Rush finds out there's no better place than home
The trail to excellence has led Dylan Rush afar, but in the end, he is staying in his own backyard.
Rush, a three-sport standout from Ka'u, transferred to Konawaena to improve in several areas as a student-athlete. With a father, Greg Rush, who works in the Kona district, the 102-mile daily round trip wasn't too much of a burden.
The 6-foot-3, 230-pound senior excels in football, wrestling and track and field.
In football, he made a strong verbal commitment last summer to play at UCLA. He completed his senior season as a first-team Big Island Interscholastic Federation pick as a defensive end, though he also dominated as a tight end.
He is also a two-time state wrestling champion, which sparked his latest quest to find a new school. Because Konawaena has no other wrestlers in Rush's weight class (275), he seriously contemplated a transfer to Lahainaluna. His summer experience in Lahaina, particularly at wrestling camp, and family friends in the area made the move a possibility.
However, Lahainaluna rejected his transfer request, citing the potential controversy of accepting Rush purely for athletic reasons.
Dejected, the Hawaii Gatorade football player of the year finally opted to transfer back home to Ka'u. Not only has the toil of the long, daily drive worn him out, but Ka'u athletic director Kimo Weaver will be able to help. Weaver is a former wrestler.
Rush, an outstanding student, is a classic example of a student-athlete who has pushed himself to excel no matter how tough the road is. Now he can actually enjoy a short trip to school every day and still pursue his dream of a third state title.
Underneath his frustration and success, Rush could do something nobody expected when this school year began. He could bring Ka'u its first state wrestling championship in recent history.
Warriors coach says good-bye: Veteran coach Pono Maa has stepped down as boys volleyball coach at Kamehameha.
Maa, who starred at the University of Hawaii, announced his retirement at the team's postseason banquet last week. The program has been in the spotlight as one of the state's best under Maa's watch.
No replacement has been named yet.
Lose a Correa, gain a Correa: Kamehameha-Hawaii's fast-rising baseball program lost its coach recently when John DeSa stepped down.
In addition, senior infielder Kainoa Correa, needing more college prep courses, transferred to Waiakea.
On Monday, Kamehameha-Hawaii hired Correa's uncle, Andrew Correa, as the new baseball coach. Andrew Correa coached under his brother, Tommy Correa, at Waiakea for eight seasons. Prior to that, he coached under longtime coach Buzzy Capellas at Hilo.
The hiring was timely for Kamehameha-Hawaii. The varsity team begins practice next month.
Hoop fever: Last week, the Kalaheo/Pete Smith Classic, Ka Makani Classic, Keaau Invitational and St. Anthony Invitational were among tournaments that tipped off the boys basketball season.
This week, even more. The Black & Gold Invitational begins tomorrow at McKinley Student Council Gym. Participating teams are Kaimuki, Roosevelt, Kapolei, Waipahu, Maryknoll, Kamehameha-Maui, Kainai (Canada) and host McKinley.
Action begins with Kaimuki vs. Kainai at 3:30 p.m., followed by Waipahu vs. Maryknoll at 5, Roosevelt vs. Kapolei at 6:30, and McKinley vs. Kamehameha-Maui at 8.
Friday's games also begin at 3:30 p.m. Saturday's action tips off at 10 a.m.
The James Alegre Invitational also begins tomorrow with a field that includes Iolani, Kamehameha, Punahou, Leilehua, Moanalua, Honokaa and host Radford.
Also tipping off tomorrow are the Cardinal Classic (St. Joseph) and Baldwin Invitational.
Of course, the Iolani Classic is nearing, as is the Punahou Holiday Classic. That's enough basketball -- morning, afternoon and night -- to fill the schedule of any basketball fanatic before and after Christmas.
Still No. 1: In its high school basketball special, Sports Illustrated has ranked Iolani No. 1 in Hawaii.
Iolani is the three-time defending state champion.
The issue was released Monday.
To nominate ...
To nominate an athlete of the week, contact the Star-Bulletin Sports Department by 11 p.m. Sunday: