VIDEO: 6 Kamehameha Maui Athletes Sign Letters of Intent
[flashvideo file=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxXKRd2B8-o /] By Wendy Osher
Six athletes at the Kamehameha Schools Maui campus participated in a signing ceremony on Wednesday morning as they made their college commitments final.
Three players from the girls volleyball team signed letters of intent, as well as three of the school’s football players.
The girls volleyball athletes and the schools that they plan to attend include the following:
- Sienna Davis, UH Hilo, volleyball: Davis said Kamehameha prepared her with the skills she needs to do well at the collegiate level. According to Davis, the coach at UH Hilo expressed interest after attended several practices over the years. “He never gave up on me,” she said. The decision making of staying at home in Hawai’i or going abroad was something that was considered, but in the end Hawai’i won. “It was really came down to pros and cons, and financial aid is what kept me home because I had more of a scholarship than if I were to go away,” said Davis.
- Anuhea Kaiaokamalie, Chico State, volleyball: School administrators at Kamehameha said Kaiaokamalie will be part of the honors program at Chico State. Here on Maui she earned Second Team Honors in the 2012 MIL All-Star rankings released by the Maui News. She was among the team’s outside hitters.
- Bobbi Lin Kalama, Siena College, volleyball: Kalama, daughter of Pauline and Kappy Kalama, was offered a full-ride scholarship to Siena College in upstate New York where she was recruited as a setter. “It was the best offer,” said Kalama who visited the campus in November. “I think it will be tough to lose a lot of our starting players, but knowing the coaching and the girls on the team, they can push and be a good team next year,” said Kalama.
Kamehameha Maui Girls Volleyball Coach Bala Spencer commended three seniors who will be ending their high school participation in the program as they move on to college.
“These athletes certainly listened to what we had to talk about from day one, from when they were freshmen. These particular girls–we’re going to miss them sorely in our program. They’re not only leaders on the court, they are leaders on the campus as well,” said Spencer.
Spencer said he’s excited for them to be taking the next step. “They proved to everybody here on Maui that you don’t have to be 6′-5″ or 6′-4″ to play in the game of volleyball,” he said.
“I know there’s a couple hundred girls younger than them in the middle school and elementary that are looking at them right now and excited for them; and understanding that there’s an opportunity for them (as well),” said Spencer of the next generation athletes coming up through the school’s program.
“Go get ’em. Can’t wait to watch you guys on TV and see how you progress,” said Spencer during a press conference at the school’s Pauahilani building.
The football athletes that participated in the ceremony and the schools that they plan to attend include the following:
- Bryson Arakaki, Illinois College or Dixie College, football: As of Wednesday morning, Arakaki had yet to make a decision between Illinois or Dixie because of a bidding-war between the two. His number one pick, school officials said, is Illinois College, however, he was waiting to see if they could match or meet Dixie College’s offer. School officials said they hope to find out by the end of the day.
- Dylan Nakoa, Notre Dame College, football: Nakoa signed his national letter of intent with Notre Dame College during the February signing for football players, but was on hand for the ceremonial event today. School administrators said he would be “making a great impact,” in his new role at the college level. According to Nakoa, Notre Dame College pursued him since October when he was still in season. “I talked to the coach for all these months and we finally got a deal settled down in mid-January. It was the best offer that we had.” Other schools that Nakoa was considering included Menlo College and Valparaiso University. Nakoa said Kamehameha Maui was a great environment to come from. “I gotta say it was a real close-knit group and I did a lot of the work on my own, but the school prepared me very well.” Right now, Nakoa said, he is being considered for center or guard at Notre Dame College’s program, “because I am a shorter offensive lineman.”
- Acer Pahukoa, Carleton College, football: Pahukuoa has decided to attend Carleton College after being pursued by other teams that included Macalester College. “I felt connected to the players at Carleton. They flew me up there and felt right at home with them,” said Pahukoa who was recruited for the offensive line, likely as a guard. “I’ll be fighting for my job, competing against someone for the same job,” he said. As for the mainland move, Pahukoa said he’s ready. “It’s cliche, but I wanted to get off this rock and go as far away as possible and experience the big city,” he said of his planned move to Minnesota.
Football Coach Kevin O’Brien credited all three football athletes with being open to working hard in class, committing to the weight room, and doing what was needed to be receptive to the message from coaches and the school.
“Guys just don’t end up here. This just doesn’t happen. There’s a commitment that starts way before senior year,” said O’Brien.
“The real fact of the matter is that all three of these guys came in with a great foundation to begin with–and that’s a tribute to their parents and their families,” said O’Brien.
“They have great character to begin with, they have great work ethics to begin with, they’re great guys to begin with–way before they ever met me,” he said. “We just sort of kept them on track with what their parents and their families had already started,” said O’Brien.