LIHUE — Hiilani Bukoski, 9, of Koloa is the last local contestant who will be participating in the Hershey’s Track and Field event in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
“This is the final year Hershey’s is doing the event,” said Lenny Rapozo, the county Department of Parks and Recreation director. “Hiilani is the final participant from Kauai to be able to compete in the national event.”
Bukoski is still in disbelief, displaying a shy smile while her mother and grandmother took care of the paperwork for the trip to Pennsylvania.
“We are very proud to announce that one out of the seven participants selected from Hawaii will be from Kauai,” said Aaron Uyeda, the Hershey Kauai coordinator of the Department of Parks and Recreation. “She will receive an all-expenses paid trip to compete in the National Hershey Track and Field Meet on Aug. 2 in Harrisburg.”
Bukoski earned her trip during the county’s annual Hershey Track and Field Meet on May 10.
Participants’ names and their best scores were forwarded to the Hawaii Hershey Committee to be compared to other islands’ results.
The top overall Hawaii scores were then sent to be compared with results from other states, including California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona to qualify for the Region II team.
“Hawaii as a state will be well-represented with seven participants being on the Region II team,” Uyeda said. “Following the state results, Kauai had seven people in contention, but after being compared with the other states, Hiilani is the only one to make the team.”
Uyeda said the seven Hawaii participants are all girls, five from Oahu, one from Maui, and one from Kauai. Bukoski will be competing in the Girls 9-10 Softball Throw event.
Bukoski was tapped for the Hershey consideration after winning first place ribbons in the 50 meter and 200 meter runs and was named the Top Female Athlete during the annual Mayor’s Track Meet, Uyeda said.
Advancing to the Kauai Hershey event, Bukoski topped the 9-10 girls softball throw event and also pocketed gold in the 50 meter run.
Hershey’s Track and Field Games, North America Final, is the largest program of its kind in North America, providing 9 to 14 year-old boys and girls the opportunity to learn and develop the skills required to participate in basic track and field events.
The program will be held at the Henry Hershey Field on the campus of the Milton Hershey School.