New Options For Punahou Big Man

Bob Hogue
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Wednesday - April 09, 2008
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Abe Markowitz
Abe Markowitz

When Abe Markowitz and some of his Punahou track and field teammates flew back home after a series of spring break meets in California this past week, they found themselves aboard the final Mainland-to-Hawaii flight for Aloha Airlines from Orange County.

“When I was getting off the plane, there was an elderly lady sitting next to me who was crying,” Abe recalls. “Some of the employees were leaning on each other, some were sobbing. It was sad.”

Ironically, that tearful farewell to an historic airline was probably the only sad moment on Abe’s trip.

That’s because in the three track and field meets he participated in - at Huntington Beach, Manhattan Beach and San Clemente - Abe won three gold medals, two silvers and a bronze in the shot put and discus competition.

“We faced the cream of the crop there,” Abe says. “I was just in awe.”

But it was the Punahou senior from Hawaii Kai who awed his California competitors. Abe won a gold medal in the discus and a bronze medal in the shot put at the prestigious Surf City Invitational in Huntington Beach. He earned a gold in the shot put and a silver in the discus at the San Clemente Invitational and a gold in the discus and a silver in the shot put at the Mustang Relays in Manhattan Beach.

Along the way, he set personal bests in both events, improving his best shot put effort by nearly three feet over last year and his best discus throw by nearly 20 feet over a year ago.

Last year as a junior, Abe finished sixth in the HHSAA state championships in the shot put and he failed to place in the discus.

This year as a senior, his marks make him the odds-on favorite to win Hawaii state titles in both disciplines.

“I just have to beat myself. Through hard work and good coaching, I’ve been fortunate,” he says. “I’m trying to do the best I can.”

The best he can has been Abe’s motto not only in track and field, but also on the football field and in the classroom. He’s a B-plus student with a 3.3 grade point average and he’s an all-star offensive lineman from a Punahou team that was ranked No. 2 in the state this past year.

“Having good grades has helped me a lot (in the college recruiting process),” he says. “I was down after the signing date (when he didn’t sign a national letter of intent to play football), but I got surprised that (the recruiting) continued. Doors have opened up, and I’ve got opportunities from several quality schools.”

At 6 feet 3 inches tall and about 280 pounds, Abe has received interest from USC, Michigan State, Miami of Ohio, Portland State and other big-name schools - all after the signing date. His impressive marks in track and field have spurred new interest. Abe says he’s visiting schools and should have a definitive answer by next month.

Ironically, he could keep in the family tradition of going to a big-name university in Los Angeles. Abe’s father, Barry, played football for UCLA, his grandfather played football for USC, and his great-grandfather played basketball at UCLA.

“Perhaps I’ll alternate and go to USC,” Abe says, laughing.

Right now, he has a lot of options. He also recognizes that with all the attention he’s been getting lately, it’s not just all about him.

“You have to stay humble and you have to be grateful,” Abe says. “I acknowledge everyone who has helped me - my parents, my teachers, my coaches, even the people who gave me rides to school every day. I had a neighbor drive me in from Hauula my first few years, and now I get a ride from a teacher and JV coach from Hawaii Kai. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that.”

For Abe Markowitz, aloha doesn’t mean goodbye.

For the Punahou star of track and field, football and the classroom, aloha means hello, world of opportunities!


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