Sports Notebook

Days without a gymnasium
are almost over for Kapolei

Vulcans are tough

By Nick Abramo

Kapolei High School's gymnasium is three-quarters done and is on schedule to be completed in June, according to athletic director Elden Esmerelda.

Without the luxury of a gym, Hurricanes athletes have had to rough it ever since the school opened in 2000.

But Esmerelda isn't complaining.

"The kids know that pretty soon they'll have a prime-time facility, so they're willing to wait," he said.

Still, the Kapolei teams have encountered their share of logistical problems.

"It makes practices more difficult for the basketball teams, which practice outside," Esmerelda said. "If it rains, you have to cancel practice. And because the rims are biddy size, we have to bring in portable rims.

"Also, it's all travel, travel, travel, and the kids have to carry all of their equipment because we don't have permanent lockers they can keep their stuff in."

Esmerelda also said ground was supposed to have been broken for the school's football stadium in January, but school officials are waiting for the appropriated money to be disbursed from the Legislature.

He said a target date for work to start is June, with a completion date of June 2004.

"We're planning for it to be done for graduation next year. That's when the school graduates its first class," Esmerelda said.

The stadium facility will have a football field, lockers, a track and two classrooms.

Solid as Wood: She lines up on the right side, but that doesn't mean senior Lehua Wood isn't in the center of the action for the Kamehameha girls soccer team.

Wood is a hustler, a playmaker and a hard-charging defender all rolled into one.

"She's totally passionate and motivated about the game," Warriors coach Michele Nagamine said about Wood. "She always plays with a lot of heart and she has developed a lot of soccer skills throughout the years. We put her out (on the side) so she can have more room to be able to do her thing out there."

Wood's play has drawn the attention of University of Hawaii soccer coaches since she was an underclassman, according to Nagamine, who also said Wood has been accepted to attend UH in the fall.

Setting an example: Aiea's Brandon Rodd got the attention of college coaches with his play for Na Alii football team last season, and he opened the eyes of some of his teammates going through the recruiting process.

"A lot of our kids saw first-hand the recruiting process, saw the amount of coaches that came through and they were just in awe," Aiea coach Wendell Say said. "So a lot of our kids are buckling down and making sure they can have the opportunities Brandon had."

Rodd signed with Arizona State last week, fulfilling a goal he had set for himself by earning a college scholarship.

"It's a great accomplishment and he did it on his own," Rodd's mother, Valerie Lee, said.

JV swim records fall: Kapolei's Meredith Egloria broke two records in the OIA junior varsity championship meet at Kalani on Feb. 1, according to coach Dexter Lee.

Egloria, who also swims for the Hurricanes' varsity team, set records of 53.78 in the 100-yard freestyle and 1:00.67 in the 100 backstroke.

Rough Riders seek bowling coaches: Roosevelt is looking for head bowling coaches.

Anyone interested in the positions can call the Roosevelt athletic department at 587-4626 or send a resume to Roosevelt High School, c/o Athletics, 1120 Nehoa St., Honolulu, HI 96822.


Vulcans are tough,
despite 2-14 record

By Al Chase

The Hawaii-Hilo Vulcans play the Hawaii Rainbows at 6:35 tonight in the first of three appearances this season at Murakami Stadium.

Coach Joey Estrella likes his Hilo team despite a 2-14 start.

"This team is hard working and never gives up," said Estrella, in his 27th year as the Vulcans head coach. "Even Santa Clara said how we keep coming back and battling on offense.

"I'm not pleased with our record, but Arizona State just outclassed us. In all my years coaching, ASU is as good a hitting team as I've seen. I probably won't do that again, play a team of that caliber to start the season, but it was a late add-on and they paid their own way."

The Vulcans will be missing one of their top hitters in third baseman Johnny Dudoit, who is out with a pulled hamstring. If the injury does not get better soon, Dudoit may redshirt.

Hilo's two victories were against Kansas. The Vulcans lost all four games to Santa Clara, but took a lead into the last inning in two of those games but were unable to close out the way Estrella expected.

Hawaii third baseman Schafer Magana tagged UCLA's Kevin Donve in a win Friday night. The Rainbows take on Hawaii-Hilo next.

Daniel Lockett, a senior right-hander who has opened each series on the mound for Hilo, gets the start tonight.

Estrella's tentative lineup looks like this: Nalei Sooto will catch. Around the infield the Vulcans will have Scott McLaughlin at first, Chris Savio at second, Tom Henderson at third and Kevin Drever at shortstop. The outfield will have Doug Nassimbene in left, Kaliko Oligo in center and Shawn Tamura in right.

Checking the 'Bows: Keahi Rawlins, the 6-foot-5 freshman right-hander from Molokai, makes his first start for UH (2-1) tonight. ... Isaac Omura, Brent Cook and Brian Finegan hit safely in all three UCLA games. ... The Rainbows began the fall with 35 dozen practice balls at $32 a dozen ($1,120), and purchased 160 of the 175 dozen game balls on hand at $39 a dozen ($6,240).

Kaput: The United States Baseball Conference, which was supposed to provide a vehicle for six Independent NCAA Division I baseball schools ( UH-Hilo, Texas-Pan American, Northern Colorado, New York Tech, Pace and CW Post) to have a postseason tournament with the winner getting an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament, is defunct, according to Estrella.

Hilo holding on: This is the 10th season the Hilo baseball program has been at the Division I level. Except for two seasons as an associate member of the Western Athletic Conference, the Vulcans have played as an Independent.

The program has the maximum 11.7 scholarships allowed by the NCAA, but there is no recruiting budget. So the mainland players Estrella goes after are signed sight unseen and those same players must commit to Hilo without benefit of an official campus visit.

With victories hard to come by the past two seasons and schools like Baylor, Alabama, Tennessee, Kansas and UCLA on next year's schedule, one has to wonder how much longer the D-I experiment will continue.

New paint job: A number of positive comments has been heard about freshly painted Murakami Stadium. The green outfield walls, the walls in front of the stands and the dugouts all were painted by stadium manager Glenn Nakaya's workers.

The crew, all UH students, includes Amy Sugihara, Mistye Tanaka, Nick Alexander, Doug Hiu, Justin Kawamata, Tyson Nakagawa and Shannon Shiroma.

"This crew busts their butts out there. They did a fantastic job," UH coach Mike Trapasso said.

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