HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETICS
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Iolani's Brad Lawson will join former Raiders standout Kawika Shoji and Punahou product Spencer McLachlin at Stanford.
Iolani's 6-foot-7 Brad Lawson is a special player and a regular guy
THE challenge for a 6-foot-7, highly touted athlete in Hawaii is not standing out, but fitting in.
Iolani senior outside hitter Brad Lawson has successfully met the challenge, growing into an average, well-rounded person with an above-average talent.
"When I see him I don't just see a volleyball player I see a complete person. As a person, he's a really humble, nice kid," Iolani boys volleyball coach Mike Among said. "I think he's the best player in the state, one of the best in the nation, and he still has room to grow, room to improve and get comfortable in his body."
While his presence on the court is unmistakable -- he's helped the to-ranked Raiders to a 7-0 record -- volleyball is just part of Lawson's identity. The youngest of three children, he takes interest in everything from technology to art, with a particular interest in music.
"Without volleyball I'd probably be investing more time into music," Lawson said. "I took piano lessons for like five years and then I stopped when sports started to take off.
"(If I wasn't playing volleyball) I'd go back to lessons and take some voice lessons, too."
In his time at Iolani, Lawson has participated in choir, sang the national anthem at multiple sporting events, and played a role in last year's production of "High School Musical."
His band Summasounds, of which he is the creator and lead vocalist, took first place in the school's talent show last year. They recently performed at Malama Jam, a charity concert with proceeds going to aid the homeless in Hawaii.
"Playing at a big charity concert is a pretty big accomplishment for me and the rest of our band members," Lawson said. "People always tell me, 'I didn't know you could sing.' "
The Iolani volleyball team is not the only group that will miss his presence when he goes to Stanford next year, as some of his band members have already considered what his departure will mean to the group.
But Lawson's concept of teamwork is one that also applies to his band. The group is prepared to make the best of the time he is in town, using Christmas and spring breaks to practice and record music.
Lawson's family has an obvious role in his wide array of interests. His older brother is an engineering student at the University of Hawaii, while his sister plays soccer for Westmont College in California.
While their influence helped him down the right path, his parents have also been available for support.
"My mom and dad, when it came to the college decision, they were really supportive and never pressured me into one thing or another," Lawson said. "They told me, 'Just go where your heart desires and we'll be there for you.'
"In volleyball, they've always let me make my own decisions, as far as where or how much I want to play."
His initial enjoyment of the sport is what caused him to pursue it in the early years. Because it was something he did on his own, apart from the family, he took an even greater interest.
"My dad was my soccer coach when I was younger," he said. "That was kind of hard for me, but then I think it's what contributed to the enjoyment that I feel in volleyball.
"In soccer (my dad) was always there pressuring me to be the best kid, or the most disciplined kid, but now in volleyball I think he learned and just took a step back and let me blaze my own trail."
And in taking his own route, Lawson has used volleyball to experience much more than Hawaii. A two-year member of the U.S. youth national team, he's traveled throughout the country and world, competing against and playing with the game's elite.
In doing so, he developed a newfound attitude on life.
"Two years ago, we went to the Dominican Republic and we didn't have the best living conditions, but we pushed through it, managed to get second and qualify for Worlds," he said. "Seeing a different side of the world and third-world countries really helped me to start appreciating what I have as far as money and a family to turn to."
His two years with the youth national team rank first among his top three accomplishments in volleyball. His others are being named the Interscholastic League of Honolulu player of the year last season and a second-place finish with his 17-and-under team at the Junior Olympics.
"Being around the best guys in the nation definitely helps your game because you can see what they're doing," Lawson said. "And you have some of the best coaches in the nation giving you advice and tips on how to improve your game.
"The five-game upset against Cuba was probably one of the happiest moments of my life."
Coach Among has seen Lawson's growth as a result of the experience.
"When I was coaching at Kamehameha three years ago, he was a freshman, must have been 6-1 at the most and (was) kind of awkward," said Among, who played both volleyball and basketball at UH. "He had what we call a goofy-foot approach.
"I came over (to Iolani) the next year as a coach and he had grown four or five inches. He had worked with the national coaches and they were able to get rid of the goofy-foot approach. He started feeling more comfortable in his tall body."
According to Among, a player Lawson's height would normally be a middle blocker, but because Lawson has been so successful as an outside hitter and a passer, he has not changed positions.
Nor has success changed his outlook.
"Here at Iolani, we have the 'One Team' philosophy," Among said. "All you have to do is sit there and watch and you know he stands out because of how dynamic of a player he is. But he really buys into the 'One Team' philosophy. He doesn't put himself above anybody. We try to keep it level."
