WAILUKU - With the rain pelting down on him at Yamamoto Track & Field Facility, Seabury Hall coach Bobby Grossman pondered the question Saturday night.
Can his girls team win a state title?
The Spartans certainly have ability, and they displayed it at the Yamamoto Invitational - the meet, like the arena, is named for Satoki Yamamoto, the legendary Valley Isle track official. The Spartans held a seven-point lead with four events to go before pulling away to beat second-place Baldwin 139.5-95.5.
Seabury Hall’s Christy Fell competes in the 300-meter hurdles on the way to winning in 49.22 seconds during Saturday’s Yamamoto Invitational at Yamamoto Track & Field Facility.
The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo
Jake Jacobs of King Kekaulike leads the field in the 400 meters — he finished first with a time of 51.23 seconds
The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo
"We have to win races because we are not getting the extra points and we are small this year," Grossman said. "Really we are looking at states and trying to be strong when we get to states - at this time it looks pretty good."
Seabury junior Alyssa Bettendorf was named the outstanding female of the meet after winning the 100, 200 and 400 meters, and finishing second in the long jump.
Bettendorf is emerging as a force in anything one lap and below. She won the 100 in 12.55 seconds, the 200 in 25.79 and the 400 in 60.28.
"It is a little different because this is my first meet where we have had two days and I have done all of these running events," she said. "It was a new thing, but it was awesome."
Six-time state champion Da-kota Grossman won the 3,000 in 12:52.28 and the 1,500 in 4:48.16, and finished third in the 800. Christy Fell won the 100 hurdles (16.14), 300 hurdles (49.22) and triple jump (33 feet, 3 3/4 inches), and the Spartans capped their performance with a six-second win in the 1,600 relay (4:26.67).
The reigning state-champion Baldwin boys swamped the field with 191 points, 107 more than King Kekaulike.
Bettendorf said the Spartans do have a state title in mind - they finished 2 1/3 points behind Punahou in 2011.
"It's a goal, but we will see how it happens," she said. "We will see how everybody does and this is just the beginning."
Baldwin's Amber Kozaki won the pole vault (12-1) and long jump (17-6 3/4).
The Baldwin boys look as tough or better than last year, when they won their first boys team state track title by 21 points, with Na Alii second.
The Bears' Keelan Ewaliko broke the Yamamoto meet record in the 100 twice, lowering it to 10.88 seconds in the finals after his 10.97 preliminary time erased his own 11.03 from last year. Ewaliko lowered the 200 mark to 21.89, 0.14 seconds faster than Sea-bury Hall's Jay Braun ran it last year. Ewaliko also anchored Baldwin's 400 relay to victory in 43.64.
"It is just a privilege, an honor to run in this meet," Ewaliko said. "I wasn't really looking to break any records - I just went out there to run with determination, just motivated to win, go out there and run as hard as I can. The whole team has been picking up, working hard, getting speed, conditioning. Who knows where the limit is?"
Baldwin's Miki Fangatua won the shot put (49-8) and discus (153-9), and James Pearson took first place in the 1,500 (4:24.29) and 3,000 (10:07.43). Jansen Agapay of King Kekaulike won the long jump (21-81/4) and triple jump (42-33/4).
The Bears' Tyler Feiteira was named the meet's outstanding boy with a win in the 300 hurdles (40.85) and second-place finishes in the pole vault (13-9) and long jump (21-6 3/4), after a rough start to his night in the other hurdle race.
"I fell in my 110s, so I came out for blood, pretty much," Feiteira said. "I want to make my team proud and my family proud. I am really blessed by God. I hurt my wrist in the 110s, so I had trouble holding my pole in the vault - I'm happy with that mark."
Feiteira said the Bears could win a second straight state title, something a Neighbor Island team has never done.
"I feel a responsibility to score as many points as I can, not only for me, but for my team," Feiteira said. "I want to bring home the state championship, especially my senior year. To win it again would be even way better."
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com