Friday, June 10, 2005


Neighbor islands keep some
state championships

A proposal to move state
tournaments to Oahu doesn’t
live to see the HHSAA
executive board

LIHUE » The neighbor islands are still in the rotation.

A proposal to move all state championship tournaments to Oahu failed to get out of committee last night at the 44th annual Hawaii Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association conference at the Kauai Marriott Resort.

Had the proposal passed, another vote would have been required tomorrow to advance the plan to the Hawaii High School Athletic Association's executive board. Only then would neighbor island leagues be without the chance to host, as they do once every three years.

Kohala athletic director Laurie Koustic, chairman of the committee that handled the issue, was stoic.

"The proposal was unclear," said Koustic, who said the group asked HHSAA executive director Keith Amemiya to enter the discussion.

On the proposal, the HHSAA indicated a willingness to help subsidize travel costs if tournaments were moved back to Oahu, Hawaii Prep athletic director Steve Perry said.

"Keith gave us more clarity," Koustic said. "The general consensus, from what I gathered, is that if the neighbor islands are willing to host, they should be allowed to."

With the flooring of the proposal, the possibility of more state tournaments being hosted away from Oahu remains alive. The Big Island Interscholastic Federation, buoyed by new facilities at Kamehameha-Hawaii, submitted a proposal to host state championships in soccer, paddling, water polo, and track and field. The results of that committee discussion were not available last night.

Discussion of new Division II state tournaments continued, but there was no proposal to vote on, Amemiya noted. That means there will be no D-II state tournament in volleyball, for example, this fall.

Questions about classification remain unanswered. One of them came from Hana assistant athletic director Manuel Oliveira, who is also the Dragons' boys volleyball coach.

Oliveira saw his boys reach the state tournament for the first time in two decades, eventually reaching the semifinal round. Had there been a Division II tourney, the Dragons would've had a good chance to win a state title.

"I don't know. Maybe, but we'll never know," he said.

Oliveira wants to support the possibility of a Division II state tourney, but not if private schools are included.

"They give scholarships, or the equivalent of scholarships, through financial aid," he said. "Since that's the case, they should stay only in Division I."

Richard Young, who chaired a committee at last year's HIADA conference that wrote language for wrestling items, voiced concern. After that committee sent its proposal to the HHSAA executive board, an additional sentence was added to the introduction.

That one sentence changed the tenor of the state wrestling championships, Young said. It read: "A league slot that opens up shall be filled by a slot of that league."

Young is Hana's athletic director and wrestling coordinator of the Maui Interscholastic League.

The added language allowed the host island, Oahu, to enter alternates that weren't permitted by the original proposal. The added sentence was part of a proposal submitted by the Interscholastic League of Honolulu last night. The committee voted it down.

The same committee tabled a proposal that would allow a school to enter two wrestlers in the same division at the state championships. Young, who favors allowing more participation, noted that the judo state tourney allows this.

A proposal to adjust the girls state tourney weight classes made it out of committee and will await final vote tomorrow. In the most recent state tourney, no girls showed up to wrestle in the 81-pound class. The new divisions, if passed, are as follows: 98, 103, 109, 115, 122, 129, 139, 154, 172 and 220.

Studying the impact: Two workshops were presented, one of which focused on concussion injuries. Hawaii high school trainers are well-versed in treatment of the injury, but the workshop presented by Jerry Hughes and Michael Collins opened some eyes.

Hughes is executive director of the Nevada Interscholastic Athletic Association, where the program is already in place. Collins represented ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing), an injury-treatment program based in Pittsburgh.

"There's a procedure we follow, but we don't do the extra cognitive test that they've started doing," Kahuku trainer Alex Gasmen said.

An online bio about Collins, who is a member of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, states: (ImPACT's) computerized neuropsychological testing system evaluates the severity of concussion in athletes and provides a more accurate determination of when an athlete can safely return to sports following a concussion.

The California Interscholastic Federation is taking a long look at installing this new procedure.

Cougars roar back: He may have a lion's name, but it is Leo Abelera's gentle leadership that has Keaau's football program purring.

Abelera, a teacher at Keaau, recently was named new head coach. His hiring turned a 30-player varsity team into 80 strong during spring workouts.

"The kids are responding to him," athletic director Iris McGuire said. "And he'll be on top of it, both on the field and in the classroom."

Abelera replaced two-year head coach Keliko Iopa, who inherited a program that had its struggles. When Iopa started in 2003, the Cougars had no athletic trainer or even an AD. Iopa almost immediately cut a dozen players from the team for disciplinary reasons.

Iopa's hard-line stance straightened out some problems, but Keaau's new administration decided that the time was right for a faculty member to take over.

Lady Raiders have a new coach: Anue Santiago, a three-year assistant, is the new softball head coach at Kahuku.

Santiago replaced Bu Heffernan.

"She brings a lot of experience and support from the community," Kahuku athletic director Joe Whitford said.

Heffernan, last season's Oahu Interscholastic Association East Coach of the Year, was embroiled in controversy after being accused of providing liquor to players at an off-campus gathering. He denied the accusations, but lost his position as head coach.

Heffernan will remain on staff as a volunteer coach.

Big Island Warriors cautious: The Kamehameha-Hawaii girls basketball team will host a preseason tournament next year, but there's a big 'if.'

Athletic director Bob Wagner said that the program will not have a tournament if its date coincides with any other Big Island tournament. Currently, there are tournaments at Honokaa, Waiakea and Hilo. Konawaena, which won the state crown in 2004 and placed second this season, plans to start a tourney.

"We want to be a good citizen," Wagner said, adding the factor of intra-league overkill. "If there are that many tournaments next year, it wouldn't make sense. We would see other (BIIF) teams too much in preseason, then during the season and in the playoffs."

If Kamehameha-Hawaii does host a tourney, it could become the first to use a shot clock.

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