Grossman claims seventh gold; Seabury finishes second by one point
MILILANI, Oahu – Physically and emotionally spent, members of the Seabury Hall girls track and field team looked at one another through teary eyes.
The Spartans had just accepted the runner-up trophy at the Island Movers State Championships on Saturday, edged by one point for the title.
Punahou won the girls 1,600-meter relay – the meet’s final event – and in the process finished with 69 points in the team standings at John Kauinana Stadium on the Mililani campus.
“It’s slightly bittersweet,” said junior Alyssa Bettendorf, one of five Spartans to compete on Saturday. “We wanted that first place but I think what we got – we’re a young team and coming into next year, we’ll be even better.”
Dakota Grossman won the 3,000, giving the junior seven state gold medals -that ties the Maui Interscholastic League record set by Tia Ferguson at Seabury in the 1990s.
Maui High’s Christina Lotulelei (discus) and Baldwin’s Amber Kozaki (pole vault) also won state titles.
Grossman was also the runner-up in the 1,500, finished third in the 800 and ran in the 1,600 relay.
“It’s definitely exciting and emotional,” she said. “We all came out here, we have new girls, we have lots of goals we wanted to accomplish. I think we did awesome today and we’re all coming back.”
The Spartans have no seniors on this year’s roster.
Bettendorf finished second in the 400, and third in the 100, 200 and long jump.
Christy Fell and Ally Smith each competed in three events, and freshman Amy Ozee cleared a season-best 5 feet to tie for second in the high jump.
“I’m very proud of this team,” said Seabury coach Bobby Grossman. “It’s more devastating this way, we’re close to each other, we work together, we put a lot of effort into this season. We weren’t going for second, so they had to sacrifice a lot of individual accomplishments to help this team out.”
Seabury was also the team runner-up at the 2011 meet on Maui.
Punahou has won five straight state titles and nine of the last 10. Hilo (1993) and Hawaii Prep (1995) are the only Neighbor Island teams to win a girls team title.
“We need more people,” coach Grossman said. “It’s hard to come in here with five today and try to compete.”
Punahou runners finished second, third, and fourth in the 3,000 run to score 18 points. Grossman surged ahead in the final 50 meters to win the race in 10 minutes, 36.77 seconds.
Trailing 64-59 going into the 1,600 relay the Buffanblu won the race in 4:10.13. Bettendorf closed the gap on her anchor leg to help the Spartans finish fourth in 4:05.76.
“I was doing the math right before my leg,” said Punahou’s Elli Brady, who ran on the 1,600 team. “It was very lucky but it was also the work we put in during the season. We didn’t know who was going to run our 4 by 400 until yesterday. Everyone they put, they had confidence we were going to pull through for the team.”
Lotulelei won the discus with a throw of 139-2 and was second in the shot put with a mark of 40-11 1/2. Kamehameha Kapalama’s Kekahiliokalani Novikoff won with a throw of 42-10 1/2.
“My coach, he taught me a lot of new techniques this year,” said Lotulelei, who finished seventh in the discus last year. “That’s how I got through this year. He pushes me. Last year I only did a half spin (in the discus). This year I did a full spin and that’s how I got it through.”
Lotulelei led all discus competitors with a throw of 137-9 after Friday’s trials. She posted her winning mark in the first of her attempts Saturday. Waipahu’s Sabrina Hollins was second at 127-10.
“It feels very awesome,” Lotulelei said. “Last year was my first year but I always wanted to finish first.”
Kozaki won the pole vault title on Friday, setting a meet record by clearing 13 feet. She broke the record of 12-6 held by former teammate Kristine Felix that was set in 2011.