Panthers off to strong start in Okinawa meet
Kadena high jumper Jasmine Rhodes clears the bar during Friday's first day of the Okinawa track and field finals at Camp Foster, Okinawa. Rhodes won with a jump of 4 feet, 11 inches.
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa – It’s not just seniors leading the way for Kadena distance runners. Underclassmen are shining as well and Friday’s first day of the Okinawa district track and field finals offered proof.
Sophomore Hunter Ficenec and freshman Wren Renquist each took command on the last lap of their respective races. Ficenec beat reigning two-time Far East cross-country champion Andrew Kilkenny by nearly 10 seconds and Renquest edged teammate Jen Barthol by almost 2½ seconds.
“They’re definitely worthy of the torch,” said two-time Far East cross-country champion Ana Hernandez, who took fourth in the girls race. “I’m proud of them. They’re really stepping up and taking a leadership role in this thing and carrying on the team’s legacy.”
Ficenec was timed in 10 minutes, 20.97 seconds, compared to Kilkenny’s 10:30.62. Kadena freshman Javier Michael was fifth in 11:12.75. Renquist edged Barthol 12:29.15-12:32.48. Kubasaki freshman Zoe Jarvis was next (13:18.06) and Hernandez was next in 13:39.31.
Kadena grabbed most of the wins on Friday, which featured mostly field events. The remaining running finals are slated for Saturday at Chatan Stadium in Mihama, near American Village.
Panthers thrower Jazmyn Sharper was Friday’s lone multiple winner, taking the shot put and discus. Kareem Key of Kubasaki and Kadena’s Michael Clayton won the boys shot and discus, respectively.
Kadena’s Preston Harris and Jasmine Rhodes swept the high jump, while Kubasaki’s Johann Wright and Zion Christian Academy International’s Amora Wood won the long jumps. No district records were set Friday.
Otherwise, Friday’s schedule was a light one in Pacific high school sports, with most teams taking the weekend off in the run-up to the two-week Advanced Placement course testing period.
At Yokota, London Jackson scored four times in Panthers girls soccer’s 6-0 shutout of Zama American. “I don’t know what London had for lunch, but we’re going to feed it to her before every match,” said coach Tim Pujol of Jackson, who has a team-leading 10 goals.