Island Pacific Academy Soon To Have Its Own Gymnasium

It didn’t take Island Pacific Academy long to become a “player” in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu with a lengthy list of accomplishments already in its brief history.

Soon the Navigators also will have an athletic facility to call their own, as the school could begin construction on their new gymnasium as early as the end of the year, according to one source.

“It’s exciting – it will be a real plus for us,” said IPA co-athletic director Roy Tsuchiya. “As far as (success in) athletics goes, it hasn’t held us back.”

IPA is coming off one of its more successful years on the playing field, boasting ILH and state bowling champion Jaymie-Rae Martin, plus state individual swimming champion Austin Hirstein, who won the 100-yard backstroke in February. Hirstein also finished second in the 200 IM at the state meet and is currently being recruited by major Division I programs, including Tennessee and North Carolina.

The Navigators’ boys varsity basketball team also won an ILH Division II title in 2010-11 en route to a state tournament appearance under coach Joe Payongayong. His assistant, Roy Burnett, was recently named the new head coach.

“He has a couple of years with Joe under his belt, and we’re looking forward to seeing how he gets our program moving forward,” Tsuchiya said. “Roy has his own thoughts and approach.”

Without a gym of its own, IPA’s basketball teams have had to practice on outdoor courts in the past. Transitioning to a gym on game day after playing outdoors in practice sessions is among the challenges of the present arrangement.

IPA, which had 680 students last year, also has found a niche as one of few private schools on the West side. Being part of the ILH also is an attractive selling point, given the strength and tradition of the league.

“We’re trying to provide student athletes opportunities to go to school on the West side and still play in a competitive program,” Tsuchiya explained. “That’s a positive thing. Also, at some of the bigger schools, you can get lost in the shuffle and not be able to participate. We’ve never had a cut system here.”

The new gymnasium will include locker room facilities and a weight room in addition to the playing court. “It won’t just be for the basketball and volleyball programs,” he added. “We’ll fulfill the needs of all of our students.”