Coleman focused on each hurdle

Kapiolani Coleman of Cathedral Catholic High has run the fastest 300-meter hurdles time of any girl in California this year.
(Phil Grooms)

Also a star in volleyball, Cathedral Catholic junior sticks to track this spring


You’d think a member of a championship girls volleyball team would spend all her time in the gym honing her skills.

Not Cathedral Catholic High junior Kapiolani Coleman.

She not only isn’t a gym rat, she’s not even playing club volleyball this spring.

That’s because her No. 1 passion is track and field and her reasons for dropping volleyball — at least temporarily — are sound.

“I ran track and played club volleyball at the same time last year, and by the end of track season, my legs were tired,” said Kapiolani, who ran the 100-meter hurdles, 300 hurdles and long jumped. “I found I was going from track to volleyball or volleyball to track, and that I couldn’t give either 100 percent.

“Even though I won the Masters in the 300 hurdles, I could feel it.”

So, she not only dropped club volleyball, she has long jumped only rarely this season.

Coleman has realized immediate results.

At the Mt. Carmel Invitational last weekend, she roared into the lead in the state in the 300-meter hurdles with a personal record 42.88 seconds and inched ever closer to her 100-meter hurdle goal of sub-14 seconds with another PR of 14.07.

“I was just happy to PR,” said Coleman. “Competition always helps me.”

A year ago at this time, she hadn’t broken 15 seconds in the short hurdles race. That didn’t happen until the Arcadia Invitational, when she won the daytime 100 hurdles in 14.82 seconds. She trimmed that to 14.80 before the San Diego Section Division II finals, where she sped to a 14.47.

Good, but not good enough that day as Scripps Ranch’s Aaliyah McCormick set a section record, clocking a 13.85.

The next week Coleman was second in the Masters meet, running a wind-aided 14.30 to Charlize James’ 14.14. In the 300 hurdles Coleman rolled to the victory in 44.48 seconds, ending her season.

McCormick (13.86), James (14.00) and Coleman (14.07) give the San Diego Section the 1-2-3 best hurdle times in the state this season, and Coleman is laser-focused on breaking 14 seconds.

In the 300 hurdles, she’s looking to dip under 42 seconds.

“I’d love to get 41-something,” said Coleman, who is aware the school records in the two events are sizzling times of 13.86 and the section record 41.30 by Dani Johnson in 2015. “Some people nationally are running 41 now, why not me?”

Mind you, she hasn’t given up on volleyball.

“I love both sports,” said the 5-foot-9 Coleman, who was second on the team with 182 kills, only seven behind the leader Ryleigh Patterson, as all but three players return off that team.

“With volleyball, it’s a team sport and my teammates are great. We all have the same goals, and it’s great being surrounded by people who want the same thing.”

Consider that Coleman started out by playing basketball, volleyball and track before lopping off basketball after her freshman season.

“It took me a couple of years to get in what I wanted to get in and set goals,” said Coleman, who has a 4.1 GPA. “I learned to put school first, to get my schoolwork done before I did anything else. Time management comes naturally now, so I can find time for a social life, too.

“I’m really focused on track, and I won’t let anything distract me.”

Come fall, she’ll do the same thing with volleyball — focus entirely on not only doing as well as last year, but going a couple steps further.

The Dons didn’t lose a playoff game en route to taking the San Diego Section Open Division title with a 3-0 win over La Costa Canyon.

After downing Lakewood and Santa Ana Mater Dei in the Southern California Regionals, Cathedral Catholic ran into a buzzsaw, Los Angeles Marymount, the nation’s No. 1 team, falling 3-1 despite being one of just eight teams to even score on the Sailors.

Marymount swept Archbishop Mitty 3-0 in the state finals to finish 35-0.

“I’m definitely playing volleyball, and I’ll be just as focused as I am now in track,” said Coleman.

Brand is a freelance writer.