Baldwin goes 1-2 in pole vault

The Maui Interscholastic League’s legacy in state pole vaulting continued in a big way Friday night.

The league has produced more than 15 pole vault champions in history and Friday at the Kamehameha Schools Kapalama track, the Baldwin High School boys went 1-2.

The Bears’ Kainoa Tom and Dusty Flores finished first and second, respectively, in the first final contested at the Island Movers State Track and Field Championships.

Tom estimated he took “eight to 10” jumps, winning in the fourth round of a jumpoff with Flores.

“I’m tired,” Tom said. “It’s cool. I don’t think it has sunk in yet. I’m still kind of stoked about it.”

In a huge boost to Seabury Hall’s girls team title hopes, sophomore Amy Ozee won the girls high jump at 5-foot-2, matching her personal record, in the only other final Friday night.

The Spartans finished second by one point in the team title chase to Punahou last year – no MIL girls team has ever won the state track crown.

“I’m really happy because we all worked so hard,” Ozee said. “We need as many points as we can, especially since last year.”

Spartans coach Bobby Grossman said his team did not have any hiccups during qualifying.

“We had a huge night,” he said.

Ozee added, “I definitely had winning in mind. I knew I was kind of like at the top of the pack going into it, so, yeah, I was feeling confident with it.”

Ozee said she is confident a team title will arrive today.

“With how everyone’s doing – amazing,” she said. “We have worked so hard, we deserve this. I don’t think there’s any team that has trained as hard as all of our team.”

Ozee is now done with competition, but “I’m going to be cheering for them super loud.”

Tom, a junior, cleared 13 feet, 9 inches in the fourth round of a jumpoff to win the title – the jumpoff was required after both Bears cleared 14 feet with the same number of misses.

Flores bowed out of the competition one jump before Tom cleared the final height – Flores hurt his back when he landed on his pole.

“It feels great, but I really wanted to vault against Dusty when he’s healthy,” Tom said. “The pole slapped him at first, so he got hurt and he couldn’t continue.”

Each jumper then failed four times at 14-6 – the final attempt was the beginning of the jumpoff – and then at 14-3 and 14-0.

Flores, a senior and the MIL champion at 14-3 two weeks ago, hurt himself on his last jump at 14-0 before Tom clinched the title with his clearance at 13-9.

Flores said his injury was an unfortunate circumstance.

“I tried to get over and I didn’t push the pole away and I got hit in the back,” he said. “I’m happy to see (Tom) win. I’m a little disappointed, but I’m happy with the performance. It felt good.”

The showings gave two-time defending champion Baldwin 18 points in the team standings. Finals in all other events will be held today.