GPA camp going strong for a decade, showcases top Hawai’i high school football athletes

GPA camp going strong for a decade, showcases top Hawai’i high school football athletes

 

GPA camp going strong for a decade, showcases top Hawai’i high school athletes

BY MICHAEL LASQUERO | HSRN
PUBLISHED JUNE 9, 2024

HONOLULU — One of the top prep football camp on the islands is still going strong after 10 years.

The Gridiron Performance Academy held its 10th annual combine and showcase with multiple college coaches in attendance with an all-day event Saturday on the campus of Saint Louis School.

Instead of athletes having to fly up to the mainland to get exposure and recruited, the GPA camp brings scouts and coaches down to Hawai’i in a consolidated location for everyone to get looked at and evaluated.

“That’s a good thing that they’re doing. We live on a rock so it’s hard to get exposure,” said Mililani senior running back Nakoa Kahana-Travis. “It’s just a good thing that they’re coming down here to check us out.”

Current NFL players and Saint Louis alumni like Miami Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa and the Pittsburgh Steeler’s Nick Herbig have all participated in the camp in the past.

“Been a decade, hard to believe that, but when I start thinking back to Tua Tagovailoa, Herbig and all those guys that came through GPA and to see it continue here today, a lot of hard work, my wife (Lori), my partners Jesse Sapolu and Galu Tagovailoa, they’ve done a great job of make this a success,” said camp organizer Rich Miano.

One thing that Miano was most proud of was having the ability to provide a way for student-athletes to attend the camp for free — especially those affected by the Maui fires in Aug. 2023 — through the sponsorships of Southwest Airlines, Cutter Mazda of Honolulu, the Tua Foundation and the Motiv8 Foundation. 

“What happened in Maui, we all want to be a part of healing, and for Southwest to have 25 round trip tickets, to have Cutter automotive group have 50 scholarships (to attend the camp), and then you look at the Tua Foundation with two scholarships to every school in Hawai’i, we got guys from Lana’i, we got guys from Moloka’i, we got guys from every island. You look at Motiv8, same thing,” Miano said.

NCAA recruiting rules prevented Division I FBS coaches from attending the camp, but over a dozen coaches from the Division II, Division III and the NAIA were in attendance such as Lindfield, Pacific and Olivet Nazarene University, and we’re able to scout and even handout scholarship offers to come play for their program.

“Not a lot of people can get the D1 opportunity so it’s good that these small schools are here,” said Mililani senior receiver Lehiwa Kahana-Travis.

The college coaches also made sure to emphasize that being a student comes first if you want to play on the next level.

“Academics is a big factor in this process,” said Nakoa Kahana-Travis. “These colleges come down and they ask for your grades, that’s the first thing they come up to you and talk to you about.”

In addition to the position group showcases and getting coached up by other local high school coaches, the GPA camp also has a combine element and classes where student-athletes and their families can get educated on various elements of recruiting.

“We continue to try every year (to have) the combine, which is tough to do logistically,” said Miano. “We’re also doing the classrooms where we’re doing financial planning with Lisa Sapolu and Diane Tagovailoa, and we have college coaches talk about recruiting and the science of FAFSA, so all this whole recruiting thing is an exact science and it continues to change so there fore we need to make sure our people have knowledge. Our parents, the mentors, the coaches here in Hawai’i, so we really put our big emphasis on the recruiting aspect of it and trying to navigate that.”

Defensive Line MVPs
Julian Scanlan — Castle
Shaden Niu — Kahuku
Zaden Mariteragi — Farrington
Vincent Tautua — Saint Louis

Offensive Line MVPs
Trytin Ellis-Navares — Saint Louis
Pa’u Spencer — Kamehameha-Maui
Matai Malufau — Kahuku
Rob Crowell — Saint Louis
Efren Siuloa — Kahuku

Hawai’i Football already with five verbal commits from the class of 2025

Hawai’i Football already with five verbal commits from the class of 2025

 

Hawai’i Football already with five verbal commits from the class of 2025

BY MICHAEL LASQUERO | HSRN
PUBLISHED JUNE 3, 2024

The University of Hawai’i football recruiting class of 2025 more than doubled its total amount with a trio of verbal commitments over the weekend.

Linebackers Żaden Mariteragi and Aisiah Paogofie and receiver Brandon Gaea made the announcements on Sunday after taking an official visit to the campus. They join a class that includes receiver Titan Lacaden and offensive lineman KJ Hallums.

