UH contingent enjoyed show
About 50 parents and friends turned out to support the Rainbow Wahine in the Super Regional in Knoxville
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. » They came from the Islands, from the West Coast and even from neighboring states.
Supporters of the Hawaii softball team -- mostly family members -- numbering about 50, made it to Tyson Park this weekend to cheer on the Wahine in their quest to reach the Women's College World Series for the first time.
And while UH came up short in the best-of-three series -- losing the decisive Game 3 by a 7-1 score last night -- the Hawaii contingent seemed to agree wholeheartedly that the long trip was worthwhile.
"Hawaii is such a a unique place and family is so important," said Nanci Coolen, wife of head coach Bob Coolen. "And even the ones who couldn't make it, we know (the players) are in their hearts. The support at home has been unbelievable."
Senior Tyleen Tausaga's mom gets the award for spending the most time on the road with the team, as she's stayed with them since the Wahine left for the WAC tournament on May 8.
"(Tyleen's) a senior and she wanted to go out with a boom," Brenda Tausaga said. "It's a wonderful feeling getting this far."
Brenda said she was "beat" from all the travel, but that she would have gladly kept on going to Oklahoma City.
Some family members barely made it to Tennessee in time for the Super Regional, including the parents of Hawaii's Valana Manuma and Tennessee's Anita Manuma. Viavia Manuma showed his pride in both his daughters yesterday by wearing a shirt supporting Valana on one side and Anita on the other.
Julie Franklin's mother flew in on Thursday from her hometown of Temple City, Calif., and was able to see a breakout performance by the sophomore shortstop, including a huge home run early in the day.
"I went to Hawaii for two weeks in March (for preseason tournaments), and flew to San Jose and up to LMU," Debbie Franklin said.
She went to Fresno State for the WAC tournament and kept on going east when the Wahine advanced to play the Lady Vols.
"As they've gotten farther and farther (in the postseason), they've gotten more and more excited that they've made it this far," she said.
Kanani Warren's grandmother, Feia Puu, who lives in California, said this is the farthest east she's ever been.
Melissa Inouye, a 1997 Mililani High graduate, who lettered four years in softball as a Trojan and then attended UNLV, didn't have to travel that far. She's in her third year as an assistant coach at Kentucky, and drove across the border to see the series.
In many cases, one spouse had to stay home working, while the other made the trip. And in the case of Angel Milca -- father of sophomore Tanisha Milca -- who is in the Navy stationed on Oahu, it's very difficult to request time off for road trips.
"If this series hadn't been on the weekend, no way," he said.
He described Tanisha's reaction when they told her they were on their way as "overwhelmed."
Parents who were here to see the Wahine play couldn't do everything for their daughters, though.
"I asked her before I left what I could bring for her," said Dale Titcomb -- mother of sophomore Richie-Anne Titcomb. "And she said 'the beach.' "