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Wednesday, September 20, 2000

By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin
Nanakuli Golden Hawks running back Chelsey-Ann
Kaimi is the only girl on the team.

Touchdown scores
more than 6 points

The score by Nanakuli's
Kaimi is believed to be the
first by a girl in state varsity play

By Dave Reardon

Chelsey-Ann Kaimi figured she was just making six points for her team.

She didn't realize she was also making history.

Kaimi is believed to be the first girl to score a touchdown in a high school varsity football game in Hawaii. Her 1-yard touchdown run came in the fourth quarter as host Nanakuli beat Moanalua, 38-9, last Friday night.

"My thought was, 'Finally,' " said Kaimi, who scored for the first time after playing in all four of the Golden Hawks' regular-season games this year.

"She got stopped, and her extra effort got her in," Nanakuli coach Al Beaver said. "She had to earn it."

Her teammates gave her rousing congratulations during the game, and again when they saw the play on film yesterday before practice.

By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin
Nanakuli Golden Hawks running back Chelsey-Ann
Kaimi catches a ball during practice. She also
plays soccer, basketball and track.

Several longtime local prep football observers all said they are sure Kaimi is the first female to achieve the feat in Hawaii.

"It's almost unbelievable, but it's wonderful," said Clay Benham, executive secretary of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, who has been associated with Hawaii high school football for more than 60 years.

Kaimi said she doesn't know what all the fuss is about.

"I was happy, but I didn't think it was that big a deal," she said.

But it is -- and not only in Hawaii.

National records are sketchy, but experts say Kaimi might be only the second girl to score a touchdown in a varsity game throughout the country.

The only verified varsity touchdown by a girl came Sept. 17, 1999, when Breann Smith, of Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, Mich., scored on a 3-yard run in the third quarter of her team's 54-22 win over Central High of Traverse City, Mich.

"It was reported as the first touchdown ever scored by a girl in a varsity game," said Jamie DeMoney, Senior West Region editor of

John Gillis, who writes and distributes the football National High School Record book, and Dave Krider, longtime high school sports editor for USA Today, were not aware of a female player scoring a touchdown.

Several girls in Hawaii and many nationwide have kicked extra points and field goals during the past few seasons. But the relative safety of kicking and the potential contact involved in scoring a touchdown are very different things.

It's routine for Kaimi, though. The 16-year-old junior has played tackle football with boys since she was 7.

The 5-foot-2 1/2, 135-pound running back and receiver scored several touchdowns last year as a Nanakuli junior varsity player.

"And you should have seen her during (noncontact Summer) Pass League," Nanakuli running backs coach Buddy Silva said. "She scored five or six times."

Kaimi's parents, Dennis and Calcy, were especially proud of their daughter Friday night because both are Nanakuli graduates. Dennis Kaimi was a star lineman for the Golden Hawks and helped them to their only Prep Bowl appearance in 1983.

He never pushed the eldest of his four children into football, but supported and coached her when she showed interest.

"When she first approached me about it, I told her, 'Remember, you can't cry,' " he said. "I'm surprised she lasted this long; I thought it would pass. But she's very athletic and loves the high intensity level of the game."

Kaimi also competes in soccer, basketball and track.

The family moved from Nanakuli to Oregon for two years before returning in May 1999. Kaimi played on the freshman team at Sunset High School in Beaverton.

"The thing I feel bad about is that she's been on a different team every year and had to prove herself all over again every time," the father said.

Kaimi's done that with her Nanakuli teammates and coaches. "She goes all out; she's like another guy on the field," team captain Kapena Keopuhiwa said.

Said junior Rusty Lawson: "Around school she's like a regular girl, but on the field she's one of us."

Beaver said this is the first time he's ever mentored a female "in anything" in 30 years of coaching. The former Waianae and University of Hawaii assistant said it took a little adjusting.

"I had a long talk with my wife (Malia) about it. She told me to basically treat her like the other players, or it could be negative for the team," Beaver said.

Kaimi said her goals are the same as any of her teammates -- do her best and win games.

"I just want to play my hardest and compete with the best to become the best," she said. "And I want to thank my coaches and teammates. I couldn't do anything without them."

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