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Trojan of the month: Fukumoto strives for success

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By Natalie Koch
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With a decade’s worth of running behind her and a state soccer championship title to boost, Senior Gabrielle Fukumoto strived for excellence in her last moments here at MHS.

“You’re just trying to make the best out of it, have the most fun, make the best memories. And then coming straight off of (the) soccer season where we won the championships, it’s just like looking for that one more (state title) in the event I’ve been doing since I was eight years old,” said Fukumoto.

Growing up, Fukumoto always aspired to be like her brother, which has motivated her to achieve in her track and field high school career. “When I was little I wanted to be just like my brother, (because) he was doing like school track and stuff,” Fukumoto said. “I competed in long jump for (Oahu Interscholastic Association (OIA)) championships this past year, and I placed sixth with a jump of 59 (inches) which got me into considerations for states.”

Other than being a part of MHS’ track and field team, Fukumoto also played on this year’s soccer team, boosting her athletic skills. “I do soccer year-round so I’m constantly running for that so that just helps. And over summer, I have spring and summer (training) so they’re back-to-back, so half the year I actually do my events and stuff. But other than that I’m just doing regular running with soccer,” explained Fukumoto.

Over the years, Fukumoto has grown from being not just a team player, but a role model for her teammates. “I think she’s changed as a person because she used to be kind of quiet as a freshman and now she’s more outgoing and I think she’s just a really good role model for the track team or for any sport,” said high jumper Senior Tiari Iha. “She needed to find what she was good at,” added track and field Head Coach Nathan Aragaki.

Fukumoto carries a positive, energetic spirit that inspires her teammates both on and off the track. “(Fukumoto is) friendly to others, (but) focused on her events,” said Aragaki. Iha added, “She’s very enthusiastic and she’s very excited about always going to practice and she’s always motivating me and the whole team to do well and to try their best.”

Over the past four years, Fukumoto has immersed herself in track and field and has been able to get out just as much as she has put in. “Most of my friends are athletes so that’s where I meet them and your personalities kind of just go together because you have that same competitive spirit, you have the same kind of dilemmas and struggles that each other has,” said Fukumoto.

With the track and field season at a close, the team feels they’ve built a sense of camaraderie throughout the season. “We’re like one big family, especially when we come down to the last few meets like OIAs and states. There’s only a select few people that make it to states and stuff like that, so as a smaller group, we bond more,” said Fukumoto. “It’s like that last home stretch where it’s like, ‘It’s the end of the year, we got to come out with a bang, we just got to keep getting better and bettering ourselves.’”

Fukumoto, along with a few other select track and field athletes, trained as rigorously as ever as they prepared for the state championship that was held on May 15 and 16.

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Trojan of the month: Fukumoto strives for success