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Prep Beat

By Star-Bulletin Staff

Wednesday, June 21, 2000

Amemiya foresees
few problems with
prayer ruling

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision banning student-led stadium prayers before public high school football games probably won't change things much here, according to Hawaii high school sports top official.

The decision handed down Monday was the result of a lawsuit filed in Texas by parents objecting to prayers over the stadium's public address system.

Hawaii High School Athletic Association Executive Director Keith Amemiya expects no problems with compliance.

"With respect to state tournament games, there weren't any prayers before games, and we don't expect any this year, especially considering the Supreme Court's ruling, which we plan to abide by," he said. "With respect to regular-season games, that's a matter for each league to handle."

Amemiya, who is also an attorney, said he does not think post-game gatherings of players for prayers would be in conflict with the ruling.

"That's voluntary and different from pre-game prayers on a P.A. system, because (with the P.A. system) you're not giving everyone a choice. It's more or less a captive audience."

But using the same reasoning, official team gatherings for prayer could be in conflict with the ruling, or other previous rulings dealing with prayer and schools.

"From an attorney's perspective, I think coaches' leading prayers would be (not allowed)," Amemiya said. "It could be considered similar to prayer in the classroom (prohibited by an earlier Supreme Court ruling)."

Ken Nakayama is the recently retired coach of the defending state-champion baseball team from Molokai High School, a public school. His teams regularly prayed before and after games.

"I never had anybody question me about that, and everyone participated," Nakayama said. "But I knew if anyone wanted to they could complain and order me to stop."

Colorado Warrior

Coach Leilani Luke, a 1976 Kamehameha graduate, looks forward to another successful volleyball season this fall at Pomona High School in Arvada, Colo.

In just her second year leading the Panthers, Luke guided Pomona to the state regionals, finishing with a 23-3 record. She's coached prep volleyball for 20 years in Colorado.

She was the Denver Post's 1999 Coach of the Year for the Jefferson County School District.

Not bad for someone who didn't even play the game in high school.

"I played soccer and softball (at Kamehameha)," Luke said. "I just learned how to coach when I was in college (at the University of Colorado)."

She said she keeps up with the Warriors, and was pleased to see them attain a No. 1 national ranking.

"I thought that was kind of cool," she said. "It was, 'Hey, I know those people.'"

Luke has sent players to UTEP, Alabama and the University of Denver. She said she hasn't had a player yet she felt could play for Hawaii.

"Volleyball's pretty big here, but not as big as California or Hawaii. I think even though some of my girls are in the 6-foot-3 range, they're not as strong and dynamic as the girls back home," she said. "But they'll fit in at their programs if they do their weights."

Comings and goings

Star-Bulletin All-State outfielder Mark Soriano of Leilehua is headed to College of the Siskiyous in Weed, Calif., said his coach, Garrett Yukumoto. Soriano, 5-feet-10, 180-pounds, batted .579 in the Oahu Interscholastic Association West regular season. ... Darren Camello, who coached Mililani's boys to the state tournament last season, has resigned to be the first coach at Kapolei. The Hurricanes will start with only a junior varsity team in their inaugural season. ... No replacement has been selected yet for Dacre Bowen, who resigned as Punahou boys' track and field coach after last season. Buffanblu AD Tom Holden said a decision will probably be made next month.

Dave Reardon, Star-Bulletin

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