Ka'ū's Edwards on fast track
By Stanley Lee
Advertiser Staff Writer
Ka'ū High School's "track" is a canvas of green, four-lanes wide and etched with lines of white spray paint.
The grand opening of its jumping pit was yesterday when sand finally arrived for it.
With a four-lane track on a grassy field marked with spray paint that is just 100 meters long, and the rest of the field marked to simulate longer distances, Ka'ū has turned out state-champion hurdlers, each leaving their own mark on the track.
Jacob Edwards is another one of those hurdlers, who even designed his own track for a youth track meet as his senior project. The senior won the 110- and 300-meter hurdles at back-to-back meets on Friday and Saturday, dropping his time from each meet to post the state's top times in the hurdles this season.
"Time-wise on Friday, it's OK, average," said Edwards, the defending state 110 and 300 hurdles champion. "My jumps were good Friday. Saturday, when I got there, I wanted to do better than I did last night."
Edwards won both hurdling events and was second in the long jump and triple jump at Friday afternoon's Ho-nolulu Marathon Invitational at Kamehameha. The meet drew runners from both O'ahu leagues and the Neighbor Islands, providing a brief glimpse of next month's state meet that will be held on the same track.
On Saturday, he woke up at 4 a.m. to catch a flight for a Big Island Interscholastic Federation meet at Konawaena that started later that morning. He won both hurdling events, lowering his time in the 110 from 14.83 seconds to 14.47 and in the 300 from 39.52 to 38.80. He won the long jump with a leap of 19 feet, 11 1/2 inches and was fourth in the 100 dash in 11.42.
His triple-jump mark of 45-3 on Friday is the second-best mark in the state this year and his leap of 21-6 1/2 in the long jump is the state's fifth-best distance.
"I was tired when we got back," Edwards said. "It's a good experience. At BIIF (championships) and states, it's both days and we had a freshman with us, Kristina Padrigo, who did the exact same thing and she came back to win the 100.
"As a freshman, she's not used to doing two-a-day things. It's a good experience for her and for me, that's what I'll be doing in a couple weeks when we're going to states."
Coach Bob Martin said Edwards' times put him up there with the two state 300 record holders. Dana Navarro-Arias of Maui and Kamehameha's David Maeva share the record of 38.10.
"He has a great work ethic," Martin said. "Coming from a school without a formal track or field, he's one of a long line of accomplished hurdlers from Ka'ū."
Edwards, who has also played football, soccer and cross country, is also a leader off the field. Described as "civic minded" by Martin, Edwards held a youth track meet at Ka'ū for his senior project several Sundays ago, painting lines on the practice field to create a 200-meter dash and designing a mile-long course around the campus.
He's also removed invasive species for community clean ups and volunteered for a drug, alcohol and tobacco awareness program. He'll be honored next Thursday at the Hawai'i Hotel & Lodging Association's Citizenship Awards luncheon.