As unlikely as it sounds, two eighth graders won events at the Cal Track Ruby Tuesday Invitational on Saturday at Moanalua.
Tatum Moku, a Damien student, pole vaulted 11 feet to win that event. She has the rest of this year and four years after that to improve on it.
“My dad asked me if I wanted to try it in sixth grade and go to Kamehameha and practice,” Moku said about her father Sam Moku, who is a former UH football player and track and field coach at Kamehameha who is now the athletic director at Hawaii Pacific University. “I worried at that first practice. ‘What if I’m not good at it?’ And then I actually started to get good and I kept practicing and practicing.”
Tatum Moku, who officially competed as “unattached” and not for Damien because she is not in high school yet, also does the hurdles and the long jump.
“I feel pretty good about it,” she said about the win. “If you work hard enough and get the form right and have enough energy going into the pit, then you’ll get pretty high.”
Moku, who is 5 feet 4 and 115 pounds, used to do gymnastics and said that helped her with the flexibility for the pole vault.
“I want to do 12 feet before the season ends,” she said.
The state meet record is 13 feet, set by Baldwin’s Amber Kozaki in 2013.
The other eighth grader to win Saturday was Lexi King of ‘Iolani. She cleared 5 feet 1 in the high jump. She also officially competed “unattached” and not for ‘Iolani.
Makayla Dickerson of Oak Bay High in Victoria, B.C., set a meet record in the long jump — 17 feet, 5.75 inches.
Baldwin’s Michael Rebolledo set the boys long jump meet record — 21-9.25.
“I was kind tired coming off the airplane and going to eat and coming straight over here,” he said. “I ate Cinnabon. Gotta have Cinnabon when you come to Oahu. I wasn’t expecting to break a record. I have been out a month with a hamstring injury. It’s nice to be out here again.
“This is actually my first time breaking a record. It didn’t hit me yet, but it’s kind of sinking in. That’s pretty cool I did it on Oahu. I’m excited to have the states on my home island this year. It’s a home-field advantage. I gotta show my island what I can do.”
The Island Movers/HHSAA State Track and Field Championships are May 3-4 at War Memorial Stadium.