A level head is what has kept Lawson grounded. With such a busy schedule, he has learned to prioritize, putting school before athletics, and the team before himself.
He bristles at the talk that he is considered one of the best outside hitters in the nation.
"I definitely think it's an honor," he said, "but I try not to think about it too much just so that I can remain a team-oriented, humble kind of guy."
Athletes of the Week
The senior homered, drove in four runs and pitched six innings in a win over Aiea, and he went 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs against Kapolei.
Mililani softball and track and field
She went 3-for-3 with a triple, double and three RBIs against Aiea. She also took first place in the long jump and triple jump at the OIA Relays at Mililani.
» Breland Almadova
, Iolani: went 3-for-4 with a triple, double and two RBIs against Pac-Five
» Ian Delizo
, Kaimuki: went 3-for-5 with a double, three RBIs and three runs against Waialua
» Dustin Della-Penia
, Kaiser: went 4-for-5 with three runs against Roosevelt
» Travis Derby
, Damien: went 3-for-4 with two runs against Saint Louis and 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs against Maryknoll
» Lucas Gonsalves
, Saint Louis: went 4-for-5 with a triple, double, three runs and two RBIs against Pac-Five
» Bryce Marcouiller
, Kaiser: went 3-for-4 with five RBIs against Roosevelt
» Kama Moises
, Pac-Five: went 3-for-4 with a triple, double, three runs and two RBIs against Saint Louis
» Michael Nagamine
, Mid-Pacific: went 3-for-3 with a grand slam, double and five RBIs against Maryknoll
» Kalani Omoto
, Kapolei: pitched a three-hit shutout with eight strikeouts against Mililani
» Desmond Ontai
, Leilehua: went 3-for-4 with a triple, double, two RBIs and two runs against Campbell
» Moses Samia
, Saint Louis: went 4-for-4 with two RBIs against Pac-Five
» Cole Shidaki
, Saint Louis: went 2-for-3 with a homer, double and three RBIs against Damien
» Derek Tan
, Mid-Pacific: went 3-for-3 with a triple, double and an RBI against Punahou
» Darby Ventura
, Damien: went 2-for-4 with two homers, five RBIs and two runs against Saint Louis
» Christian Whittaker
, Waialua: went 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs against Kaimuki
» Zakry Akagi-Bustin, Leilehua: shot a 77 to win the OIA West boys tournament at Kaneohe Klipper Golf Course
» Sara Koizumi, Pearl City: shot a 78 to pace the OIA West girls at Kaneohe Klipper Golf Course
» T.J. Kua, Kamehameha: fired a 68 to win the ILH boys tourney at Turtle Bay
» Kristina Merkle, Moanalua: shot a 79 to win the OIA East girls tourney at Kaneohe Klipper Golf Course
» Ty Ota, Moanalua: carded a 76 to win the OIA East boys tourney at Kaneohe Klipper Golf Course
» Hayley Young, Mid-Pacific: scored a 71 to win the ILH girls tourney at Turtle Bay
» Lianna Bajarin, Roosevelt: fired a one-hit shutout with nine strikeouts against Kaimuki
» Kori Berinobis, Castle: went 4-for-5 with two RBIs against Kalaheo
» Kai Clark, Kapolei: went 3-for-3 with an RBI against Waipahu; also went 2-for-3 with a game-winning homer in the bottom of the eighth against Pearl City
» Chandelle Dacosin, Castle: pitched a two-hit shutout against Kalaheo
» Makani Duhaylonsod, Mililani: pitched four shutout innings against Aiea, and then fired a four-hit shutout and went 3-for-4 with three RBIs against Waipahu
» Narissa Keao, Waialua: hurled a five-inning no-hitter and went 3-for-4 with two homers, three RBIs and three runs against McKinley; also went 4-for-4 with two homers, five RBIs and three runs against Anuenue
» Breanne Patton, Campbell: fired a four-hit shutout and went 3-for-5 with a double against Pearl City
» Sarah Robinson, Moanalua: threw a five-hit, complete-game win at Castle; also struck out seven in a two-hit shutout of Kailua
» Ashley Smith, St. Francis: hurled a three-hit shutout against Punahou
» Kaili Smith, Kapolei: went 3-for-4 with a triple and three RBIs against Waipahu; hit 3-for-3 with two triples and a double against Pearl City
