CHATAN, Okinawa – For somebody who’d just broken a district track record, Hunter Ficenec looked anything but happy.
He posted a time of 4 minutes, 37.22 seconds in the 1,600 on Saturday, Day 2 of the Okinawa district track and field finals, .21 seconds better than the old record. But the Kadena sophomore distance specialist felt he let himself down.
“I could have gone faster,” Ficenec said. “I still have my breath and control. On the third lap, I should have picked up the pace.”
Ficenec edged out the 4:37.43 set last year by Kubasaki’s Erik Armes.
It was a day for Kadena distance runners, who set two meet records, and Kubasaki sprinters, the latter who helped the Dragons to repeat their boys, girls and combined team titles in a meet spread over two days to compensate for Scholastic Aptitude Tests on Saturday morning.
Field events and the 3,200 were held at Kubasaki on Friday and the remaining running events on Saturday, under partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the mid-70s.
On the distance side, Ficenec and his girls counterpart, freshman Wren Renquist, each captured individual triple crowns, winning the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 and also helped Kadena to victories in the 3,200 relay, the boys in district-record fashion.
“We knew we could do it; it was all about how to strategize,” said Leslie Williams after Kadena’s 3,200 relay team posted an 8:24.53, 3.4 seconds better than their old record set last year. “I knew we had a good team. That’s all it was this year. Hard work pays off.”
Ficenec also came within striking distance of becoming just the ninth runner in Pacific history to run the 800 in under two minutes. He was timed in 2:00.88. Asked if he thinks he can catch the Pacific’s premier 800 man, Yokota’s Daniel Galvin, he said: “I think I have a chance.”
Renquist and the Kadena girls didn’t set any running records – only three total records fell, compared to 13 last year.
But she feels that the best is yet to come at Far East later this month at Yokota.
“I want to keep pushing my team as far as we can go,” Renquist said.
While distance races belonged to the black-and-gold, sprints and short relays were clearly the province of the green-and-white.
Rahman Farnell and Jarrett Mitchell, as they have most of the season, posted 1-2 finishes in both the 100 and 200, then teamed with Deaven Curtis and DeQuan Alderman to blaze to victory in the 400 relay.
Kaelyn Francis and Kourtney Mitchell duplicated those feats on the girls side, coming in first and second in the 100 and 200, then along with freshmen La’Keriya Jackson and Gabby Provost to win the 400 relay.
The third district record was set Friday in the girls discus, when Kadena’s Jazmyn Sharper uncorked a discus throw of 97 feet, 3 inches.
But the records list shows the metric distance, and the conversion wasn’t available until Saturday.
Sharper’s metric distance was 29.64, topping the old record of 28.74 set seven years ago by Kubasaki’s LaKesa McClain.
Saturday saw razor-thin finishes in two of the boys relays, each involving Okinawa Christian International. Kubasaki edged OCSI in the 1,600 relay 3:38.12-3:38.13 and Zion Christian Academy International edged OCSI for third place in the 400 relay 46.41-46.42.
Athletes from the four schools will likely participate in Saturday’s all-comers meet at Kadena. The Far East meet is next, May 19-20 at Yokota High School’s Bonk Field.
ASIJ pitchers combine for no-hitter against Yokota
TOKYO – Kern Singh and Jack Welling combined to hold Yokota hitless and lead American School In Japan to an 8-0 win over the Panthers in the first game of a Saturday doubleheader at Mustang Valley. The two allowed three walks and struck out eight. ASIJ also won the nightcap 11-2. Ray Hotta had a combined five RBIs in the two games.