Eleven LHS track and field athletes qualify for state tourney
LAHAINA – Third-year Lahainaluna High School track and field coach Genevieve Ruvald is an energetic, positive-minded mentor that has instilled these attributes into her staff – Ray Yamat, Al Souza, Travis Brandstatter, Bob Dezotell and Cynthia Monteleone – and to the student athletes in her charge. That mental toughness, that Lahaina grit, has elevated the Lunas to new heights – literally and figuratively – up at the Sue D. Cooley Stadium on the historic West Side campus.
At the Maui Interscholastic League Championships two weeks ago at the Satori Yamamoto Track & Field Facility in Wailuku, both the Lahainaluna boys and girls moved up in the team standings and qualified 11 athletes for the state championships slated for this weekend, May 6-7, at Kamehameha Schools Kapalama on Oahu.
At the MIL meet, the Luna boys totaled 46 points to finish in fourth place, while the girls team rang up 25 points for sixth place overall.
Leading the leap for Lahainaluna were pole vaulters Maygan Patch and Anis Bel, who captured MIL gold medals in the event with 9’6″ and 14-foot efforts, respectively; and senior Kamal Goluabe, who won a silver medal in the 110-meter hurdles.
Goluabe was a mere .14-of-a-second behind state champ Laakea Kahooanoano Davis of Baldwin – and cramped up in the final yards of the 300-meter hurdle event – but still took third place. Also qualifying for states in the hurdles was sophomore Liliola Vehikite in the 110- and 300-meter events.
Senior high-jumpers Haylee Patch and Andrew Austin, as well as sophomore Isaiah Tanner, also qualified for the state meet, as well as junior discus competitors Matini Perles-Kai and Mosese Felemi, and sophomore Koa Evalu-Robinson.
Rounding out the Lahainaluna contingent going to the state meet is senior honor student Natasha Currence, who qualified in the 400- and 200-meter runs.
“We are really excited with the young talent and enthusiasm this team has displayed this season,” said Coach Ruvald last week from the Luna practice facility.
“They continue to build tremendous character and continue to grow as a team. We have ten seniors this year and lots of young kids to build for the future.”
Goluabe, the bright-eyed, soft-spoken senior headed for Division I Portland State University to compete for the track team there, returned the compliment in saying, “I would not have been able to make it this far had it not been for the coaches here at Lahainaluna. Most especially my hurdling coach, Ray Yamat, has pushed me and trained me for three years, and I would never have thought about running D-I if it wasn’t for his coaching.”
Currence added, “I will be attending the University of Hawaii-Manoa, and I will be part of the women’s track team there. Coach Ray, Coach Travis, Coach Bob and Coach Cynthia all share their knowledge and experience with us. Especially Coach Cynthia (Monteleone), who ran D-I track in college. She wants the best for everyone and devotes so much time to the athletes. She shares her knowledge about nutrition and eating right to help our performance. She always gives us good tips on how to improve and knows everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. She even does the workouts with us – that’s how dedicated she is. She encouraged me to keep running track in college and helped me pursue my dreams. I love her; she’s like family to me now.”
Coach Ruvald concluded, “I am thankful to the coaching staff and to the entire Lahaina community for their support. From Athletic Director Scott Soldwisch to Trainers Jon Conrad and Helen Hetzel, and on to the Lahainaluna High School Foundation, we send our sincere mahalo.”