Radford track and field sprinting coach Sid Patton tells a good story about one of the Rams, senior Michael Edwards.
Edwards broke the OIA championship meet’s 300 hurdles record Saturday with a time of 39.02 seconds in a winning performance.
But, Edwards’ encouraging speech to his team recently is just as impressive, and it underscores what effort and perseverance can do for anyone who tries.
“He told the team the other night, ‘Hey, I was just an average guy when I came out for track,’ ” Patton said. “Coach said it would take two or three years if I put the work in.’ ”
Patton added that track is a process.
“Sometimes athletes get frustrated and want to see immediate results,” he said.
But Edwards was never like that.
There was a moment that spurred Edwards on, though.
“When he was a sophomore, we had to decide if we would take him to states on the Big Island as a 4×400 alternate,” Patton said. “We decided we weren’t going to take him. That lit a fire under him. He worked like it was nobody’s business, and he hasn’t been the same athlete since.
“He’s laser-focused and that’s what I love about him. He makes others better and they don’t want to let him down. The tone of this team is set by his energy. He’s super smart and a good kid.”
Radford also won the boys team title on Saturday at Mililani. Elizabeth Patton, Sid’s wife, is the head coach.
Edwards’ record-breaking performance sets up a huge showdown in early May at the state championship meet on Maui.
The 300 hurdles is going to be a marquee event.
Tanner Moku of Kamehameha went 37.99 on Saturday afternoon to shatter the ILH championship record on his home track, and Punahou’s Chris Paige (38.92) also went faster than the previous ILH record-holder. Moku’s time is faster than the state-meet mark of 38.10 set by Dana Navarro-Arias of Maui in 1999.
Then there’s defending champion Rey Cadiz of Baldwin, who is also very much in the mix. His personal best in that event is 38.90, and he is also the state-meet record-holder and the defending champion in the 110 hurdles (14.20).
Edwards’ teammate, Kendall Saxon, has a 39.83 under his belt adding yet another contender into the mix.
“That’s going to be a crazy race,” Sid Patton said. “Michael is not concerned with records. He’s concerned with performance. That’s where his focus is. He brings that to practice every day. He’s been a guy on a mission. He trusts the process.”
Michael’s identical twin brother, Clayton Edwards, is also on the Radford track team. He placed second in the 400 at OIAs and is on the 4×400 team with Michael.
As for the team championship, Patton said, “It’s interesting. Our focus was all on event execution. Whatever your event was, they just went out and competed.”
Radford’s three-year-old synthetic track has helped a school already known for its strong track team.
“Big time, it makes a difference,” the coach said. “For three years, we practiced off campus, at Moanalua one year and at Aiea two. That’s how I got to see the full-on commitment of our athletes (130 athletes came out for Radford boys and girls track and field this season). They came to practice on time and there was no attendance problem. What more can you ask for?”