BIIF girls track and field: Hilo High rises to challenge
KEAAU — Hilo’s Carmen Garson-Shumway glided around Keaau High’s track, handling each lap with all the ease of someone strolling around the park.
When she finally stopped, no one quite knew how to put perspective to what she’d just accomplished.
This much was sure Saturday. In collecting victories in the 1,500, 800 and 3,000, Garson-Shumway ran the Vikings toward their second consecutive Big Island Interscholastic Federation girls track and field championship.
“It’s pretty hard,” Garson-Shumway said. “It’s not something I would recommend. But it was definitely an experience.”
Featuring more raw power than Garson-Shumway’s grace, Hawaii Prep hurdler Emma Taylor matched her with three golds and nearly added a fourth.
In the case of Garson-Shumway’s triple, veteran BIIF officials couldn’t remember it happening before dating all the way back to 1992.
Drawing inspiration from running with St. Joseph’s Sol Kisig and HPA’s Kristiana Van Pernis, Shumway set a championship mark in winning the 3,000 meters for the second time in her career, finishing in 11 minutes, 4.32 seconds.
“I don’t like the 3,000 very much, it’s too long,” Garson-Shumway said. “But all three of us were running together, so it was fun and it was a great race. The most exiting one.”
Earlier, she won her first career 800 (2:19.79) and her second 1,500 (4:53.92) at BIIFs, the two races she’ll concentrate on at Hawaii High School Athletic Association championships, which run Friday and Saturday at Kamehameha-Kapalama on Oahu.
Hilo coach Bill McMahon said Garson-Shumway was miffed about sitting out the 1,600 relay, but Lii Maertens, Kunda Nicholson-Walker, Camille Martinez and Mehana Sabado-Halpern combined on a victory to seal a 15-point win against Ka Makani (123 points), who were runner-up for the second straight year.
Martinez and Maertens each drew praise from their coach for delivering individual gold.
Martinez continued her trend of setting personal records each week in the 400, finishing in 1:01.26 to edge Nicholson-Walker.
“Last year, I didn’t get a chance to win BIIFs, and this year I worked really hard and I had to gain a lot of confidence in myself to run this race,” Martinez said. “I was really happy my coaches believed in me.”
Maertens added a discus gold to the 400 title she won last year.
“That’s very good versatility,” McMahon said.
Taylor began her assault by lowering her state-best time with a PR of 15.08 in the 100 hurdles, a race in which she fell last year at BIIFs after clipping the last hurdle.
“Yeah, it was definitely in my mind,” said Taylor, a sophomore. “States (gold) was as amazing (last year), but it’s in the back of my head, trying not to fall and focusing on that last hurdle and getting over it.”
Once she cleared that, Taylor made the quick turnaround and won the 100 (12.72) and the 300 hurdles (45.91) was hers as well. She’ll head to states as the top seed in both hurdling events.
“More recently, I’ve been focusing on the first 100 of 300, and that’s helped me a lot. Getting speed and staying ahead.”
In the 200, Kealakehe’s Alysa Gamache got off to a good start and relegated Taylor to silver. Gamache was runner-up in the 100 dash.
Kamehameha finished third — ahead of Kealakehe and Waiakea — getting the great majority of its points from the quartet of Casey Poe, Harper Hottendorf, Mikela Cabel and Meagan Kualii, who set a meet record in winning the 400 relay in 49.94 seconds. They combined to win eight individual medals.
Poe won gold in the triple jump by reaching 35-10.25 inches, but the biggest impression in the pits was made by Kealakehe freshman Nicole Cristobal.
Cristobal set a BIIF championship record for freshmen in winning the long jump in 17-2, and she’s also the top ninth-grader in the state in the triple jump after taking silver behind Poe. She earned four medals, including a bronze in the high jump Friday.
“It’s really surprising because it’s my first track season,” said Cristobal, who studied gymnastics for nine years. “Coaches have made it simple for me and I just go for it.”
While many athletes had ice packs on their legs, none was as big as the one Cristobal was sporting after she re-aggravated a leg injury and had to pull up short in the 200.
“I’ll do whatever it takes to make states,” she said.
In the shot put, Ula Brostek claimed gold (36-01.00) to go along with the discus crown she won last year.
Waiakea’s lone gold came from Derian Calicdan, who was given a pole at the beginning of the season and told to go to work. She reached 9-6 in the pole vault finals.
“It seemed fun at first, but during the middle of the season it was really tough,” she said. “But then it all paid off.”
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