HIGH SCHOOL RECRUITING
Na Alii commit to D-II school
Chilly Northern State is warming up quickly, thanks to incoming islanders.
Aiea seniors Kali Kuia, Chris Anakalea and Nekova Sueoka gave the Division II university their oral commitment to play football yesterday morning.
Kuia, a prolific passer, fits the Wolves' offense quite well. Northern State, located in South Dakota. runs a run-and-shoot attack similar to the one Kuia directed since his sophomore year.
"They looked at the videotape because of Kali, but I guess they liked the other boys," Aiea coach Wendell Say said. "Same thing happened with Southern Utah. They liked the same kids, too, watching the tape."
Kuia fielded interest from other schools, including Hawaii, which wanted the 5-foot-10, 180-pound quarterback to walk on.
Sueoka (6-2, 270) played right tackle for Na Alii, with Anakalea (6-1, 295) next to him at guard.
Kuia and Sueoka are academic qualifiers for Northern State. Anakalea is close.
"He's almost a qualifier. He's taking the SAT again. He's motivated. What's good is all three of them can go up there together," said Say, who heard questions from his players about the severity of the cold at Northern State.
"Once you reach a certain temperature, it feels the same whether you're in Oregon at 32 degrees or North Dakota at 32 below," said Say, who played football in Oregon. "It's an opportunity to get an education free, a chance to go someplace different."
Kuia, who also plays basketball for Aiea, has a chance to play as a freshman.
"(The coaches) say that from what they see, Kali is better than the quarterback they have now because he's more mobile," Say said.
He believes the trio is just the start of a bonanza for Aiea's senior class, even in the frozen tundra.
"You adapt. And you learn to appreciate Hawaii even more. I'm excited for our kids. It's great for our program that a school offered three of our kids scholarships," Say said. "That means we're headed in the right direction."
Northern State plays in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. Two island players, Una Latu (Saint Louis) and Veaila Tupou (Kahuku), were All-NSIC first-team selections.