Q&A: Kaiser pole vaulter Juliette Lum

Juliette Lum (right) and Tommi Hintnaus are the top two pole vaulters entering the state championships this weekend. Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser
Juliette Lum (right) and Tommi Hintnaus are the top two pole vaulters entering the state championships this weekend. Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser

The pressure is off, possibly, for the state’s No. 2 pole vaulter.

Juliette Lum of Kaiser is just a junior, and her personal record of 11 feet even makes her a contender for the gold at the Island Movers/HHSAA State Track and Field Championships in Keaau. Coach Kevin Kruszona considers six, maybe as many as eight vaulters in the running for first place in the vault, with Kaiser senior Tommi Hintnaus (PR 11-7) as a solid favorite.

But conditions at Keaau could level the playing field, so to speak. Wind, rain and cold weather are always a possibility in East Hawaii. Lum is just approaching it as a chance to help the Lady Cougars challenge for a state title. They last won the crown in 2015.

Lum’s older sister, Celine, was a state champion and inspiration. For the most part, though, Lum is a world traveler who lists “eating food” as a hobby.

Juliette Lum
Kaiser track and field

Q&A / Favorites

Athlete: Yelena Isinbayeva

JL: She is the world’s best pole vaulter and she inspires me. Sometimes during meets and practices, I look at videos of her jumping to inspire me to jump high.


JL: Honestly, I don’t know to much about other team sports but I remember I used to like the Steelers because their jerseys looked pretty cool.

Food (at home):

JL: My favorite would probably be lamb and risotto that my stepdad makes. But I mean I also love food so it’s kinda hard to choose just one thing I like. 

HPW: The lamb and risotto made by your stepdad (Mike Brashears), could you make it from scratch like him?

JL: I wish I could make it like him. He makes it from scratch and he has never showed me how to make it. I feel like there are so many ingredients that go into my favorite food that I enjoy eating it and not making it haha.

HPW: What kind of food can you make?

JL: I can make curry and toast with egg and avocado, but that’s about it. 

Food (eating out):

JL: Pasta. Lots and lots of pasta. I eat pasta at home but whenever I’m out I just always eat Fettuccine Alfredo. I don’t know why but it’s just my favorite.

Hobby outside of sports:

JL: I love to go to the beach, but even more I love to eat food. My mom’s a flight attendant so I also travel to a bunch of cool places as another hobby and my number one priority is to find what kind of cool foods are nearby. 


JL: Moana. Love how it reminds me of home and Tahiti which are my two favorite places on this earth. 

TV show:

JL: Not a huge fan of TV.

Video game:

JL: Don’t play any.

Music artist: Jack Johnson 

Teacher (elementary through high school): 

JL: My favorite teacher would be Wade Nakamura and I’m currently in his class because he’s funny. We made a bet that if me or Hannah gets first in anything at states he’ll buy us lunch. So I hope we achieve or goal. 

HPW: What class does Mr. Nakamura teach? What makes him your favorite teacher?

JL: He teaches biology and I actually did not like him at all freshman year. His class was pretty boring. But he became nicer once I wasn’t in his class (sophomore year) and he would always joke around and say funny things which I thought was hilarious. But he is also someone I can talk to if I ever feel sad or something is bothering me. Now I’m in his class again for biology again because I am taking an IB course and will be in his class next year, as well. 

GPA: Cumulative 4.0. Currently 4.7.

HPW: Did you just say four-point-seven?

JL: Yes, I do have a 4.7 because I am enrolled in an IB (International Baccalaureate) program which is a 2 year course 


JL: Study hall. Yup, that’s a class.

Place to relax:

JL: The beach. Even though people who really know me know that I can barely relax because I love to always be doing something. 

Motto/scripture: Running is a mental sport and we’re all insane. —Unknown 

What your mom (Valerie Brashears) says that you can’t forget:

JL: The only thing my mom tells me not to forget is my positivity because she doesn’t like it when I’m grumpy. 

What your dad (Jeff Lum) says that you can’t forget:

JL: He tells me to jump high. 

What your coaches say that you can’t forget:

JL: Coach Kevin (Kruszona) always tells me that all I need is consistency. 

Rank your favorite T&F events to compete in:

JL: Hands down my favorite is pole vault and both relays (4×100 and 4×400). 

How does your track and field affect your daily life during the season and offseason?

JL: I don’t have as much time to go to the beach, but I definitely make some of my best friends during track and off-season were always training and going to the weight room so even then I’m always pretty busy.

What middle and elementary schools did you attend?

JL: Hahaione elementary and Niu Valley middle school 

What youth teams did you play for? What club do you play for and what are the daily commitments like year-round?

JL: I didn’t do sports when I was younger. I hated the idea of running for fun.

HPW: So you hated running. How did track and field become such a big part of your life? How much did your sister influence you directly or indirectly?

JL: Track and field became a huge part of my life. Almost every day I run and work out at the gym or do drills for pole vault. She would bring me to practices when I was eighth grade and I have never seen something so cool in my life. It fascinated me so much that I wanted to try it, even if it meant that I would have to run and get sweaty in the sun. I would be jumping 4 feet when I first started and I still had this huge stoke and smile shown on my face. I loved it and I still do. 

HPW: Where have you travelled for track and field?

JL: I travelled to the big island and I flew up to surprise hannah and watch her junior olympics in Sacramento 

HPW: What do you like to do — or what’s something else you’re good at — that would surprise most people?

JL: Weird fact but I can make a clover shape with my tongue, and shake my eyes. But I also love to paint and draw. 

HPW: What is your ultimate dream/bucket list? Where would you like to travel, what life would you like to have as an athlete? And away from sports? 

JL: I really want to go sky diving and travel to Africa. 

HPW: You’ve been around the world, literally. What are the places you’ve travelled to?

JL: I’ve travelled to France, Spain, Italy, Australia (Sydney, Brisbane), New Zealand, Tahiti, Japan, Korea, Canada, all of the inter islands, and many places in the US (Chicago, Iowa, Sacramento, LA, Santa Barbara, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, San Diego, Oregon, Lake Tahoe, and other places). I actually had to make a deal with my coaches that I wouldn’t travel anywhere during track season. It was pretty hard because I would normally try to adventure to a different country every other weekend, since my moms a flight attendant and I would normally just tag along. 

HPW: You could easily write a blog about anything, especially travel. You’ve been to more places than most people. So Africa is the ultimate destination for you. What about Asia or India?

JL: I’ve traveled in Asia. But yes I would love to go to India! Or Africa.

HPW: What is the history and background of your name?

JL: I’m honestly not too sure. A lot of people ask me where Romeo is, but honestly my name wasn’t even based off of Juliet in the play, and it’s spelled differently 

HPW: Any shout-outs or additional thoughts are welcome. Mahalo!

JL: Shout out to my team especially my relay team (Kristen O’Handley, Hannah Hollenbeck, Tommi) and my inspiring older sister (Celine Lum) who is also a pole vaulter and is the one who got me to do this sport. She inspires me to be who I am and supports me in so many ways. I love her so much and words can’t describe how happy I get when I see her and hangout with her.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email hawaiiprepworld@staradvertiser.com.