For gold or for Hershey

Dozens of teens and preteens showed up to the Vidinha Stadium yesterday for a chance to go to the Hershey Penn races in Pennsylvania.

They competed in events such as the 100 Meter Dash, 200 Meter Dash, 400 Meter Run, the Softball Throw and the Standing Long Jump.

“Don’t cross the blue line there,” said official Pat Viernes, who works in the county’s Parks and Recreation Department.

Viernes was measuring a participant’s standing long jump.

“OK, 5’4”,” he said to the boy.

Viernes, along with the county and Dave Walker, have been working the Kaua‘i Hershey Track and Field Meet, on and off again, for several years.

“What I like most about the Hershey is working with the kids,” Viernes said recalling some his previous athletes. “Kathleen Cadiente went and she came back with the gold.”

Kawehi Louis Diamond has competed in the local Hershey meet twice. Yesterday, she did the standing long jump, 100 and 200 Meter dashes.

“I feel more connected to this track because I run on this track,” said the 12-year-old. “It’s different when I go over to Honolulu.”

Track and field sort of runs in the family for Louis-Diamond. Her mother is Marlo Louis who held the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation record for the long jump for 22 years, and still has the record for the triple jump and is a part of the record-holding 400 Meter Relay team.

To that, Louis-Diamond blushed as she sat down to talk about the meet.

The day was breezy and the sun came in and out. But overall, the young athletes appeared to have fun with the friendly competition.

Some were even wearing Hershey Track and Field Meet T-Shirts.

The athletes were limited to two track and one field event, or two field and one track event, including the relays.

Ribbons were awarded to the winners of each age group. The results of the day will be sent to Honolulu where they will be evaluated.

A team of Hawai‘i’s athletes will then be selected to compete in the Hershey Penn races.

Full results, however, were not available by press time.

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