KEAAU – As sentimental as he was tired, Kealakehe High’s Caden Young sat for a moment on the infield at Paiea Stadium after running the final leg of his final high school race.
When told his split time as the anchor of the Waveriders’ 4×400-meter relay, Young seemed unmoved
“Hey, in this weird year, 53 (seconds) is good,” assistant coach Patrick Bradley said.
During a condensed campaign, the lofty standards displayed by Young and Hawaii Prep senior Wendy Hare were two common weekly features of a BIIF track and field season otherwise filled with abnormalities. Young as the peak performer coming into his own, and Hare as the gracious and unassuming “guest” who just happens to own every event she enters.
Under normal circumstances, they’d be primed to take on the rest of the state. As it was, Saturday’s meet at Kamehameha provided a fitting finale. The format was different than the previous three meets, where heats consisted primarily of runners from the same schools.
“I miss (the competition) a lot,” said Hare, a boarder at HPA who came last school year from her native Oregon. “I’ve always loved track because of the sense of community, just running right next to people from other schools, it feels like were all in this together and I miss that.
“This meet was the first meet that we did that. That was awesome and super refreshing.”
The same could be said of her results.
Hare went 6 for 6, sweeping both hurdling events and both jumps and running in two relay wins. Of the 14 individual events she entered this season, she won 13 and took second in another.
“I didn’t get a (personal best) this year in any of my running events, there just wasn’t a long enough season,” she said. “But I was up there and within a second of all of them. It’s still really good.”
Between the two dashes, and the long jump and high jump, Young finished a perfect 15 for 15.
His only semi-setback: lack of competition.
Athletes from Waiakea High and Hilo High didn’t compete this season, and for the second year in a row, no BIIF championships nor HHSAA finals will be held.
“It’s a huge lost opportunity,” Young said. “Always love more competition, always welcome it. It only betters yourself.
“If we would have had last season and this season, it would have been way more fun.”
According to the database at athletic.net, which tracks competitors from every Hawaii high school league, the high marks posted by Hare and Young this season would have earned them high seeds entering a state meet.
Hare is ranked first in Hawaii in the 100 hurdles (15.95 seconds) and 300 hurdles (47.57), second in the triple jump (34 feet, 4.5 inches) and third in the long jump (16-3). The 4×100 relay team she’s on is third (51.55) and the 4:19.16 produced in the 4×400 on Saturday is fourth.
“This year I wasn’t really going for times, I was just trying to have fun,” Hare said. “I’m just so grateful that we got to have a season. Coach Ka’ia (Spencer) got together fantastic coaches to get us up and running. All the rules and regulations were new, and for someone who has done track for as long as I have it was definitely a change.”
Young ranks first in the state the long jump (20.8.5), second in the 200 meters (22.80) and high jump (5-10) and third in the 100 (11.27). His 4×100 relay team is fourth (45.74).
It’s clear he didn’t slouch on his training the past year.
“Anything I could do, putting the truck in neutral, pushing it up the hill,” he said.
Young also might have had a chance to become a force for Kealakehe’s football team. After bouncing between multiple positions his first two seasons, he felt he was finally finding a home at defensive back before the pandemic canceled his “show-out senior year.”
He plans to attend Central Washington, walk on to the football and track and field teams, and he’s considering studying business administration or psychology.
Hare’s next stop is UC Santa Cruz, where she’ll compete in track and field for the Division III program and is mulling majoring in environmental engineering.
She hopes the seaside town south of San Francisco measures up to her current stop.
“I think that this land is beautiful and I’m so happy that I could be here as long as I have,” she said.
Best of the rest
Other BIIF athletes ranking in the top five in the state are:
• HPA’s Caroline Betlach, second, 800 (2:22.53)
• HPA’s Caroline Betlach, fifth, 1,500 (5:12.30)
• HPA’s Katherine Hedrick, third, 100 hurdles (16.62)
• HPA’s Katherine Hedrick, third, 300 hurdles (47.93)
• HPA’s Jordan Perry, fourth, 400 (1:02.54)
• HPA’s Kahena Samura, fifth, long jump (15-3.25)
• Kealakehe’s Pua Louis, fifth, discus (91-6)
• HPA’s Mason Hunt, fourth, 400, (52.73)
• Konawaena’s Torrance Satta-Ellis, fourth, triple jump (38-8)
• HPA’s Tain Lawson, fifth, 400 (52.84)
• Kamehameha’s Kahiau Poe, long jump, fifth (19-9.25)
• HPA’s boys 4×100 relay team, third (45.14)
• Konawaena’s boys 4×100 relay, fifth (45.95)
Betlach is a freshman to watch, and she figures to find stiff competition running against Kealakehe sophomore Cozette Wood during the BIIF cross-country season, if not in the 800.
Wood’s best track event is the 3,000. She ran a 11:20.26 in a solo run Saturday, but Bradley expects her to break 11 minutes in due time.
“She’s highly coachable, never missed training, has a great attitude and is very competitive,” Bradley said.