OIA football coaches want to avoid logjams in Red Conference standings
Creative minds are always at work.
That's why it's no surprise that some coaches in the Oahu Interscholastic Association are tinkering with concepts that would possibly add more games to the regular-season football schedule.
Coaches like Arnold Martinez of Moanalua, Nelson Maeda of Castle and Darren Hernandez of Kapolei have put some thought into the possibilities ever since the league's Red Conference ran into unwieldy ties after a six-game regular season.
In the West, four teams finished at 3-3, and a complicated tiebreaker formula left Aiea out of the playoffs. In the East, there was a three-way tie at 3-3, but all three were qualifiers for the playoffs.
"There has to be a way where we can improve it and get more (regular-season) games," Martinez said.
It wasn't long ago when teams played eight regular-season games and rarely had a three-way tie, let alone a quagmire of four teams locked up.
One notion offered by Martinez and Hernandez would expand each of the Red divisions to nine teams from the current seven-team format. A single round would give each Red team a total of eight games.
The White Conference would shrink from nine teams to five, free to play a double round-robin -- eight games.
Even if this concept were to become a proposal and pass muster within the OIA brass, the added games would take away from nonconference dates (including the highly anticipated early-season OIA vs. Interscholastic League of Honolulu battles). That is, unless the season were permitted to start earlier.
Coaches across the league agree unanimously that the loss of two-a-day practices has made a negative impact on conditioning and execution. In the past year, all public schools on Oahu have moved the school year to an early August start, nullifying all of the old-school two-a-day workouts that were so valuable to teams.
Private-school teams in the ILH still have a later start, more practice time and, arguably, more precision.
An earlier start date for football would have to be approved by all leagues, an interesting complication.
"I think the nine-team conference would be great. I know Nelson would love that," Martinez said. "Last year, we proposed a bunch of ideas, but we have to convince our ADs."
Many of the OIA's athletic directors, including football coordinator Harold Tanaka, are former football coaches.
Ms. Robinson's neighborhood
One of Moanalua's two-sport standouts is Sarah Robinson, who recently completed her senior season of volleyball. Na Menehune won the OIA championship this fall, but Robinson's life will take a new turn after today, when she signs a letter of intent to play softball at the University of Hawaii starting in the spring of 2009.
Robinson, a multi-position standout on the diamond, will follow in the footsteps of older sister Kate Robinson. Sarah Robinson was Moanalua's ace pitcher and a steady hitter as the team went to the state tourney last spring. Though Robinson sent stats and footage to different colleges, going green is the only color she saw in her future.
"Other schools sent me back information, but I never wrote back to them. UH was my main thing," she said. "I didn't want to go away. I wanted to stay here. I didn't want to move away from my family."
Kate Robinson is a senior for the nationally-ranked Rainbow Wahine, but Sarah is counting on her tutelage.
"She helped me in getting all the college paperwork done. She told me about the competition level and we went pitching a few times and did batting practice. I don't think she really cared what college I went to, but I wanted to go to UH. It looks like she's having a lot of fun up there and they're doing really good," Robinson said. "They made it to Super Regionals."
Star-Bulletin baseball position player of the year Paul Snieder of Punahou will sign with Northwestern today.
"They gave me an offer I couldn't turn down. It's a good academic school and I want to go into mechanical engineering," he said.
The senior also had interest from Santa Clara and Cornell, as well as Hawaii.
"UH was talking to me early on, but I kind of wanted to get out to the mainland," said Snieder, who projects as a first baseman and relief pitcher with the Wildcats. "I'm throwing in the mid-80s. Hopefully, by next year, I'll be in the high 80s, maybe low 90s."
He won't be the only Buffanblu signing papers today.Teammate Harrison "Jeeter" Ishida will sign with Arizona State. Also signing at the school's news conference will be volleyball player Sydney Yogi and Erik Shoji.
Yogi, a libero, will sign with Texas. Shoji, a versatile multi-position standout, will sign with Stanford.
Four players from the Kamehameha volleyball state championship team are signing letters of intent to today at a ceremony at the school campus.
They are: Kanani Herring (Hawaii), Jordan Meredith (Boston College), Tatiana Santiago (Nevada) and Rebecca Torres (University of the Pacific; Calif.).