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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Renovated facility gets Hawai'i on the right track

University of Hawai‘i Athletic Director Herman Frazier showed he still has some speed as he sprinted by Teryn Bentley in an impromptu relay yesterday at the blessing of the school’s $1.7 million track and field facility. Frazier won a gold medal in the 4x400 relay and a bronze in the 400-meter relay in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.

Gregory Yamamoto • The Honolulu Advertiser

By Casey McGuire-Turcotte
Special to The Advertiser

University of Hawai'i athletic director Herman Frazier blessed the school's new track in his own way yesterday afternoon in Manoa.

ABOVE: A crowd of about 150 were on hand for the blessing of the University of Hawai'i's new track.

BELOW: AD Herman Frazier sprints to victory in a race against the UH women's track team.

Gregory Yamamoto • The Honolulu Advertiser

Shortly after the grand opening of the newly renovated facility, Frazier showed the crowd of about 150 that he still has the finishing speed that brought him Olympic relay gold in 1976.

In an impromptu 400-meter relay race, a team made of UH President Evan Dobelle, Chancellor Peter Englert, a booster club member, retiring athletic director Hugh Yoshida, and Frazier raced against the UH women's track team. The race didn't get serious until the final leg.

Frazier, running the anchor leg in casual attire and dress shoes, toyed with his competitors before sprinting for the win.

"Didn't think I still had it, did they?" joked Frazier, who also celebrated his 48th birthday yesterday.

It could be the first of many victories to come on the $1.7 million track, which broke ground on May 20 and was completed last week.

"A new era of track and field starts today," head track coach Carmyn James said. "What was a dream is now a reality."

"This is a world-class facility," Frazier said. "It puts the program in position to do great things, and it gives the entire university something to be proud of."

The facility includes a resurfaced rainbow-colored track with steeplechase water jumps, pole vault, high jump and vertical jumps areas, and shot put and discus rings.

The Mondo surface used on the track is the most recent in technology. Made of 100 percent rubber, it has been used on tracks for the Olympics and most other major international meets.

Jodi Enomoto, a UH senior and cross country athlete, said the new track is even sweeter for those who had experienced the old layout.

"We had to dodge pot holes, zig-zag around puddles, it was really a mess," she said.

"We've come a long way since the dirt and gravel track we had here in '63," said retired UH cross country and track coach Johnny Faerber. "This is the best I've ever seen (the track) look."

UH is hoping to host several regional and national meets in the coming years, and will host several meets this spring, including the Rainbow Relays March 28-29.

"We've got the perfect climate for athletes to train and perform," said assistant athletic director Marilyn Moniz-Kaho'ohanohano. "The track promotes UH as unique and special. Soon, everyone will know Hawai'i is the place for track and field."

UH President Evan Dobelle praised the rainbow design.

"The track echos the oldest symbol of Hawai'i and of Manoa," he said. "Now we can have a rainbow every day."

The track is not yet open to the public. Frazier said he is planning to meet with staff and administrators soon to find a solution to public access rights and the university's useage needs.