Spartans poised for final run

For the Seabury Hall girls track and field team, this is it.

The Island Movers State Track and Field Championships are set for Friday and Saturday at Kamehameha Schools Kapalama track and the Spartans are looking to make history with a team title.

Seabury Hall will be led by seniors Dakota Grossman and Alyssa Bettendorf, whom coach Bobby Grossman said may be the best pair of teammates in Hawaii track history.

Last season, Punahou edged Seabury Hall 69-68. In 2011, the Buffanblu beat the Spartans 66.33-64.

Dakota Grossman has won a Maui Interscholastic League-record eight individual state gold medals, including the last three 3,000-meter run titles. She will also run the 1,500, 800 and anchor the 4×400 relay that broke the MIL meet record by more than seven seconds two weeks ago.

No MIL girls team has ever won a state track title.

“Each one of these practices is the last,” Dakota Grossman said Monday. “Like today, it is the last time we will do 400s as a high school athlete. It’s kind of crazy and I’m kind of sad it’s over.

“This is definitely the year to do it if we are going to win. Since last year when we lost by one point, it went by so fast. Now, it’s already time to go out there and do it again.”

Bettendorf will compete in the 100, 200 and 400 and the long jump. She broke MIL meet records in the 100, 200 and long jump and was part of the 1,600 relay.

“We are starting to get into the mental flow and I can already feel the nervousness right now,” Bettendorf said.

Dakota Grossman and Bettendorf are trying to help their seven teammates who will make the state trip as well.

“Dakota and I are definitely trying to encourage them right now through this extremely stressful time,” Bettendorf said. “Since we’ve been through it a couple of times we can kind of give them a little bit of experience.”

Christy Fell will compete in the long jump, triple jump, 1,600 relay and perhaps both hurdle races.

“The week is finally here,” she said. “It doesn’t feel real. It’s pretty intense actually, we have been training for months and months and it’s finally coming down to the final week.”

Bettendorf and Dakota Grossman have stepped up the encouragement this week.

“Definitely it’s an amazing thing to be on a team with both of them,” said Kiana Smith, the fourth member of the relay who will also run the 800. “Dakota has taught me a lot – I have been training with her since 6th grade. I have definitely gotten to grow up with her and it is just the best feeling. And Alyssa – I met her my freshman year – and I just love training with here, she is such a great spirit.”

Other MIL athletes to watch include, Kamehameha Maui thrower Kauanoe Vanderpoel, who won the shot put and discus at the MIL meet; Seabury Hall’s Daniel Pietsch, in just his second season of running, who tied the MIL meet record in the boys 400; and Kihei Charter’s Maya Reynolds, who broke the MIL meet record in the girls 400.

King Kekaulike senior sprinter Jay Braun is having a breakout season after football injuries – a ruptured spleen and torn anterior cruciate ligament – hampered his last two track seasons. The MIL 100 and 200 champion will run for Linfield College next year.

“That’s my personal record, it felt really good,” Braun said after finishing in 10.93 seconds in the 100 at the MIL meet. “Just coming off my ACL surgery last year, so it felt great. I feel 100 percent except for my start, but that is just because I’m a year behind.”

In the meet entry lists, Grossman has the top time in the 1,500 and 3000; Bettendorf has the top long jump mark, 100, and 200; Vanderpoel leads the entry lists in the shot put; Baldwin’s Dusty Flores leads the boys pole vault; Braun is tops in the 100 and 200; and Pietsch is No. 1 in the 400.

* Robert Collias is at