Waimea athletic director
Kobayashi learning on the job
Longtime football coach Jon Kobayashi put off extra schooling for a while, but it's all paid off since he retired from a highly successful football coaching career.
Kobayashi stepped in as Waimea's new athletic director when veteran James Kitamura retired in January. Instead of his role as a teacher, Kobayashi is learning the ropes at a school where enrollment isn't huge, but tradition is.
"It's not just running one program, but 36 teams. I've still got plenty to learn in this job," said Kobayashi, who continued Waimea's football dominance in the Kauai Interscholastic Federation during the 1990s and early part of this decade.
Like many athletic departments, dealing with shrinking budgets is a major concern.
"The tough part is the financial part, trying to run an athletic program with a limited budget," he said. "What I miss about teaching is the interaction with the kids on a good basis. As an AD, you interact more if you're celebrating something or you're the bearer of bad news."
His years in coaching and teaching are excellent preparation for the new career, but Kobayashi is a football lifer.
"Yeah," he said. "I miss coaching."
Having a good Knight: Longtime Castle track and field coach Martin Hee hoped the Olympic silver medal Bryan Clay won in the decathlon last summer would increase interest in the sport at Clay's alma mater. It has.
Castle's track teams total 25 members, up from a meager 12 last year, Hee said.
"About 50 signed up, but some found the training too hard. The people who stuck with it are enjoying themselves," Hee said. "Our problem is year-round soccer, a lot of kids would rather play soccer."
Hee said sophomore Ethan Rista is inspired by the multi-tasking of Clay, a 1998 Castle grad and first former Hawaii prep athlete to win an Olympic track and field medal.
"He's a sprinter, hurdler and jumper," the coach said of Rista. "He runs the 400 and comes right back to run the 300 hurdles."
Rista's most impressive effort so far is a 52.3 split in the 4x400 last week at the Yamamoto Invitational at Mililani after running several other events, Hee said.
"He's pretty impressive," Mililani coach Edwin Alfaro said. "Martin throws him into all kinds of events, and that's how Bryan Clay got so good."
But if Clay's success means improved marks overall on Hawaii high school ovals, it hasn't happened yet.
"It seems like the top times are not that good so far this year," Alfaro said. "Usually the year after the Olympics is good, but right now the times don't reflect that. A lot of teams are rebuilding."
Prom is King: The Kaiser-Kahuku basketball game scheduled for Saturday has been moved up to Friday due to a prom conflict. The game will still be played at Kahuku's Thomas Walker Gym.
Attention for Red Raiders: Student Sports magazine listed Kahuku in a recent piece about high schools with the most Division I recruits.
With eight D-I bound football players, Kahuku tied DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.), Douglass (Atlanta) and MacArthur (Irving, Texas) at the top of the list. The eight are: defensive back B.J. Adolpho, linebacker Max Fairclough, tight end Laauli Fonoti, offensive lineman Maveu Heimuli and defensive end David Niumatalolo to New Mexico State; defensive back Al Afalava to Oregon State; wide receiver Spencer Hafoka to BYU and running back Micah Strickland to San Diego State.
Panthers they are: The La Pietra athletic program has gone without a nickname for ages, but they finally have one.
The all-girls school is now officially known as the Lady Panthers. The colors of blue and white remain intact, according to basketball coach Jack Danilewicz.
Currently 1-2 in Interscholastic League of Honolulu Division II play, La Pietra is one of only three teams that defeated Kalani in preseason action. Kalani currently leads Division II in the Oahu Interscholastic Association with a 7-0 record.
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Athletes of the week
Pac-Five track: Set a meet record of 21 feet, 8 1/2 inches in the long jump at the Ralph Martinson Invitational. Also won the 200 and 400 meters.
Pearl City track: Won the long jump and 100 meters at the George Yamamoto Invitational Relays.
Punahou: Went 2-for-3 with four RBIs against Pac-Five.
Mililani: Threw a four-hitter with 12 strikeouts at Kapolei.
Campbell: Went 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs at Waipahu.
Moanalua: Hit a home run and double with four RBIs vs. Farrington.
KS-Hawaii: Hurled a one-hitter at Kealakehe.
Punahou: Went 3-for-3 against Pac-Five.
Iolani: Went 3-for-3 against Damien.
Kaiser: Went 3-for-3 with a homer and two RBIs against McKinley.
Kamehameha: Went 3-for-4 with two RBIs against St. Louis.
Kamehameha: Hit two triples with five RBIs vs. Pac-Five.
Leilehua: Struck out all nine Waialua batters he faced.
Kailua: Went 3-for-4 with a homer and five RBIs against Kaimuki.
Damien: Hit a triple and double with two RBIs.
Kahuku: Scored 16 points with 13 rebounds against Kalaheo.
Kaiser: Scored 22 points with nine rebounds against Roosevelt.
HPA: Scored 22 points against Kau and 20 points at Laupahoehoe.
Kailua: 13 points, 10 rebounds against Waipahu.
HBA: Scored 22 points against University.
Kauai: Scored 21 points against Kapaa.
Punahou: Scored 12 points with 13 rebounds and seven assists against MPI.
KS-Hawaii: Scored 22 points against Hilo.
Nanakuli: Scored 21 points against Mililani.
Hawaii Baptist: Scored 20 points vs. Iolani II.
TRACK AND FIELD
Kaiser: Took the 100 meters and the high jump and ran on the winning 4x100 and 4x400 relays as the host Cougars won the Sakamoto Invitational.
Kaiser: Led the Cougar girls to victory at the Sakamoto Invitational with wins in the 400 and 800 meters.
Moanalua: Broke a 10-year-old record with a time of 5 minutes, 30.2 seconds in the 1500 at the Yamamoto Invitational Relays.
Kalaheo: Won the 200 and long jump and ran on the winning 4x100 relay at the Sakamoto meet.
Word of Life: Won the discus and the shot put at the Martinson Invitational.
Mililani: Won the long jump and 100 at Yamamoto Invitational Relays. Also ran on winning 4x100 and 4x400 teams.
Word of Life: Threw the discus 187-10 for a meet record at the Ralph Martinson Invitational.
Mililani: Ran on winning relay teams in the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 at Yamamoto Invitational Relays.
Kaiser: Won the 400 and 800 and was on the winning 4x400 squad at the Sakamoto Invitational.
Tessa Asuega, Melissa Lehano, Lokelani Paia, Chastity Senas,
Mililani: Broke the 4x100 relay record with a time of 57.2 at the Yamamoto Invitational Relays.
To nominate ...
To nominate an athlete of the week, contact the Star-Bulletin Sports Department by 11 p.m. Sunday: