Fast Times At Mid-Pac High

Bob Hogue
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Wednesday - March 29, 2006
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Casey Nishimura: putting Mid-Pac on the track map
Casey Nishimura: putting Mid-Pac
on the track map

Each month, Casey Nishimura, the editor of Mid-Pacific Institute’s student newspaper
Na Pueo (The Owl), races around to ensure the publication meets its deadline.

“I like stress and fast pace of journalism,” he says.

Casey also likes to set a fast pace on the track, where he is Mid-Pac’s top long-distance runner. An all-ILH cross country star, Casey finished seventh in the state track and field meet last year in the 1,500 meters. As a senior this season, Casey is proving to be one of the leading runners in the ILH and the state in both the 1,500 and 800 meters.

“Each week, I’ve made PRs (personal records) in both the 1,500 and 800,” he says. “I qualified for states in the first meet (of the season). I never thought it could happen so quickly.”

Casey credits Mid-Pac coach Siul Michel and a new training program for his success. He also says his strength has improved through his participation in paddling, a sport that is sandwiched in between cross country and track.

“I’ve gotten a lot stronger and I’m staying injury-free,” he says.

That’s a far cry from last year when Casey began the track and field season with a series of foot injuries.

“Last year I was in a soft cast for about a week and a half. I couldn’t walk, my foot was so irritated,” he says. “It was really difficult and I was discouraged; I hit a plateau. My coach helped me get over it, stressing that I had the whole season to qualify for states. My goal became just to qualify. I made it at the very end. Considering that I was really struggling, it was a great sense of accomplishment.”

That same sense of determination helped Casey reach beyond his goal and make it all the way to the state finals.

“A lot of people didn’t expect me to make it,” he remembers. “Our school doesn’t get recognized a lot, so people were coming up to me at the finals and saying ‘Mid-Pac, what’s that?’ To be there representing our school in the final, it really helped school pride.”

This 2006 track and field season the name Mid-Pac is consistently among the front-runners, along with the usual names from bigger private schools, such as Punahou, Iolani and Kamehameha.

“It’s good to have someone up there who’s not from those schools,” he says. “I feel good about being up there competing with them every week. My goal this year is to medal at states. I agree with the saying ‘If you can’t go big, go home.’”

Casey has made the concept of going big - or striving for and achieving excellence might be another way to say it - his primary goal in all aspects of his student life, including his role as Mid-Pac’s student newspaper editor.

“When I first (enrolled), the paper barely came out,” he remembers. “The principal actually gave an ultimatum that we needed to set certain quality standards. What I did was to make it a student-run newspaper, not adviser-run. (With the help of a student staff of 15), we’ve gotten the paper out faster and better than ever. Even the Board of Trustees has complimented us on what a good job we’re doing.”

In his role as editor, Casey writes a monthly column. “I cover everything from school spirit to sports to coping with change and stress - all the areas that matter to the students.”

And they really matter to a young man who believes that a commitment to excellence is the key to achieving academic and athletic success in high school. His hope is to continue running and working in journalism in college, either at Seattle University in Washington or Pacific University in Oregon.

In the meantime, Casey continues to race on, from deadline to finish line, always striving to be the best.

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