LIHUE — Kauai High School senior Taegan Keep was the sole Kauai Interscholastic Federation athlete to gain an automatic state-qualifying standard when the KIF qualifying track and field meet unfolded Thursday at Vidinha Stadium.
In addition to Keep’s qualifying for the 2017 Island Movers Hawaii High School Athletic Association Track and Field Championships, KIF girls posted nine state consideration events and the KIF boys posted another three state consideration events.
The Red Raider senior set the stage early, triggering long flights of the discus during the warm ups of the seven-girl field, watched by a sparse group of supporters including her dad Dale Keep. Her final toss soared 124 feet, 8.5 inches, surpassing the HHSAA Track and Field Standards for 2016 mark of 111-06 (for girls).
Kauai Coach Richard Matsumoto, who relinquished the head coach responsibilities to former Red Raider track and field standout Jamilee Jimenez, said Keep’s discus performance was one of the “notable” events of the first qualifying track and field meet.
“Taegan’s performance surpasses the current KIF championship meet record of 124-02 set by Trisha Naumu of Kauai High School set in 1998,” Matsumoto said.
To be eligible for the record books, Keep needs to repeat this performance when the KIF hosts its championship meet for April 20 and 28 at Vidinha Stadium.
Keep’s top performance in girls discus was followed by fellow Red Raider Alana Bailey who flew the disc to a distance of 93-09.5, falling short of the state consideration standard of 95-05.
Taegan’s father Dale was thrilled with his daughter’s performance on the field.
“She’s in the 100-feet neighborhood,” Dale said. “Last year, she qualified for states with a throw of 105 feet. Coming off the KIF girls basketball season where Kauai High School won the KIF championships, Taegan was selected by Mufi Hannemann to play on his traveling team, two weeks ago after the team she played for on Oahu won. But she chose to focus on school and track because she likes track better than basketball or volleyball.”
On the boys’ consideration standards, Kauai High School boys’ B team earned a 46.75 run in the boys 4×100-meter relay event, surging past the Red Raiders’ A team (47.01) and the Island School A team (47.35).
Kauai’s Mark Tabalbag earned a consideration mark at 5 feet, 8 inches in the boys high jump, edging Waimea’s William Kamaka-Riley by 2 inches, and Island School’s Kilikai Ahuna recovered from his season-ending injury in 2016 to get a consideration standard in the boys triple jump with a 39-04 leap, getting past Kauai’s Junah Corpuz after Corpuz settled for 38-11.
Earlier in the evening, Ahuna settled for a tie with Kapaa’s Kaiona Nakamura-Makana at 18-01 in the boys long jump. The jump was Ahuna’s first of three attempts. On his second effort, Ahuna flew to a 20-03 but fouled on the effort. That ended his jumps in the event after spectators noted that he became injured last year after jumping too much.
The Voyager also flew to a 17.20 first finish in the 110-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles (44.51), but fell short of consideration times.
On the girls’ arena, Kapaa’s Heather Faretta missed the state automatic-qualifying standard in the girls high jump by a scant 2 inches, creeping up to the KIF record in the event held by Kauai coach Jimenez at 5-02.25. Faretta ended topping the event on her leap of 5-0, edging out Island School’s Anne Cushnie (4-08) and fellow Warriors Jaliyah Casem (4-06) and Gracie Stokes (4-06).
Kapaa’s Brianna Binder carried over her exciting style from the soccer fields to the Vidinha track where she answered a strong challenge by Kauai’s Bronwyn Kay at the final hurdle in the second heat of the girls 100-meter hurdles event, surging to a 17.93 finish ahead of Kay (18:04) who ended tying with Waimea’s Monique Joy Lorenzo (18:04), who dominated the first heat of the event. All three athletes earned consideration times.
The anchor leg of the girls 4×100-meter relay settled the strong competition in that event as Island School’s anchor runner Wai Edwards edged out the Kauai runner on the track for a 53.59 finish, a .37-second edge over Kauai (53.96). Both teams earned consideration times.
Other notable events included Kauai’s Britney Ehia getting a consideration in the girls 200 dash (27.34), Kapaa’s Taelyn Nunes getting a consideration run (51.66) in the girls 300-meter hurdles, and the Kapaa girls 4×400-meter relay team securing a consideration run (4:34.86) with its first finish.
The second KIF qualifying track and field meet will unfold starting at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Vidinha Stadium.
There is no admission charge to view the qualifying meets. Admission will be charged during the KIF championship finals on April 28.