Waialua lineman settles on BYU over UH, 4 others


POSTED: Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hawaii. Stanford. Washington. SMU. Colorado.

Graham Rowley looked into his heart and said no to each of those fine schools. Rowley, a 6-foot-4, 270-pound defensive end from Waialua, gave a verbal commitment to the BYU football team on Wednesday.

“;I'm LDS (Church of Latter-Day Saints) and I like their standards and all kinds of stuff like that,”; Rowley said yesterday.

Rowley's father, Dale, skied at BYU. The family is originally from Provo, Utah, and Graham goes there with his family annually. Last month, he made an unofficial visit the BYU campus.

“;I've always wanted to play for a big-time school. I felt really, really comfortable there and that matters a lot to me,”; said Rowley, who was recruited by Cougars defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi.

Graham carries a 3.8 grade-point average and has a liking for physics, but doesn't know yet what he'll major in. He isn't quite sure where BYU will use him, since he has the size to play defensive tackle, but he also lines up at left guard for Waialua. He actually played defensive tackle a few years ago when he was just 180 pounds, but gained speed as he gained weight and went to the edge.

“;I like end, but I'll play anywhere. I like to get a speed rush on,”; he said.

Waialua coach Lincoln Barit wasn't surprised by Rowley's choice.

“;He wanted to commit early and I said, 'Come on, wait a little bit.' But he really wanted to go there,”; Barit said.

Russell Souza, an offensive lineman who played in the 1980s, was the last Waialua player to suit up at the Division I college level (Hawaii). Before him, Noland Baker, a center, went from Waialua to Hawaii in the 1970s.

Rowley also plans to go on a two-year mission after his freshman year.

Another Waialua lineman, Micah Hatchie, has offers from Hawaii, SMU, Oregon, Arizona, Stanford, Washington and Colorado. Hatchie has a 3.3 GPA.

Another Spiker crown

Jason Spiker's perfect senior year continued recently at the Reno World of Wrestling National Championships in Nevada.

Spiker, the Hawaii High School Athletic Association state champion at 103 pounds, pinned all four of his opponents in the 18-under, 103 class at the Reno tournament to capture a national title. His year was phenomenal: 37-0 in Hawaii and 41-0 overall, and every win came by fall. Not one of his matches went past the second period.

“;It was different because there were state champions from other states. I got a feel for what they're like. It's all the same,”; said Spiker, a senior at Kaiser.

Spiker pinned Tony Nguyen of California, Arizona state runner-up Chris Debroy, Idaho state champion Kolten Glider and Oregon state champion Brandon Bowers. His win over Bowers was over in 42 seconds.

Spiker credited his father, John, and older brother (and former state champion) Jonathan.

“;They were helping me work hard and prepare all season. They kept pushing me,”; he said.

His career, it seems, is over. Spiker plans to attend the University of Hawaii this fall. He hopes to coach at his alma mater. He also plans to relish his freedom after losing 5 pounds to qualify for the national tourney.

“;I'm going to eat cookies and a lot of steak,”; he said.