Small Size Means Great Opportunities For Waialua Students

The more sports the merrier is the theme when it comes to Waialua High School, according to athletic director Bryce Kaneshiro. At a time when specialization in one sport is as common as ever at the prep level, Waialua is thriving with student-athletes who are playing multiple sports.

Of course, low enrollment demands it, but the school can be proud of its athletic achievements over the past year.

“As an athletic director I’d love to see championships, but more important are the life lessons learned through athletics,” Kaneshiro said. “Sports gives them a sense of belonging and the opportunity to represent (the community) with Bulldog Pride.

“I’m always happy with the effort our kids put in,” he added. “If they play to win and give their best effort, it’s all we can ask. We have limited numbers, so we depend on a lot of kids to play two or three sports. They keep the program alive.”

Among the advantages of playing multiple sports is that it keeps them fresh, in Kaneshiro’s view. “I grew up playing soccer and baseball (at Aiea High), and what I enjoyed was that it gave me a break from one of the sports when I was playing the other. It made me want to come back to it that much more.”

Of Waialua’s 425 students last semester, 228 were playing at least one sport at the school. “We had 26 kids playing three different sports, and seven kids playing four sports,” Kaneshiro said.

Among the multi-sport athletes this spring were seniors Amber Alejandro and William “Tripp” Blaser. Both were among 30 student-athletes honored at the HMSA Kaimana Awards and Scholarship Program awards luncheon at Hawaii Convention Center. HMSA presented each honoree — representing all five Hawaii High School Athletic Association leagues — with a $3,000 scholarship.

Alejandro competed in softball, volleyball and soccer. Blaser was on the boys basketball team in addition to competing in tennis and golf for the Bulldogs.

Kaneshiro also had high praise for Waialua junior-to-be Brandon Aceret, who qualified for both the judo and state wrestling championships. Aceret also was OIA junior varsity individual champion in his weight class.

Waialua had several teams turn in solid seasons in 2013-14. The football team won three games after going winless the season before. The baseball team made the OIA playoffs, while the softball team had yet another winning season under Jay Keao, going 13-6 overall en route to qualifying for the Division II state softball championships. Waialua also fielded a water polo team for the first time ever this spring, finishing 6-6.

“The program is definitely headed in the right direction,” Kaneshiro said.