Hawaii Grown: College Athletics
Alualu a family Bear
STORY SUMMARY »
Family or football?
At one time, Tyson Alualu thought he had to make that decision.
He had just graduated from Saint Louis as a two-time first-team all-state pick in football.
His girlfriend was pregnant and a football scholarship was waiting for him at California.
Two years later, with the help of Golden Bears head coach Jeff Tedford, Alualu is now living with his wife Desiree' and 2-year-old son Tyree' near the Berkeley campus.
Alualu plays both tackle and end on the defensive line for the sixth-ranked Golden Bears.
When he's not scoring touchdowns -- as he did last week against Arizona -- Alualu is busy making life comfortable for three new freshmen from Hawaii on the team.
Alualu and Kamehameha graduate Mika Kane anchor half of the starting defensive line for the Golden Bears, who have a pivotal showdown with Oregon tomorrow in Eugene.
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COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
Saint Louis graduate Tyson Alualu has seen action at both tackle and end positions for sixth-ranked California, recording 2 1/2 sacks and scoring a touchdown in four games.
The final days before going to the mainland for college can be exciting, sad and even stressful for an athlete from Hawaii.
Some are excited for the opportunity to live on their own. Others are scared because they have never left home.
For Tyson Alualu, it was much more than that.
Early in 2005, after he had committed to California over Hawaii, Alualu found out his girlfriend was pregnant.
As he sat at home mere hours before his flight to California for mandatory summer school, he still was unsure what to do.
"It was a tough time," Alualu said. "It was a lot for me all at once."
Barely a graduate of Saint Louis, he headed for Berkeley and spent a month in school before coming home for a weekend.
After spending time those few days with his girlfriend and family, Alualu returned to California with his father and told coach Jeff Tedford he wanted to sit out a semester.
"We went to his office and I told him I wanted to come home," Alualu said. "He was real supportive of me and told me to get my situation set and then come back."
Alualu took the fall semester off to return home. He married Desiree' that September and two months later she had their son, Tyree'.
Alualu finally made his Bears football debut in the spring of '06, albeit six months later than he expected.
With his new wife by his side, a slightly heavier Alualu settled into an apartment near campus. He has been living the football dream ever since.
"When I was home I gained about 20 pounds, so when I got back, they moved me to defensive tackle (from defensive end)," he said.
Alualu appeared in all 13 games his freshman year and earned his first start against Oregon State.
This season, Alualu has rotated at both tackle and end positions and has 12 tackles and 2 1/2 sacks in four games.
His biggest highlight to date came a week ago when he recovered a fumble in the Arizona game and scored the first touchdown of his college career.
"Once I got in the end zone I wasn't even sure if I got a touchdown," Alualu said. "Once I realized I knew all the glory went to God. If it weren't for him none of this would be possible."
Alualu and Mika Kane (Kamehameha '05) team up to form half of California's starting defensive line.
California has recruited in Hawaii in the past. Joe Igber (Iolani '99) and Abu Maafala (Kamehameha '01) had solid careers as Golden Bears.
Defensive line coach Ken Delgado serves as California's primary recruiter in Hawaii.
He signed three kids from the islands last year.
Saint Louis defensive ends Scott Smith and Solomona Aigamaua, and Moanalua tight end Savaii Eselu have more than doubled Hawaii's contingent on the California roster.
"We feel these guys bring not only the athletic ability, but they bring a sense of what Hawaii is about in terms of brotherhood and teamwork," Delgado said.
Alualu's apartment was the summer home for the three freshmen as they looked up to him to help them get comfortable with their new surroundings.
"He's showing me the ropes on how to get by," Smith said. "It's not easy. This school is hard. In order to play football you have got to do the school part. That's the toughest part."
The academic load at California is tougher than most schools, and the football players have to keep up with it.
Three times a week they meet for an academic game-planner session in addition to mandatory study halls.
Combine the work load with the normal late-night college activities and it's easy for a player to get distracted.
But Alualu has stayed away from such distractions, thanks to the company he keeps at home.
"Usually college you go and party, but for me it's kind of different," Alualu said. "I have a family with me and I wouldn't trade it for the world."
The Bears are just one of many Pac-10 schools that have been recruiting Hawaii hard.
When California heads to Oregon tomorrow for a showdown of two teams ranked in the top 15, Alualu and Kane will be matched up against Max Unger (Hawaii Prep '04) and Pat So'oalo (Kailua '03), who play on the Ducks offensive line.
