Punahou girls, Kahuku boys win state crowns
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By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Wes Nakama
Kahuku won its first Island Movers/Hawai'i High School Athletic Association Boys Track and Field Championship last night, edging host Kamehameha, 64 points to 62.
Kamehameha trailed 56-52 entering the final race of the evening, the 4x400 meter relay. The Warriors won the race, but Kahuku finished third to secure the team title.
"We needed them to finish fourth to tie," Kamehameha coach Sam Moku said.
The Red Raiders won despite a bad exchange in the 4x100 relay that resulted in a last-place finish, plus Kahuku senior Redmond Tutor finishing second in two events he was favored in.
"Look at this," said Tutor, pointing across the Warriors' sparkling Kunuiakea Athletic Stadium. "They train in this great facility, and they have so many great athletes. We have a seven-man team, and I felt like we came into a battle with a plastic knife. But what we don't have in facilities, we made up for with heart. We came together as a family and we came out on top."
Tutor set a record in the long jump with a wind-aided mark of 23 feet, 6 inches, eclipsing the mark of 23-4 1/4 set by Leilehua's Koldene Walsh in 1983. Tutor also won the 110 hurdles, in 15.12 seconds.
He was favored to win the 300 hurdles after setting the O'ahu Interscholastic Association championship meet record last week, but was upset last night after clipping two hurdles midway through the race.
Mililani junior D'Andre Benjamin ended up winning in 40.63 seconds.
"My friends told me (Tutor) clipped a couple hurdles toward the turn, but I didn't know," said Benjamin, who was running in lane 5 next to Tutor in lane 4. "I always felt him next to me. I saw his shadow on my left side, so I had to push myself. I just knew he was a strong competitor, and I figured it would be either me or him (winning). I mustered all my strength, dug deep and just ran hard."
Damien senior Kealoha Pilares edged Tutor in the triple jump with a leap of 46-2 1/4, to Tutor's 45-9 1/2.
"Kealoha brought his 'A' game, and he beat me," Tutor said.
But Kahuku was able to make up for lost points in other events. Suaesi Tuimaunei took third in the 200 and fourth in the 100, Afa Bridenstine took third in the 110 hurdles and B.J. Beatty came in third in the discus.
"We blew the 4x100, and for a moment I thought we were out of it," Red Raiders coach Sean Makaiau said. "But everybody kept firing, and we picked up some clutch points. Suaesi came up huge, and so did Afa. And Red — even when he didn't win, he would keep things going for us."
In his 10th event in two days (counting Friday's trials), Tutor ran the anchor leg in the 4X400 and fended off a charge by Punahou to hold onto third place.
"We knew this was our last race of the season, so we went for broke," Tutor said. "We left nothing in the tank."
In other meet highlights, Mililani senior A.J. Clark won the 100 and 200 with times of 11.23 and 22.53, respectively. Kamehameha senior Jeremy Kamaka'ala won the 1,500 in a time of 4:08.69 and the 3,000 in a time of 9:25.68. Radford's Jeremy Hayes won the high jump with an impressive leap of 6-7.
Kamehameha picked up a key victory in the 4x100, finishing in a time of 43.17 seconds. The race was expected to be a tossup between the Warriors and Kahuku, but the Red Raiders had problems on the first exchange and finished last, scoring zero points.
But Kahuku rebounded, and Tutor said it had added inspiration from the memory of John Cummings, founder of Ko'olauloa Track and Field Club. Cummings died Feb. 5 at age 48.
"He's the one who taught me how to run track," Tutor said. "Tonight was all about Uncle John. This was for him."
Reach Wes Nakama at email@example.com.