High School Beat

By Star-Bulletin Staff

Tuesday, March 25, 2003


Mililani girls without
a soccer coach after Uson
resigns for family reasons

By Nick Abramo

Mililani's James Uson is stepping down from his post as girls soccer coach to devote more time to his family.

He told Mililani athletic director Glenn Nitta of his intentions earlier this month and dropped off a letter of resignation to Nitta's office yesterday.

Uson coached the Trojans for seven years and led them to the 2002 championship and appearances in the last three state title games.

"My two girls are growing up," Uson said. "One is going to be a freshman next year and one is going into first grade and I'd like to be there for them more often."

Uson's two assistants -- his brother, John Uson, and Tony Hart -- will not return next season as well.

Uson hasn't ruled out the possibility of coaching again, and would consider taking a job in the future if the time was right.

"I will miss it, especially coaching this last bunch," he said. "They were probably the group that worked as a team better than any other team I've had.

"The biggest moment, of course, was winning the state championship last year."

Uson coached several girls who went on to reach success at the Division I college level, including Mele French (Oregon) and Jolie Nitta (Azusa Pacific).

Still umping: Kauai's Kura Hirokawa has heard it all.

"They call me call kinds of names," the 82-year-old longtime baseball umpire said. "They say I'm a blind man and that instead of looking at the ball, I make calls by sound."

He umpired the Waimea High School Invitational tournament two weeks ago, and he regularly calls Americans of Japanese Ancestry games.

Hirokawa said he's been umpiring for well over 50 years and started doing high school games in the 1970s.

"The only reason I still do it is that I love the game of baseball. I'll die umpiring," he said while laughing.

Hirokawa said he thinks that, in general, players were "much better" in the old days than today.

"The late 1980s and early 1990s is the highest level of baseball I've seen here," he said.

Former Kauai High School right-hander Tyler Yates, who is a reliever in the New York Mets' farm system, is the best pitcher Hirokawa has seen from his vantage point behind the plate.

"He wasn't cocky and he wasn't a cry baby," Hirokawa said. "He had all the tools, he was big and with a strong arm. I've seen some good ones in high school, but not as good as he was."

Beaver remains coach: Nanakuli athletic director Hugh Taufaasau said Al Beaver will return as head coach of the Golden Hawks football team in the fall.

Beaver resigned as Hawaii Paroling Authority chairman on March 11 amid allegations of improper administration after an internal investigation by the state Attorney General's Office.

Taufaasau emphasized that there are no plans or need for a change and indicated he's been pleased with Beaver's performance as football coach.

Takeyama commits to Rainbow Wahine: Baldwin's Koren Takeyama has committed to Hawaii.

Takeyama was a four-year Maui Interscholastic League all-star who helped lead the Bears to two state titles and a 46-3-1 record.

She follows three other Baldwin players who moved on to play with the Rainbow Wahine --Mahie Atay, Kalena Eaton and Tia Medeiros.

"Koren has phenomenal speed," Rainbow Wahine coach Pinsoom Tenzing said. "She has great determination and provides us with an absolutely versatile athlete that can play any position."

Sailing starts soon: The Interscholastic League of Honolulu is making history with the start of its first varsity sailing season on April 1 at the Waikiki Yacht Club and Hawaii Yacht Club.

Tom Holden, the league's sailing coordinator and Punahou athletic director, said Hawaii is the first state in the nation to have a sanctioned high school sailing league championship.

The season concludes April 21 with the ILH championships.

Raiders move up: The state champion Iolani basketball team is up to No. 37 in the Student Sports Fab 50 rankings after spending most of the season ranked in the 40s.

The final rankings will be out after the completion of several state tournaments.

Bulldogs seek coaches: Kaimuki is looking for girls volleyball, girls soccer and girls bowling coaches.

Applicants can call 733-4924 or send a resume to: Fred Lee, 2705 Kaimuki Ave., Honolulu, HI, 96816.

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