» Rayna Strom-Okimoto, Aiea: stole six bases against Leilehua
» Felicia Tui, Farrington: went 3-for-3 with four RBIs and went the distance on the mound for a win over McKinley
» Amber Waracka, Kamehameha: spun a three-hit shutout vs. Punahou
» Kaylen Ynigues, Leilehua: struck out 10 in a four-hitter against Aiea
Track and Field
» Jonathan Atangan, Radford: ran for the winning 200, 100 and 400 teams in the OIA Relays at Mililani
» Donniqtay Campbell, Radford: ran for the winning 200, 100 and 400 teams in the OIA Relays
» Zach Coronas, Punahou: won the 100 dash and 800 run in the ILH boys meet at Punahou
» Javen Correia, Pac-Five: took first in the 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles in ILH boys competition at Punahou
» Alex Fowler, Roosevelt: won the long jump and triple jump at the OIA Relays
» Madison Higley, Radford: ran on the winning 100, 400 and 800 teams in the OIA Relays
» Ikaika Kamaka, Radford: ran for the winning 200, 100 and 400 teams in the OIA Relays
» Alana Meditz, Kamehameha: won the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles in ILH girls competition at Punahou
» Joy Piorowski, Punahou: captured first in the long jump and triple jump in ILH girls competition at Punahou
» Christopher Rainey, Radford: ran for the winning 200, 100 and 400 teams in the OIA Relays
» Aaron Tipoti, Word of Life: won the discus and shot put at the ILH boys competition at Punahou
» Brad Lawson, Iolani: pounded 13 kills and had two blocks against Hawaii Baptist
» Kahale Morgan, Kamehameha: had 11 assists, five kills and two blocks against Hawaii Baptist
» Shvanthia Avilla, Kaimuki: scored seven goals against Aiea
Call: 529-4782. Fax: 529-4787. E-mail: email@example.com
Top 10 Baseball Poll
The Top 10 high school baseball teams as voted on by coaches and media from around the state. First-place votes in parentheses. Ten points for first-place votes, nine for second, eight for third, etc. Not including yesterday's results.
| 1. Saint Louis (19), 18-5
| 2. Mid-Pacific (4), 27-2
| 3. Pearl City, 13-3-2
| 4. Punahou, 20-8-2
||lost to Mid-Pacific
||vs. Saint Louis
| 5. Kailua, 19-6
| 6. Waiakea, 9-5
||beat Hawaii Prep
| 7. Baldwin, 14-2-2
||lost to KS-Maui
||vs. Seabury Hall
| 8. Kauai, 12-3
| 9. Maui, 7-0
||beat King Kekaulike
||vs. St. Anthony
|10. Kamehameha, 20-10-3
» Also receiving votes: Waianae 15, Aiea 12, Hilo 10, Kaiser 10, Castle 9, Iolani 4, Keaau 3, Roosevelt 3, Kamehameha-Hawaii 1, Waipahu 1.
» No longer in Top 10 (previous rank): Aiea (No. 9), Kaiser (No. 10).
Top 10 Softball Poll
The Top 10 high school softball teams as voted on by coaches and media from around the state. First-place votes in parentheses. Ten points for first-place votes, nine for second, eight for third, etc.
| 1. Mililani (9), 24-2-1
||vs. Pearl City
| 2. Kamehameha (6), 18-1
||lost to Maryknoll
| 3. Campbell (1), 15-4
||beat Pearl City
| 4. Kapolei, 13-3-1
||beat Pearl City
| 5. Moanalua, 14-7
| 6. Lahainaluna, 12-5
| 7. Baldwin, 9-2
| 8. Maryknoll, 16-7
||vs. St. Francis
| 9. Leilehua, 9-6-1
|10. Castle, 16-12
» Also receiving votes: St. Francis 20, Kailua 14, Sacred Hearts 6, Roosevelt 5, Kaimuki 1, Kohala 1, Pac-Five 1, Waipahu 1.
» No longer in Top 10 (previous rank): St. Francis (No. 8).
Top 10 Volleyball Poll
The Top 10 high school boys volleyball teams as voted on by coaches and media from around the state. First-place votes in parentheses. Ten points for first-place votes, nine for second, eight for third, etc. Not including yesterday's results.
| 1. Iolani (7), 6-0
||beat Hawaii Baptist
| 2. Punahou (4), 3-0
| 3. Roosevelt, 6-0
||none last week
| 4. KS-Hawaii, 4-0
| 5. Waianae, 6-0
| 6. Mid-Pacific, 3-1
||beat Saint Louis
| 7. Kamehameha, 3-1
||lost to Iolani
| 8. Hawaii Baptist, 4-3
||lost to Kamehameha
| 9. Waiakea, 3-0
|10. Pearl City, 4-2
||lost to Leilehua
» Also receiving votes: Leilehua 6, Kalaheo 1, Maryknoll 1, Nanakuli 1.