Relays bring excitement to MIL meet No. 4

Baldwin boys, Seabury Hall and Maui High girls race to victories

Baldwin High School’s Jan Quemado hits the afterburners after receiving a handoff from teammate Keev Kutsunai during the boys 400-meter relay Friday at MIL meet No. 4. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

WAILUKU — No matter if it’s the state championship or a relaxed Maui Interscholastic League meet, the team relay races always draw attention.

During MIL meet No. 4, crowds lined the fence while the Seabury Hall girls and Baldwin boys took first in the 1,600-meter relays Friday night at the Yamamoto Track & Field Facility.

“My team did very good, better than I expected,” Alex Hamamura said after his team finished in 3 minutes, 48.54 seconds. “I like relays a lot because I get to work with my team and at Baldwin, we all love each other.”

The Bears are ranked third in the state with a season’s-best time of 3:32.73, just behind Maui High (3:32.71).

After winning the 1,500 and 800, Seabury senior Chloe Gangnath raced the final leg of the 1,600. The Spartan girls finished with a time of 4:21.60.

Maui High’s Natea Rosete-Tokuhisa hands off to Makena Stevenson on the Sabers’ winning 400 relay team Friday. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

“I’m pretty happy with how we did,” Gangnath said. “We could see how we are progressing and I’m really glad we all got to run together.”

The Bears and Spartans both have their minds set on the state meet, set for May 3-4 on Maui.

“Our goal is to be fast enough to be state champs in the 4-by-4, but we have to race two really good teams, Mililani and Punahou,” Seabury coach Bobby Grossman said. “The 4-by-4 is very exciting. It’s the last event of the night and it has runners from very different events. … It brings a team together.”

In the 400 relays, the Baldwin boys’ A, B and C teams almost swept the field by taking the first, second and fourth spots — Maui High claimed third place. The Bears’ A team finished with a time of 45.80 seconds; Baldwin is currently ranked No. 3 in the state at 44.09.

In the girls 400 relay, Maui High beat out the Bears with a time of 54.09.

Lahainaluna’s Gracie Marchesi (foreground) battles with Seabury Hall’s Ameera Waterford in the girls 300 hurdles. Waterford won and Marchesi took second. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

“I thought it was good,” said Makena Stevenson, who ran the Sabers’ anchor leg. “We just started to practice our handoffs, so I was nervous.”

Friday’s meet served as the last practice meet before the stretch run to the MIL and state championships, giving athletes a chance to either try new events or fine-tune their speed, strength and techniques.

Many top MIL runners and throwers from Maui High, Seabury, Baldwin and Kamehameha Maui did not compete Friday in preparation for today’s Ruby Tuesday Track and Field Invitational — the meet on Oahu will host many of Hawaii’s top state contenders.

“They want us to rest so that we’re top shape tomorrow,” said Baldwin’s Sela Panuve, who is No. 1 in the state in the triple jump with a mark of 36 feet, 3 inches. “I’m excited, so that I can get a feel for (state competition).”

* Dakota Grossman is at dgrossman@mauinews.com

Baldwin’s Ryan Padron clears 12-3 to win the boys pole vault. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

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