In 22 years, Shane Hedani has enjoyed every bit of coaching track and field.
The 1987 ‘Iolani graduate stepped onto the track as a coach for the first time in ’99.
“That was my first year. My dad, Earl, was the head coach. I was coaching the throwers,” Hedani said on Friday night after ‘Iolani stunned the field to win the ILH boys track and field championships.
‘Iolani amassed 163 points, ahead of runner-up Punahou (133), Kamehameha (90), Saint Louis (56), Maryknoll (24), Hawaii Baptist (16) and Mid-Pacific (14).
‘Iolani won gold in the 100-meter dash with Brody Bantolina’s 10.94 time. Noah Gaudi placed second (11.08) for an added bonus. Evan Georgia took the 400 dash (51.23) and Jacob Gaudi placed third (51.73).
On the whole, however, they did it with balance, sending their athletes into every event except the 800-meter run. Prior to the meet, the staff knew something was smoldering in the ashes.
“A couple of my coaches looked at the rankings and everything. If we added it up, he said we were only two points behind Punahou. One thing here and there, we can win,” Hedani said.
Even a few hours after the rain, wind and sun of the championship meet, the Raiders were still processing.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet. It was enjoyable watching the boys celebrate. They all stepped up. The sprinters, Wailoa (Manuel) had a PR in the long jump. Our ninth-grade distance runners did great. Everyone did a little more, so it worked out for us,” Hedani said.
If there was one group that had depth, it was the fast-twitchers.
“This year, our sprint team led us. We had a core of six or seven guys who all stepped up. Usually, we have one or two sprinters with a supporting cast,” Hedani said. “But we had six who all could. My boys sprint coach, Javis Carino, did an excellent job.”
That, in spite of the challenges when football training and exhibitions — ‘Iolani had an intrasquad scrimmage last week — are suddenly in the same season with track and field.
“It’s definitely more challenging than usual with mixed seasons and COVID,” Hedani said.
Earl Hedani is still in the program, focusing on younger sprinters at the intermediate level, his son said. His 40-year run as head coach left an imprint, to say the least.
“My dad always said, ‘If you win an ILH title that’s 10 times harder than states.’ He was chilling at home watching the streaming of the meet,” Hedani said. “I called him and he just said, ‘You guys win?’ I said yes, and he congratulated me.”
Maybe a celebration at 10-times power is fitting, but it won’t happen right away. Hedani is already looking ahead to Saturday morning’s ILH girls track and field championships, again at Alexander Field.
“My guys did the numbers for the girls, too. It’s maybe us and Kamehameha competing, and Punahou is way up there,” Hedani said. “Punahou has a very good coaching staff, a deep team.”