HIGH SCHOOL REPORT
The imposing Warrior
OVER the past three years, Kamehameha two-sport star Randolyn "Hoku" Nohara has elicited many descriptions and superlatives from opponents, teammates and fans. Words commonly used in reference to Nohara are "talented" or "imposing," but the word heard most often to describe the three-sport standout is "dominant."
A world-class powerlifter who has set five national bench-press records and five state marks, Nohara set her first state record in 2003, and set her first national mark a year later. In 2005, Nohara eclipsed her own national open division record by benching 314 pounds at the World Association of Bench Pressers and Deadlifters Championships in Reno, Nev. Last year, she put up 352.5 pounds to set a new national record for girls ages 16-19.
Nohara has also established herself as one of the top wrestlers -- male or female -- in state history. Already a three-time state champion, the 5-foot-7 Nohara is aiming for her fourth title at 220 pounds this season. Currently ranked sixth in the nation among wrestlers over 165 pounds by the United States Girls' Wrestling Association, Nohara hopes to become just the fourth four-time champion, joining Iolani's Patrick Higa (1983-86), Jonathan Spiker (2000-03) of Saint Louis, and Caylene Valdez of Moanalua (2000-03).
If she pulls the trick, Nohara would be the first to win all four of her titles in the same weight class.
"Winning that fourth state title is definitely one of my goals," Nohara said. "I know that I've been given some ability and I try to honor that by working as hard as I can to make the most of it."
Besides her dominance in the power sports of weightlifting and wrestling, Nohara has also displayed her versatility with her exploits on the softball field.
"The girl is a star in two sports, plain and simple," said Kamehameha softball coach Ty Sing Chow. "She dominates on the mat, and out here, she is one of the best. The thing people don't realize is that she is athletic. Her sophomore year she played the outfield for us. In club ball, she catches, and this year she's playing third base for us and playing it really well."
On the diamond, Nohara has been one of the main cogs for the Warriors for some time. This year the 2005 All-State honorable mention slugger has returned to the heart of the Kamehameha lineup to hit .420 with two homers and 10 RBIs for the 6-2 Warriors. Last year, Nohara returned from a wrestling injury just in time for the final three regular season games to help Kamehameha capture the ILH title and the state tournament's top seed.
This past summer, Nohara led her club team, Ho'onou, to the state 16-and-under title and an appearance at the Amateur Softball Association nationals in Seattle, Wash.
"I really don't think I can say that either sport is my favorite," Nohara said. "Wrestling and softball have different things to offer, and I like them equally. Softball is definitely a sport you play for your team, while wrestling is an individual thing. You're the only person that can go out there and perform."
Nohara has already accepted a scholarship to play for coach Callen Perreira at the University of Hawaii-Hilo next year. Nohara's signing is the latest in a string for Kamehameha softball, which has sent players to college programs at Tennessee, East Carolina and the University of Hawaii in recent years.
"Hoku is as dangerous as any player we've had," Sing Chow said. "She can change the game with one swing of the bat. Because of her size and strength she is a physical player who can contribute not only with her bat but with her arm, her glove and she runs surprisingly well, too."
But for those closest to Nohara, other words apply when describing the talented teen. Among them are "humble, considerate" and most of all, "daddy's girl."
"I have been a daddy's girl my whole life," said Nohara. "I was his little girl when I was a kid, and I still am to this day. He's always coached me in everything and my mom's always been there, too, screaming all kinds of stuff at my games."
Indeed much of Hoku Nohara's success can be attributed to her father, David, a former wrestler at Moanalua and a coach on Kamehameha's intermediate school squad.
David sparked Hoku's interest in strength training by accident as a child. He began dishing out exercise as methods of discipline, but soon found Hoku enjoying the workouts a bit too much.
"When she was about 4, I decided to make her do push-ups and sit-ups instead of giving her spankings," David said. "But it came to a point where she would do the workouts on her own. I remember walking past her room when she was about 7, and seeing her on the floor working out."
Hoku's self-directed workout routine would soon take wings, as she noticed her gains.
"She could tell she was getting stronger than the other girls and I guess she liked it," David said. "She played her first season of softball when she was 8, and began wrestling immediately after that. I had already been training her to wrestle a little at home and then I saw a sign on the side of the road in Hawaii Kai about a PAL wrestling team out there and that was the start of it all. She was hesitant at first, but soon she was beating the boys, and she just fell in love with the sport."
By the eighth grade, Hoku was already competing in varsity wrestling tournaments. While she was able to compete physically with most wrestlers, one tough opponent motivated her to enhance her strength.
"At that point, we sat down and talked about what her goals were," David said. "She said she wanted to be a four-time state champion. We came across Keith Ward, who was coaching a youth powerlifting team out here and that's how she started with the weightlifting."
Of all the coaching, encouragement and parenting Hoku has received from David and her mother and namesake, Randolyn, perhaps no lesson is of greater importance than the humility she learned from them.
"She's really a good girl," David said. "She has a lot of heart and she refuses to fail in anything, and that's carried over into her academics, too. Hoku gets along with everybody and shares our faith in the Lord. We brought her up to look out for the younger ones, the weaker ones and she has taken it to heart."