Mariteragi, who will play his senior season at Farrington after helping Kahuku win an Open Division state title in Fall 2023, is the son of former Rainbow Warrior Rocky Savaiigaea. Mariteragi was primarily an edge rusher for the Red Raiders, but he also showed his utility as a placekicker and kickoff specialist.

Paogofie earned All-OIA Open Division second team honors as a defensive utility player for the Campbell Sabers. He is a rangy prospect at 6-foot-2 that can also double as a box safety.

Gaea hails from Bishop Gorman and is a 6-foot-1, 185-pound receiver that boasts a 4.0 grade point average. He is also rated as a three-star prospect by 247Sports.

Lacaden, a 5-foot-8, 155-pound slot receiver out of Saint Louis, was the first one in the recruiting class to make his commitment before the 2023 football season. He earned ScoringLive All-Hawaii First Team honors after hauling in 84 passes for 1,019 yards and 12 touchdowns while also showcasing his abilities on the defensive side of the ball in a two-interception performance against Kamehameha.

Hallums, a 6-foot-2, 280-pound interior lineman, made his commitment over Twitter in January. He is the son of former Hawai’i men’s basketball player and current Spectrum Sports analyst Kawika Hallums.

OIA Football regular season games to watch for during the 2024 season

OIA Football regular season games to watch for during the 2024 season

 

OIA Football regular season games to watch for during the 2024 season

BY HSRN Staff
PUBLISHED MAY 21, 2024

An early look at the 2024 OIA Football schedule draft has our staff at Hawai’i Sports Radio Network circling a number of regular season games on our calendars.

The full schedule hasn’t been released yet, but here are 15 league-play matchups to watch for:

Aug. 10th Saturday
Radford at Moanalua
—Early regular season matchup between neighboring rivals in the Battle for the Boulevard

Sept. 6th Friday
Waianae at Pearl City
—Season opener for Seariders, who moved down from Open Divsion, and Chargers, who moved up from Division II

Sept. 13th Friday
Kaimuki at Roosevelt
—Rematch of the 2023 OIA Division II Championship between the Bulldogs and Rough Riders

Sept. 14th Saturday
Farrington at Campbell
—Open Division season opener with the Governors traveling down 76 South for a Saturday afternoon tilt

Sept. 20th Friday
Kalani at Kaiser
—East Honolulu rivals square off in Hawaii Kai in key OIA Division II matchup

Sept. 21st Saturday
Farrington at Kahuku
—First trip to the North Shore for the Governors since 2019

Sept. 27th Friday
Waipahu at Kapolei
—Sixth meeting between the two teams as Hurricanes host Marauders for homecoming

Sept. 28th Saturday
Kahuku at Mililani
—Rematch of last year’s OIA and state Open Division championship games

Oct. 3rd Thursday
Kalaheo at Waialua
—Mustangs and Bulldogs face each other in lone regular season Thursday night game

Oct. 11th Friday
Campbell at Waipahu
—First regular season meeting for the Cane Knife trophy since 2013

Oct. 12th Saturday
Leilehua at Moanalua
—Key matchup in Salt Lake between OIA Division I contenders

Oct. 18th Friday
Waianae at Nanakuli
—First meeting between Westside foes since 2009

Oct. 19th Saturday
Farrington at Waipahu
—Rematch of the 2023 OIA Division I championship and state semifinal

Oct. 25th Friday
Kalaheo at Castle
—First regular season meeting between Windward schools since 2007

Oct. 26th Saturday
Aiea at Kailua
—Saturday afternoon tilt in a rematch of a Division I playoff game last season

Maui, Baldwin declared co-state champions in HHSAA Division I Baseball

Maui, Baldwin declared co-state champions in HHSAA Division I Baseball

Maui, Baldwin declared co-state champions in HHSAA Division I Baseball

BY MICHAEL LASQUERO | HSRN
PUBLISHED MAY 19, 2024

Maui strong.

For the first time in state tournament history, the Wally Yonamine Foundation/HHSAA Division I Baseball Championship was shared by two teams.

Maui and Baldwin, who hails both from the Maui Interscholastic League, were declared co-state champions after inclement weather and numerous factors saw their championship game matchup halted in the top of the third inning at Moanalua Saturday afternoon.

