Heart of a Warrior
POSTED: Sunday, March 29, 2009
She took the road less traveled to rediscover love back in the islands.
Meleana Shim left home more than a year ago to further her college opportunities. It was an unusual, but understandable, transition for the All-State midfielder from Kamehameha. After a year of living in Arizona and playing at an elite club level, Shim returned home and hasn't looked back since.
As a senior, Shim had her finest season, becoming a first-time player of the year in balloting for the Star-Bulletin Girls Soccer All-State team. She scored 12 goals in Interscholastic League of Honolulu play and was a leader on a relatively young Warrior squad.
"There were girls around me all year who were just as good if not better," Shim said. "It's just a real honor. It wouldn't have happened if it weren't for the girls on my team."
One of her biggest fans was happy to see Shim return.
"Her spirit and her heart are what I valued most as a coach," Kamehameha guru Michele Nagamine said. "She's so passionate about the game, and it flows into everything she does. She stays late after training to work on something. She'll stay to help someone with crossing and drilling."
Shim has signed with Santa Clara, where she'll have a partial scholarship as a freshman and a full ride after that.
"There's a specific tournament I played at in Florida that I really played well," Shim said of her mainland venture. "(Santa Clara) liked my technical skills and my vision. They thought I'd be a good Bronco."
Shim was a narrow selection to the honor, outpointing Punahou senior Aisha Price, the most outstanding player of the state tournament. Despite an injury in the postseason, Price's unmatched throw-in skill led to the lone goal in Punahou's state-title victory over Kamehameha.
"She has tremendous flexibility, an unbelievable athlete," Nagamine said.
The D-I state finalists, Punahou and Kamehameha, landed four players each on the first team. Other spots were claimed by an array of talent from the Oahu Interscholastic Association.
Mililani senior forward Chelsey Goo, who scored 17 goals, was voted to the first team. Goo, the OIA Red West's player of the year, scored four goals at states.
Moanalua sophomore Tiana Fujimoto also landed on the squad. The fleet-footed forward led the OIA Red East with 18 goals. Another OIA Red East standout, Tani Costa of Kalani, was elected despite missing time with an ankle injury. Costa, the state's top recruit, scored 10 goals. She will attend Penn State.
The list of top defenders is led by Punahou senior Jayann Gabrio.
"J.J.'s one of the most intimidating defenders I've ever seen," Nagamine said. "She tackles like no one I've seen in recent memory. Her ability to read the game and know when to commit, that's what got her committed to Cornell."
Punahou's Matt Martinson was voted coach of the year. Martinson, a physical education teacher at the school, led the Buffanblu to a 13-0-3 mark and their ninth state championship.
"I'm just really happy for Matt. He works hard and he's dedicated to the kids," Nagamine said. "It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. I'm glad he got to experience that kind of elation, winning a state championship."
Player of the Year
Meleana Shim, Kamehameha
Coach of the Year
Matt Martinson, Punahou
|F||Mia Minkler||King Kekaulike||Sr.|
|D||Tobi Kaneshiro||Pearl City||Sr.|
|GK||Melanie Dickson||King Kekaulike||Sr.|
Forwards-Becca Hiraishi, Hilo; Teisha Parker-Nacis, Waiakea; Pua Hall, Kamehameha-Hawaii; Jessica Marote, Kamehameha-Hawaii; Beverly Quiamas, Honokaa
Midfielders-Jacquie Watkins, Aiea; Mehana Kane, Kamehameha; Chelsy Okuma, Kaiser; Arden Matro, Kalani; Alexandria Jones, Moanalua; Leina'ala Song, Kamehameha-Maui
Defenders-Ashley Deguchi, Mililani; Brandi Hutchins, Pac-Five; Amy Austin, Kaiser; Ashley Okazaki, Roosevelt; Haley Chee, Kalani.
Goalkeepers-Kiana Kaiwi, Kapolei; Rosie Nakata, Mililani; Lauren Merritt, Kailua; Joy Nakahara, Roosevelt