Wednesday | February 22, 2017
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Camacho, Min shine brightly

Kealakehe swimmer Leahi Camacho and Hilo golfer Ciera Min have been named the co-Big Island Athlete of the Month for August.

Camacho, 17, a Kealakehe High senior, swam the 26-mile Kaiwi Channel, from Laau Point, Molokai to Sandy Beach, Oahu in 14 hours and 43 minutes. She battled 20 miles per hour winds and 6 to 7 foot swells in the rough open ocean swim and fought off a jellyfish sting and fatigue to become the youngest swimmer to accomplish the feat.

Camacho is only the 27th person to swim the grueling roughwater course and she did it in the 9th fastest time.

Min, a Hilo amateur golfer, became the first female in the 90-year history of the Big Island Amateur to capture the coveted title. She beat 19 men to claim the championship.

Min carded a 75 at Mauna Lani Resort for a one-stroke victory over Clayton Amuro in her last tournament before leaving for Gonzaga University. She will play golf for the Zags this year on a golf scholarship.

Min, a 2013 Waiakea graduate and a two-time Big Island Interscholastic Federation golf champion, finished with a 151 and overcome a four-shot deficit at the Francis H. Ii Brown North Course. First-round leader Shon Katahira opened with a 72 on Saturday but struggled with an 82 in the final round and wound up fourth.

The Big Island athlete of the month program is sponsored by Don’s Grill, under owner Don Hoota. The athlete of the month as well as athlete and sportsperson of the year programs were founded by the late Jack Matsui.

Members of the selection committee are Hugh Clark, Ramon Goya, Stan Costales and chairman Bill O’Rear.

Nominations for the September athlete of the month may be sent to Don’s Grill, 485 Hinano St., Hilo, HI 96720, or to Bill O’Rear, Tribune-Herald Sports, P.O. Box 767, Hilo, HI 96721; or e-mail

The deadline to submit nominations is Oct. 1.

2013 winners

January: UH-Hilo basketball player Kamie Imai.

February: Kamehameha basketball player Casey Poe.

March: UH-Hilo pitcher Vanessa Salinas, national judo champion Tyler Yonemori.

April: Waiakea golfer Ciera Min.

May: Hawaii Prep’s Zoe Sims, state track champion.

June: Hilo golfer Ciera Min.

July: Southside boys 14’s volleyball team.

August: Kealakehe swimmer Leahi Camacho, Hilo golfer Ciera Min.


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