Crusaders' 10-man squad clinches in final race to prevail by half a point
• Photo gallery: State Track and Field
By Stanley Lee
Advertiser Staff Writer
KEA'AU, Hawai'i — Ten was enough for a team, and a final burst of energy in the meet's final event secured the title.
Saint Louis' 10-member squad won its first Island Movers/HHSAA State Track & Field Championships last night thanks to a last-moment lean for third place in the 4x400-meter relay.
The Crusaders totaled 44.33 points to edge Punahou, which had 43.83.
"We have small numbers. We'll probably never win an ILH title, we're limited to four events in the ILH, we don't have enough bodies," said Saint Louis coach Geoff Garvin, who started coaching most of his athletes when they were in intermediate school. "But the state meet is quality, we have quality, and we had just enough and played it just right."
Saint Louis, which scored points in just seven events, led the team standings with 38.33 points to Punahou's 33.83 heading into the 4x400. The Crusaders were well aware they needed to finish third or higher to beat the Buffanblu.
Punahou won the relay in 3:24.34, and Saint Louis was in second coming down the final 100 meters before Radford and Kamehameha made a late charge.
"I knew they were coming up, the crowd was screaming," said Taylor Spencer, Saint Louis' anchor leg. "It was coming down to the last moment."
In a final lean at the finish, Radford was second in 3:26.46 and Saint Louis third in 3:26.51, just 0.02 seconds ahead of Kamehameha.
Running on Saint Louis' 4x400 were Trevor Mau, Zach Kawamoto, Michael Martin and Spencer.
"That was huge," said Mau, who broke the meet record in the long jump for his team's only gold medal. "I was standing right next to the finish line and I couldn't even tell. That's how close it was."
The final result for Punahou was a bit surprising considering how its season began.
"I'm so proud of our boys," Punahou coach Micah Pavich said. "The beginning of the year, no one thought we would be close. We came in and made a solid competition out of it."
Three records were broken — 1,500, 3,000 and long jump.
Bryce Jenkins of Leilehua broke the 3,000 record twice. He set a new record in Friday's trials with a time of 8:57.04, then broke that mark last night with 8:52.90.
"I told myself this was my last high school race," said Jenkins, who had a queasy stomach during the race. "There's so many great runners out here. This is a dream come true. I really enjoyed it."
Jenkins had the top time in the 1,500 trials, but scratched from yesterday's championship heat.
"I had a sudden change of heart," Jenkins said. "I'm a Christian, I had an overwhelming feeling someone didn't want me to run that race. I trusted my gut."
Mau broke the long jump record in Friday's trials with a leap of 23 feet, 8 inches. Trials marks for field events are carried over to the finals, and that held up for Mau after yesterday's finals.
"I'm happy I broke it, not satisfied though," Mau said. "I thought I could've jumped better."
Reid Hunter of King Kekaulike broke the 1,500 record with a time of 4:03.98. He also won the 800 in 1:58.13.
Chauncy Makainai of Kailua won the discus (156-11) and shot put (58-8 3/4), and Ka'u's Jacob Edwards won the boys 110 hurdles (14.93) and 300 hurdles (39.34).