History was already made with the title game being the first-ever all-MIL final in the 64th year of the state tournament in what would be the sixth meeting between the two teams this year, but rain and time constraints prevented the matchup from being completed.

The tournament started on Tuesday at Les Murakami Stadium, but weather postponed all semifinal matchups from Thursday to Friday. Murakami Stadium was unavailable on Saturday and Sunday due to Farrington and Mililani graduations respectively, while the Sabers and Bears have graduations scheduled for Sunday and Monday as well.

The Division II final between Kamehameha-Hawai’i and Damien was relatively unaffected by weather before heavy rain delayed the 12:45 p.m. start of the Division I title game by one hour and three minutes. Once the rain subsided, the decision to start the game was made between the HHSAA officials, school administrators, coaches and players. The game officially began at 1:48 p.m. but umpires called a rain delay at 2:53 p.m.  Forty-six minutes later, at 3:39 p.m., HHSAA officials and school administrators called the game due to safety concerns.

Multiple scenarios were considered to complete the game at a later date and venue, however due to end-of-the-school-year activities, including graduations, no viable options were available to complete the game.

The stoppage in play also came after two Baldwin batters were hit by pitches, possibly due to the ball being slippery to control. Players were not made available to the media for comment.

“We tried to get the game in,” said Baldwin coach Craig Okita. “There were different scenarios. I guess with the rain not letting up, the (Baldwin batter) getting beaned in the head, they felt safety-wise, it would be the best thing for our kids. I actually agree with the decision.”

He continued, “It sucks, as you can see from both sides. This is not the feeling you have after winning the state championship. It sucks and I feel for my seniors because they’ve been close twice and haven’t gotten it. This was our opportunity and we weren’t able to do it again. I mean, co-champs is still champs, but it’s not the same.”

The Bears were runners-up the past two tournaments, to Kamehameha last year and Waiakea the year before that.

The game was halted after Baldwin tied the game at two in the top of the third with one out and the bases loaded. However, Saturday’s game did not meet regulation standards (at least five innings), so it was as if it wasn’t played. Statistics do not count and the game does not record as a tie, official scorer Thomas Yoshida said. Since the game did not meet the requirements of a regulation game, it was an administrative decision to declare the teams co-champions.

“It was hard on all the boys, even Baldwin, too,” said Maui coach Chase Corniel. “Everybody playing this game, it was a tough battle for two great teams.”

This is Baldwin’s seventh title and first since 2018 and Maui’s third and first since 2017. Each team will receive a championship trophy.

The Sabers won three of five matchups against the Bears this year and were the MIL champions.

Kamehameha-Hawai’i dominates Damien to win second state baseball championship

Kamehameha-Hawai’i dominates Damien to win second state baseball championship

Kamehameha-Hawai’i dominates Damien to win second state baseball championship

BY MICHAEL LASQUERO | HSRN
PUBLISHED MAY 19, 2024

There is a new champion in Division II baseball.

Third-seeded Kamehameha-Hawai’i dethroned two-time champion Damien in convincing fashion with a 12-1 mercy-rule win Saturday morning at Moanalua in the Wally Yonamine/HHSAA Baseball Championships.

The Warriors (16-1) used a nine-run surge in the top of the first to pull away for their second state title in school history, their first since 2016.

“It’s means a lot,” said winning pitcher Shiloh Santos. “We wanted it for Hilo, our school, our families and for each other and that’s really important for us.”

KS-Hawai’i sent 15 batters to the plate and scored nine runs on eight hits in the first half-inning of the game.

“You can’t ask for anything better when you score nine in the first and you don’t even have to go out on the mound,” said coach Andy Correa. “It’s a real comforting thing and it really puts you in a relaxed state to play the rest of the game.”

Kaohu Kawelu, Dominic Christensen and Santos all recorded multiple hits for the Warriors. Kawelu, Elijah Okano and Braden Gomes also scored twice.

“Our mindset was just to hit,” said Kawelu, an HPU-commit. “No matter where, to hit the ball, hit it hard and put it where they weren’t so it worked out in our favor.”

The first state title in KS-Hawai’i’s history was won on Hawai’i Island at Wong Stadium, but this year was different. The Warriors also had to resume their semifinal game against Kauai with inclement weather forcing numerous schedule changes during the tournament.

“It was really nice to overcome adversity in the trip during the season,” said Correa. “It was a nice reward for the kids.”