in the 1,500 and played the role of the Big Island princess in the school’s May Day pageant.
In addition, Jones is the president of the newly formed Hawaii High School Athletic Association Student Advisory Committee.
WRIGHT GETS IT RIGHT ON FIRST TRY
Kamehameha’s Jacob Wright nailed a 22-9 3/4 long jump on his first attempt to win that event.
“That was my best,” he said. “I did 22-5 last year. I took third in the triple jump (Wednesday) and that was motivation for me to do my best. Before the meet, I put in new spikes and had grip on the track for once and it made a huge difference in my takeoff. Just having my whole team and coaches cheering me on under the tent was special.”
INDIVIDUAL DOUBLE WINNERS
Not including relays, there were five athletes aside from Afoa who won two individual events.
They are: ‘Iolani’s Nikki Shimao (300 hurdles, 46.62; triple jump, 35-11 1/4); St. Francis’ Olivia Vaeatangitau (discus, 120-03; shot put, 38-4 1/2); Hawaii Baptist’s Madison Moku (100, 12.65; 100 hurdles, 15.14); Punahou’s Connor Lehl (800 1:58.12; 1,500, 4:03.04); and the Buffanblu’s Mia Schiel (800, 2:22.75; 1,500, 4:55.73).
Shimao also placed second in the 100 hurdles.