The word around the Interscholastic League of Honolulu these days is to keep an eye on Word of Life Academy over the next few years.
New kids on the block
opening some eyes
in the ILH
By Jason Kaneshiro
The small downtown private school is wrapping up its first year of ILH membership and has more than its share of promising athletes among its 75 students in grades 7-9.
The Firebrands will begin fielding junior varsity teams next year and varsity squads a couple of years later.
"Next year is going to be really important," said Word of Life athletic director Denise Lawrence. "Then we'll see where we stand with the rest of the ILH."
Lawrence said the athletic department is taking small steps into the high school ranks, concentrating on volleyball and basketball.
The school moved up to ILH Intermediate Division II in three sports this year. The boys basketball team led the way by winning the Division II championship.
The girls volleyball team went 10-1 and the girls basketball team finished third in the league at 7-2.
Careena Onosai, a seventh-grader and daughter of former University of Hawaii offensive lineman Joe Onosai, scored 38 points in a victory over La Pietra on April 21. The school also placed 10 players on the Pac-Five intermediate football team last season, including the squad's top running back and receiver.
Incidentally, Joe Onosai, who played football for Pac-Five in the early 1980s, will return to the Wolfpack in the fall as an assistant varsity football coach.
ILH hoops tourney
The fight for the ILH girls basketball crown will come down to round three between Punahou and Kamehameha.
The Warriors' victory over the Buffanblu on Friday at Kekuhaupio Gym left both teams at 11-1 to close the regular season.
Punahou beat Kamehameha on April 6 at home. A playoff at 6 p.m. on Thursday at Iolani will decide the league championship and the ILH's top berth in the state tournament.
The loser will fall into the ILH single-elimination tournament at McCabe Gym for the league's second state tournament spot. The ILH tourney opens May 7 with Mid-Pacific facing Division II champion St. Francis.
The winner plays Sacred Hearts in the second round, with the winner of that game taking on Iolani on May 8.
Maryknoll and University also meet May 8, with the winner advancing to face Kamehameha or Punahou on May 10. The tournament championship game is set for May 14.
Athletes of the Week
Boys>> Blaine Umeda, Iolani baseball: Went 7-for-11 at the plate and drove in eight runs in a pair of Interscholastic League of Honolulu tournament victories last week. He hit two home runs and racked up seven RBIs against Maryknoll on Thursday and went 3-for-5 against St. Louis on Saturday.
Girls>> Kelly Figueira, Sacred Hearts track and field: Surpassed the 22-year-old state record in the long jump with a leap of 19 feet, 3-1/4 inches during the Punahou Relays on Saturday. All six of her attempts in the meet cleared 18 feet. She also ran on the Lancers' winning 4x200-meter relay team.
BASEBALL>> Peter Phillips, Tyler Tanaka and Matt Oda, Punahou: The trio combined to pitch a five-inning no-hitter in the Buffanblu's 10-0 win over Damien on Saturday.
GIRLS BASKETBALL>> Jessica Choy, Hawaii Baptist: Scored 33 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Lady Eagles in ILH Division-II wins over Kamehameha and St. Francis last week. She also had six steals and dished out five assists.
>> Megan Ching, Kamehameha: Scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds Friday as the Warriors handed Punahou its first loss of the season.
>> Tai Soo, Kamehameha: Posted 11 points and 11 rebounds against Punahou.
>> Monica Tokoro, Iolani: Scored 20 points to lead the Raiders past Sacred Hearts on Friday.
GOLF>> Christian Akau, Kamehameha: Shot an opening-round 67 and held off a second-round challenge to capture the ILH boys championship.
>> Stefanie Oshiro, St. Francis: Birdied the second hole of a playoff with Punahou's Lindsay Hong to win the ILH girls title.
TRACK AND FIELD>> Gino Gosiaco, St. Louis: Won the outstanding male performer award at the Punahou Relays on Saturday. The senior won the boys long jump, was a member of the Crusaders' winning 4x100-meter relay team and came in third in the triple jump.
>> Derek Turbin, Punahou: Helped the Buffanblu to wins in the 4x120- and 180-yard hurdle relays and finished second in the triple jump Saturday.
>> Elizabeth Au, Iolani: Tied the Punahou Relays record in the girls pole vault by clearing 9 feet, 6 inches.
>> Tiffany Taylor, Punahou: Ran on victorious 4x100-meter and 4x180-yard hurdle relays and the 4x800-meter relay teams.
>> Kaily Lam and Chanel Zeisel, Punahou: Ran on Punahou's winning girls 4x100-meter, 4x100-meter hurdle and 4x180-yard hurdle relay teams.
>> A refresher on two of the more obscure rules governing the upcoming state tournaments: Baseball players or coaches caught using tobacco products before or during a game will be ejected from the game and from the field. Also, the HHSAA executive secretary has the right to disqualify players from golf tournaments for unsportsmanlike conduct on the course.
Now You Know
Back in the Day
MAY 4, 1996>> Iolani teams capture state championships in two sports. Ryan Yamamoto racks up 12 strikeouts and Derek Ching hits a three-run triple as the Raiders beat Waiakea 4-1 to claim the baseball title at Aloha Stadium. In Manoa, Tiana Fuertes scores 34 points to lead Iolani to a 57-52 win over Kamehameha in the girls basketball title game at the Special Events Arena.
Athletes of the weekTo nominate an athlete, contact the Star-Bulletin Sports Department by 11 p.m. Sunday:
Hawaii School Web Sites