Star-Bulletin Sports


Warriors earn
respect in annual
running drill

Shayne Kajioka shows the
team what he is made of

» Butts expects to continue impact on kicks
» Preview of Eastern Illinois

By Dave Reardon

It doesn't sound all that difficult for a healthy young man, running 220 yards under 40 seconds, 10 times.

But try it sometime. It's hard even for athletes conditioned as well as those on the Hawaii football team.

Senior safety Sean Butts was one of the few Warriors to complete the annual torture test yesterday -- and being a defensive back, he was required to finish his runs in less time and with shorter recovery periods.

"It's all mental preparation. If you come into this thinking you're not going to make it, you're not going to make it," Butts said. "Coach (June) Jones says you gotta believe, so you believe in yourself and come out and do it."

Of course there's more to it than that.

"It's one of the hardest things we do," Butts added. "Only about 20 people make it out of 100, so it's pretty hard. You just try to come out and do the best you can."

Experience and preparation don't guarantee success in this case.

"It's not easy," senior wide receiver Justin Colbert said. "And it doesn't get any easier. I trained all summer, but I could only do five. The difficult thing is you run down field, get your momentum going, and then you have to stop, turn around and pick up your momentum again."

Still, as smaller teammates dropped out in bunches, junior guard Shayne Kajioka -- all 6 feet, 3 inches and 308 pounds of him -- survived, making it across the line in under 40 seconds every time.

"Last year I finished all 10, too, but the year before I didn't make any," Kajioka said. "I just ran whatever coach Mel (deLaura) gave us for the day (in the summer). I guess it paid off."

On Kajioka's last 220, his teammates began a rhythmic clap, ushering him to the finish.

"That's inspirational for everybody," Jones said of Kajioka, who has lost more than 80 pounds since freshman year. "It shows that there's no excuse for everybody not to make it. Where he was and where he is now shows what kind of heart he has."

Linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa, and defensive ends Travis Laboy and Kevin Jackson also stood out; all three seemed to effortlessly complete their 10 runs. That's because the effort came in the offseason.

"I worked hard," Jackson said. "I have a little left in the tank. It helped that me and Travis pushed each other the last six."

The Warriors do this only once a year, but the coaches watched closely and took mental notes.

"You gotta have mental toughness and that's what this shows," Jones said. "The guys that step out show weakness and the guys that push on through have mental toughness. That's basically what it proves.

"There were not much surprises," he added. "The guys who were here all year, they did 'em."

... In 1983, Niko Noga completed one of the finest careers for a UH defensive player and the Rainbows went 5-5-1. Three of Hawaii's losses were by four or fewer points, including the 21-17 finale against powerful Oklahoma.

Noga, who began his career as a defensive lineman, was moved to linebacker his senior year. The two-time all-WAC first-teamer still holds school records for tackles for loss and blocked kicks in a game. He played for the St. Louis and Arizona Cardinals from 1984-88 (his brother, Pete, a former UH linebacker, also played for the Cardinals in 1987).

Today, Noga lives in Honolulu and participates in strongman competitions.

UH Athletics

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