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Luna track team benefits from new practice facility

By Staff | May 5, 2011

The Lunas are training for the Hawaii High School Athletic Association Championships on May 6-7 at the Yamamoto Track and Field Stadium. Photo by Art Fillazar.

LAHAINA — Lance Nanod is a man who has deep roots in the cross country and track and field programs at Lahainaluna High School, as well as many years of experience gained as a physical education teacher there.

After mentoring the Luna runners, jumpers and throwers for nearly 20 years — from 1986 to 2005 — Nanod took a two-year break from the track and field team for work issues in securing a home for his family.

Coach Lance landed a job as a health and resource teacher in the Maui District Office and came back to coach at Lahainaluna in 2008.

“I gave up coaching for a while to work and buy a house, and I still have my second job at the Hyatt in their Recreation Department,” he explained last week, on the fringe of the bright new Athletic Field and all-weather, four-lane track on the school campus.

“I live and work in Wailuku now, so there is a lot of driving to do — especially on meet days, when I come over and drive the bus with the student athletes, drive them back and then drive home to Wailuku. Sometimes two days in a row like this. But it’s all worth it because I like what I do, and I hope the kids enjoy it, too,” he said.

“Track is a sport in which you have to be committed and self-driven,” he explained. “So our main focus is to create success within the team concept with the proper attitude.”

To this end, Coach Lance has set up and documented guidelines for success that include specific attention to team philosophy, academics, punctual training, specific focus, physical training, character, sportsmanship, communication, safety issues and etiquette.

Along with the luxury of having a real practice facility — as opposed to driving to Wailuku several times a week to train at the Yamamoto Track at War Memorial Stadium in years past — and Nanod’s experienced mentoring, the Lunas have surged to a measured success this year in moving toward the Hawaii High School Athletic Association (HHSAA) Championships on May 6-7 here on Maui at the Yamamoto Track and Field Stadium.

Coach Lance reported that the Lady Lunas have been a force in 2011, placing second — just two points behind the leader and ahead of Baldwin for the first time in recent memory — in the Maui Interscholastic League Junior Varsity Championships three weeks ago, and third in the Victorino ‘Ohana Invitational the previous week.

Leading the charge for the Lahainaluna girls are senior team captains Rose Bacolini and Chantal Charkas, along with classmates Veronica Coston, Koral Gill, Kawehi Kina, Shelby Liburd and Leila Rodrigues. The junior class is represented on the team by Kiana Yamat, Tihani Cadiam-Moore and Jissell Walters, while sophomores include Leanne Alibin and Hailey Robb. Freshmen on the roster are Stephanie Lawless, Sydney McKinney, Kailey Sager, Kelsey Shultz and Breea Yamat.

The boys team is short on depth but has shown flashes of brilliance not seen from the West Side in years. The senior leaders of the team are Kai Aniban, Ray Brito, Llumel Magana and Bryson Pescado. They are joined by junior Jeremy DeGracia, sophomores Dillon Magalianes and Joshua Coston, and freshmen newcomers Jordan Asia-Juan, Jarred Fernandez, Matthew Kanohokula, Jacob Naganuma, Michael Radcliffe, Kento Pentur, Justin Tinao and Kea Uehara.

Nanod reported that Liburd, Charkas, Bacolini, Kina, Robb and Kiana Yamat have qualified for the state meet for the girls, while Aniban is close to qualifying in four events.

“We are so grateful to all who lent a hand in getting this new track and field facility in place for us. We no longer have to travel to Wailuku to practice certain events, and now we have jump pits and a track that allows us to get accurate splits and specific training. It is just wonderful,” said Coach Lance.

“Hopefully, we can have a dual meet here someday, but for that we’ll need more hurdles, and we would be limited in space for the field events. We do need a throwing area for the shot put and discus. But, all in all, we are really happy with this facility. Thank you!”