Record Number Of Kapolei High Athletes Are Off To College

Being known as a student-athlete at Kapolei High these days can only be a good thing.

On the playing field, the Hurricanes sent seven different teams to the OIA championship game in their respective sports this year. In the classroom, they also have done their part, as the school currently boasts an all-time high 18 college-bound student athletes in the class of 2012.

While it’s sent its share of student-athletes on to college programs in recent years, this year’s class is unique, and Kapolei’s athletic department recently held a breakfast for them, their parents and coaches to recognize the senior athletes. While all will play sports in college, many earned academic scholarships to help cover their costs.

“It’s what you hope for,” said assistant athletic director Bryce Kaneshiro, also the longtime boys soccer coach. “The seniors establish the work ethic and the benchmark for the younger kids. They know coming in that expectations are high and that (a college scholarship) is something to strive for.

“This is definitely the largest group we’ve ever had,” he added. “The fact that it is so widespread over different sports is extra pleasing to us. It’s nice to see them be able to get their education through athletics.”

Indeed, Kapolei’s college-bound student-athletes represent seven different teams. Among the signees are three from Kaneshiro’s perennially ranked boys soccer team – Richard Gallarde (Peninsula College), Rowen White (Peninsula College) and Preston Wallace-Williams (Hawaii Pacific University).

Tony Saffery’s girls softball program also announced that three from its senior class would be playing at the next level: Winona Pauline (Eastern Arizona College), Aimee Aipa (College of Southern Nevada) and Mikela Manewa (College of Southern Nevada).

The baseball program headed by Tom Ebanez had three college signees in Robert Depp (Norfolk State University), William Leskovec (Hawaii Pacific University) and Trey Kamachi (Arizona State University).

Track and field has three signees in Devin Jenkins (Southern University), Nathan Shirey (Oregon Tech University) and Charlinda Ioane (University of Hawaii at Manoa).

Other signees include Cesar Mason (Pacific University at Oregon/football), Kiatrell Zachery (San Jose City College/football), Toe Motu (Northwest Nazarene University/girls basketball), Hailey Berg (Peninsula College/girls soccer) and Misty Kaiwi (Peninsula College/girls soccer).

Kaneshiro attributed the large number to “a lot of factors.”

“Competition within the school itself is good; we have a large pool of kids to choose from. They’re getting coaching at the high school level and with their clubs. Kids also start competing at a younger age, and for a lot of them, it’s year round.”

The Hurricanes also were celebrating the success of Kaelynn Canyete and Diane Mikuni, both of whom took home individual titles in their respective weight classes at the recent state judo championships. Canyete is a two-time state champion in judo in addition to having won a state title in wrestling.