Hakala wins WAC Stan Bates award
Hawaii men's volleyball player Lauri Hakala was a surprising choice yesterday as a winner of the Western Athletic Conference's Stan Bates Award.
Not that Hakala didn't deserve the honor after an All-America career and a 3.72 grade-point average as a double major in communications and German.
It's just that this was a WAC honor, and men's volleyball participates in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.
"I guess we're part of a hybrid in terms of conference participation," Warriors coach Mike Wilton said. "But Lauri is certainly a good choice, an excellent student, diligent worker and good model."
Hakala joins Idaho cross country and track and field athlete Melinda Ouwerkerk and San Jose State baseball player Corey Cabral as recipients of the award named in honor of former WAC commissioner Stan Bates.
The award honors the WAC's top male and female scholar-athletes and recognizes the recipients' athletic and academic accomplishments.
This is the first time since 1989 that there was a co-Stan Bates award winner on the men's side.
Hakala is the first University of Hawaii male recipient of the award since Jason Elam in 1993. Former Rainbow Wahine softball player Tracie Uchima was UH's last honoree, male or female, in 2005.