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Punahou’s John-Keawe Sagapolutele followed his friends to track and field this year and wound up competing in the shot put, while Kapolei’s Jordan McQueen made a late switch from the sprints to the long jump.
Neither athlete let limited training prevent them from winning gold at the Island Movers/HHSAA Track and Field Championships on Friday at Kamehameha.
Sagapolutele won the shot put with a throw of 51 feet, 11.5 inches and McQueen claimed the long jump with a mark of 21-8.5 on the first day of the meet.
“I never did track before. A lot my friends were doing it, so I just wanted to see what it was all about. I’m happy I did,” said Sagapolutele, a junior who also is the quarterback on the Buffanblu football team.
McQueen, a senior, was training for the 100 and 200 earlier this year.
“I’m not going to lie, the transition was sudden, but I think it was a great call to switch over from sprinting to jumping,” McQueen said.
Sagapolutele and McQueen are both gifted athletes. Sagapolutele completed 83 of 155 passes for 935 yards with seven touchdowns for Punahou.
At 6 feet 2 and 208 pounds, Sagapolutele might be one of the smallest state shot put champions in history.
McQueen, who is 6-3 and 170 pounds, was a receiver in football and also competes in basketball and gymnastics.
Kalani senior Taina Tanuvasa won the first gold medal of the meet with a distance of 127 feet, 2 inches in the girls discus. Tanuvasa won by 7 feet over King Kekaulike’s Heather Passe, but her victory came down to an inch as her discus hit the foul line.
“I was nervous because when I threw it, I could feel it going more to the right sector and the wind hit it and it went right on top (of the line). I was happy about that,” said Tanuvasa, who finished seventh in the event as a freshman.
‘Iolani’s Alexis King won the girls high jump with a height of 5 feet, 4 inches. She missed on three attempts at 5-5.75, which would have broken the record of 5-5.5 set by Kahuku’s Natasha Kai in 1999.
“I was just so happy and blessed to win this, and the record I was so nervous to try it, but I really wanted to try it and set a PR,” said King, a junior. “I’m grateful I got to attempt it.”
Mililani’s Stephen Chezik won the boys pole vault with a height of 14 feet.
“Coach has been prepping me for this. We’ve been doing that same height in practice, so I was somewhat confident,” said Chezik, a senior.
The final gold medal of the day went to Mililani’s Elle Rimando, who had a mark of 38 feet in the triple jump.
“After having COVID cancel two seasons, I wanted to perform extra well this season because it’s my last one,” she said. “I was working for a PR, so I finally PR’d it at 38, so it was a great way to end my senior year.”
Points are awarded on a 10-8-6-4-2-1 basis.
Punahou leads the boys team standings with 20 points, Kamehameha is second with 15, and Kapolei and Mililani are tied for third with 10.
Mililani leads the girls with 16 points, ‘Iolani is second with 13 and Kalani third with 10.
The remaining 26 finals will be held today.