"Hawaii has always had real good talent, but sometimes kids just didn't get opportunities," Alualu said. "It's good to see them finally getting those opportunities."
No matter what Alualu accomplishes in the future, he knows he will always owe some of his success to Tedford for letting him sit out his first semester.
"The last thing I told him was that he's a great coach and I would not let him down," Alualu said.
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Pacific’s Ganiko opens new stadium in style
Pacific University junior Kelli Ganiko (King Kekaulike '05) picked the best way to celebrate the opening of Lincoln Park Stadium.
Her second-half goal was the game winner as the Boxers defeated Pacific Lutheran 2-1 in their first game in the new stadium.
"I usually don't shoot and look for the assist but our coaches told us to shoot at halftime," Ganiko said.
Director of Athletics Ken Schumann participated in a ceremonial first kick-off prior to the match.
The stadium seats approximately 1,100 people and features a new FieldTurf playing surface. It was made strictly for soccer since the Boxers don't have a football team.
"It was the most people I ever saw at a soccer game," Ganiko said.
Freshman Ashley Kanda (Castle '06) scored Pacific's first goal in the new stadium with her second goal of the season in the seventh minute.
Kanda earned the first start of her career two games ago and has scored a goal in each start.
"It's pretty nice," Kanda said. "It's my first year playing and things are going well."
Eight of the 25 players on the Pacific roster are from Hawaii. The others are Lauren Kanda (Castle '06), Cory Arashiro (Kauai '06), Jenna Johnson-Endo (Radford '03), Andrea Fukuhara (Aiea '07), Cheryl Yasumoto (Pearl City '06) and Kelcie Ama (Mililani '07).
» Long Beach State junior Mariko Strickland (Mid-Pacific '05) scored her first goal of the season in the 49ers' 5-0 victory over North Texas.
Strickland was named to the Oklahoma Sooner Classic all-tournament team as Long Beach State went undefeated.
» University of Pacific freshman Sammi Teramae (Iolani '07) is tied for the team lead with nine points in eight games.
Natalie Wong (Mililani '07) and Kylee Ah Choy (Kamehameha '07) also get significant playing time for the Tigers.
» Gonzaga senior Vito Higgins (Academy of the Pacific '03) recorded his second shutout of the season with four saves in a 1-0 victory over Northern Illinois.
Defender Daniel Scott (King Kekaulike '03) helped preserve the shutout by making a save of his own in the 37th minute.
Higgins became the third Zags goalkeeper in school history with at least 10 shutouts for his career.
» Sophomore Kristal Tsukano (Kamehameha '06) had 12 digs in San Jose State's three-game loss to Hawaii on Monday.
Brianna Amian (Moanalua '07) also played for the Spartans, but struggled with three errors and zero kills in six attempts.
» Alyssa Chang (Roosevelt '04) had 35 assists and 10 digs to lead Cal State East Bay past Puget Sound in four games.
Leigh Sumida (Iolani '06) had 26 digs and sister Kris Sumida (Iolani '07) added 10 digs for the Loggers.
» Tamari Miyashiro (Kalani '05) totaled 35 digs in two matches to help lead Washington to a sweep of the Oregon schools.
Ashley Aratani (Iolani '04) combined for nine digs for the Huskies. Camilla Ah-Hoy (Kahuku '06) had six assists in two games as the Beavers lost to the Huskies in three games.
» Kelli Grobe (Iolani '05) had eight kills and hit .700 for the match to lead Princeton to its fifth straight victory with a 3-1 win over LaSalle.
» Shellane Ogoshi (Roosevelt '04) finished with 14 digs, five assists and four aces to lead Hofstra past Northeastern in four games.
» Jordan Dizon (Waimea '04) had six tackles in Colorado's 42-0 shutout of Miami (Ohio). Dizon upped his season total in tackles to 55, which still leads the nation.
» Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada (Kapolei '04) threw for a career-high 217 yards in Navy's 46-43 win over Duke.
Kaheaku-Enhada threw a 44-yard touchdown pass and also rushed for 59 yards and a score before being taken out in the fourth quarter.
» Al Afalava (Kahuku '05) recorded a team-high 10 tackles in Oregon State's 12-point loss at Arizona State.
Afalava's 30 total tackles for the season is also a team high.
» Daniel Teo-Nesheim (Hawaii Prep '05) and Wilson Afoa (Saint Louis '07) each had three tackles in Washington's 44-31 loss to UCLA.
» Senior co-captain Jayson Malufau (Kahuku '98) has 12 tackles and two forced fumbles in five games this year for Dixie State.