CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kahikolu Pescaia, right, from Kamehameha, was among those who signed binding letters of intent yesterday at Honolulu Hale. Pescaia committed to the U.S. Naval Academy. Congratulating him were his girlfriend, Bekah Torres, and his sister, Mahina.
Several from isles mainland-bound
For some, it was a joyful morning.
For others, there was lingering doubt.
For a few more, there was hesitation, and it morphed into delay.
Dozens of Hawaii's high school student-athletes solidified their commitments on national letter-of-intent day yesterday, including several who will head to the mainland to continue their careers.
Western Athletic Conference member Idaho enjoyed the fruits of its labor by securing letters from Star-Bulletin offensive player of the year Kama Bailey (Damien) and All-State first-team linebacker Robert Siavii (Leilehua). Kamehameha defensive lineman Isaiah Lavea also signed with the Vandals.
Bailey, who rushed for 2,093 yards, also had offers from Navy, Idaho State and Weber State.
"After I went on the Idaho trip, I knew. There's a group of Polynesian kids. It was a nice welcome," he said.
Hawaii wanted Siavii, an early commit to Idaho, in a big way.
"It was real hard to tell Coach Cal (Lee), 'I can't come on the trip.' I couldn't decommit (to Idaho)," he said.
All-State first-team safety Shiloah Te'o stuck to his early oral commitment and signed with BYU, which backed off its plan to switch him to linebacker. Looking back, Te'o had just one regret.
"It's my fault. UH liked me," he said of a recent visit to Manoa. By then, UH had given out its scholarship offers and was no longer a viable option.
As usual, BCS schools tapped into the island talent pool.
Kamehameha offensive lineman Mykenna Ikehara (6-3, 275) signed with Washington and Pac-Five defensive lineman Aaron Tipoti (6-3, 250) followed through with Cal. Castle's Solomon Koehler (6-2, 305), perhaps the most coveted lineman of the class of 2008, signed with Arizona.
At Kahuku's press conference, Benji Kemoeatu and Anthony Si'ilata provided some drama. Kemoeatu, a 6-5, 315-pound offensive lineman, switched allegiance from Utah to West Virginia. If he ends up in Morgantown, he will be only 40 minutes away from family. Oregon State had also been in the mix. His letter was not faxed yesterday because his parents were not in town to sign it.
Si'ilata (6-2, 285), who excelled on both sides of the ball, named Oregon State as his choice. However, he did not submit his letter to Kahuku coach Reggie Torres to be faxed.
Kemoeatu and Si'ilata are not NCAA qualifiers yet, but Torres said both are on track academically to clear that hurdle.
The U.S. Naval Academy, now under former Radford and UH quarterback Ken Niumatalolo, made inroads by landing Kalaheo cornerback/wide receiver Bruce Andrews, Kamehameha lineman Kahikolu Pescaia Jr. and Pac-Five wide receiver Matt Shibata.