WAILUKU - Pasoni Tasini has been through hundreds of practices for Baldwin High School sports, but his last one was a dress rehearsal.
Tasini wore his official track and field singlet and shorts as he practiced the shot put behind War Memorial Little League Field No. 3 on Wednesday.
"I try to prepare myself for thinking it was a meet day," said Tasini, who leads a stacked team into the Island Movers Boys Track and Field Championship, which begins today at Keaau High School Stadium. "I want to be ready."
Baldwin High School’s Keelan Ewaliko is ranked third in the state in the long jump and 200 meters this season, and fourth in the 200, and has helped the Bears 400 relay team post the year’s third-fastest time.
The Maui News / LEHIA APANA photo
‘It is going pretty good, we are practicing hard, hopefully we are ready.’
– Pasoni Tasini
The Bears are seeking their first state boys track and field crown.
"It hit me when I woke up this morning," said Tasini, who also played football, basketball and volleyball at Baldwin. "I thought about it, like, 'Just come out, have a good practice and get ready for the state (meet).' It is going pretty good, we are practicing hard, hopefully we are ready."
Tasini, a University of Utah football recruit and The Maui News 2011 Maui Interscholastic League Boy Athlete of the Year, has the best discus throw in the state this season - 173 feet, 3 inches, more than four feet better than defending champion Shane Brostek of Hawaii Preparatory Academy.
Brostek, who is headed to Washington for football, is also the defending champion in the shot put and leads the state list this year at 56-0 - 3 feet, 1/2 inch in front of Maui High's Tau Lotulelei, with Tasini another inch back in third.
"I know it is going to be a battle with Brostek and it is all technique, so that is what I'm trying to work on right now," Tasini said.
The Bears are part of what may be the deepest contingent the MIL has ever sent to a state meet.
Baldwin's Tyler Feiteira has the top time in the 300-meter hurdles and is tied for third in the pole vault, six inches better than teammate Deion Kaala-kea, who is is tied for sixth.
James Pearson is ranked second in the 1,500 and third in the 3,000.
Vetekina Malafu is second in the 110 hurdles, and teammate Abraham Reinhardt is fifth.
Keelan Ewaliko, a junior in his first season of track, is third in the 200 and Ryne Yokouchi ninth. Ewaliko is also third in the long jump and fourth in the 100, one spot in front of teammate Ryne Yokouchi, with Aaron Marzan ninth.
Ewaliko, Yokouchi, Marzan and Malafu make up the Bears' third-ranked 400 relay.
Baldwin's Miki Fangatua is ranked fifth in the discus at 156-10 and B.J. Wilhelm-Ioane is 12th. Those two and Tasini are also the first MIL teammates to all be over 50 feet in the shot in the same season. Fangatua is sixth in the state at 51-2 and Wilhelm-Ioane is 10th at 50-0. Izeah-Edward Fernandez-Ruiz is 11th at 49-2.
Mattias Thompson is seventh in the triple jump.
The Baldwin girls also have big-point potential, beginning with Washington State recruit Kristine Felix, who won the 100, 200, long jump and pole vault at the MIL meet two weeks ago. Felix, the two-time defending state champion in the pole vault, is ranked first in the long jump, second in the pole vault to teammate Amber Kozaki, fifth in the 100 and eighth in the 200. Kozaki is fifth in the long jump.
Pele Buika is ranked No. 1 in the triple jump.
Alesha Martin is fourth in the shot put and Analea Martin is ninth.
Alicia Morris-Schmidthan is sixth in the 3,000 and Aubri Belen is eighth.
The Bears' 400 relay is ranked ninth.
Baldwin girls coach Keoni Tengan said the team goal is to grab the runner-up trophy behind 33-time champ Punahou.
"The girls, I gave them the last two days off to catch up on their homework, get ready for the state meet," Tengan said. "We're shooting for second, that was our goal from the beginning of the year."
Tengan, who assisted longtime boys coach Gary Sanches for years, knows the Baldwin boys have realistic state-title dreams this season.
"Like coach Sanches always says, if everybody shows up and does what they need to do, hopefully, the boys will be celebrating their first championship ever," Tengan said.
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org