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Fujimoto Four carry winning pedigree

<p>Hawaii Prep’s Zoe Sims</p><p>Keaau’s Talon Ota</p><p>Ka’u’s Marley Strand-Nicolaisen</p><p>Ke Kula ‘O’ Ehunuikaimalino’s’s Ua Ruedy</p>

By BILL O’REAR

Tribune-Herald sports editor

A talented foursome with numerous championship medals has been named the recipients of the 11th Annual Roy Fujimoto Athletic Scholarships.

The scholar-athletes — with grade point averages of 3.9 and higher — each will be awarded a $1,500 stipend to be used for college.

The scholarship winners are Hawaii Preparatory Academy’s Zoe Sims, Ka’u’s Marley Strand-Nicolaisen, Keaau’s Talon Ota and Ke Kula ‘O’ Ehunuikaimalino’s Ke`öulikamaha`oakauanoe Ruedy.

Ruedy attended the Hawaiian Immersion School and competed in track and soccer for Konawaena.

The annual scholarship program, named after former Big Island Interscholastic Federation executive director Roy Fujimoto, who retired in 2004, is for senior student-athletes. It is sponsored by KTA Super Stores and the BIIF.

The recipients are chosen based on their athletic and academic achievement as well as community service.

“Roy dedicated a lot of his life to the BIIF,” said current BIIF executive director Lyle Crozier, who oversees the nine-member scholarship selection committee that met May 12 at Honokaa to select the honorees.

Crozier said Fujimoto worked hard to improve the league in various ways, and he worked well with the athletic directors and principals.

“But his thoughts were always with the student-athletes first and how we could make things better for them,” Crozier said.

Twenty-six Big Island student athletes applied for the 2013 scholarships.

“We had some outstanding student-athletes apply for the scholarships again,” Crozier said. “The selection committee had a difficult job in getting down to the final four because there were some other high-quality applicants in the running. But after thoroughly going through each application, the committee selected four student-athletes that we believe are outstanding recipients for the scholarships.”

Crozier added: “The selection committee selected Zoe, Marley, Talon and Keoulikamaha based on their outstanding athletic accomplishments as well as their strong academic work and community service.”

KTA Super Stores president Barry Taniguchi said the title sponsor “is honored to participate in this annual program, working hand-in-hand with the BIIF.”

“We would like to extend our congratulations to the 2013 recipients,” Taniguchi said. “We wish them well academically and athletically as they move on to the collegiate level.”

The 2013 honorees are:

• Zoe Sims, a Hawaii Preparatory Academy senior who was a four-year standout in cross country as well as track and field.

As a junior, she helped lead the Ka Makani to the state cross country title on Maui. She was an all-BIIF first team selection in cross country all four seasons, including a two-time BIIF champion, and finished among the top 10 state finishers in each of her last three years.

Sims had a sterling track career, setting school records in the 400, 800 and 1,500 meter runs, and earning BIIF titles in those events during her final three seasons. This year, she set a state record in winning the state 1,500-meter run in 4:36.22 and claimed three state titles in her career.

She also competed in swimming during her senior season and earned most improved honors on the HPA squad.

Sims had a 4.92 cumulative grade point average and scored 2310 on her SAT. She will attend Princeton University next year, majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology.

Sims also was presented the prestigious Presidential Scholar award to go along with various other honors at the private school in Waimea.

Zoe is the daughter of Neil and Kathryn Sims of Kailua-Kona.

• Marley Strand-Nicolaisen, a Ka’u senior who was a three-year standout in volleyball and four-year star in track and field. In volleyball, she was a three-time all-BIIF first-team selection, including twice being named the league’s Division II Player of the Year. As a senior, she led the Trojans to their first BIIF title and they went to the state tournament for the third straight year.

In track, she was a three-time all-BIIF first team selection, excelling in the high jump, long jump and triple jump. As a senior, she won all three BIIF events to earn gold medals in her specialities. Then at the state meet on Oahu, she pocketed three silver medals to cap her sterling career.

Strand-Nicolaisen also played soccer as a freshman and sophomore for the small D-II school.

She had a 3.9 cumulative GPA and scored 1410 on her SAT. She plans to attend the University of Hawaii at Hilo next year and major in biology. She will play volleyball for the Lady Vulcans

Marley is the daughter of Robert Nicolaisen and Laurie Strand.

• Talon Ota, a Keaau senior who was two-year standout in football, track and field, and soccer.

As a senior in football, he was named to the all-BIIF first team as both a wide receiver and a defensive back. He also earned honorable mention as a kicker both his junior and senior years.

As a junior in track and field, he helped lead Keaau to its first-ever league title, then Ota and his teammates defended their title in their senior season, edging Hilo 96.5 to 94 in a thrilling finish. In that recent BIIF meet, Ota earned gold medals in the triple jump and long jump, and as a member of the Cougars’ champion 1,600 relay team. He also claimed a bronze medal in the 400-meter dash and was on the Cougars’ silver medal-winning 400 relay team.

In soccer, he was selected the Cougars’ outstanding athlete his junior and senior seasons, and also presented with the coaches award as a junior.

Ota had a 3.96 cumulative GPA and scored 1330 on his SAT. He plans on attending the Minot State University next year and majoring in health and wellness.

Talon is the son of Richard and Jo Ann Ota of Keaau.

• Ke`öulikamaha`oakauanoe “Ua” Ruedy, a Ke Kula ‘O’ Ehunuikaimalino’s senior who was a four-year standout in track and field, and soccer.

She earned all-BIIF first-team honors each year and was a three-time BIIF champion in the 300-meter hurdles, a two-time BIIF champion in the 200 dash, and a state champion in the 300 hurdles.

In soccer, she was a three-time all-BIIF first team selection and played a key role in the Wildcats’ success each season.

Ruedy had a 3.9 cumulative GPA and scored 1300 on her SAT. She plans on attending the Eastern Washington University next year and majoring in nursing.

Ke`öulikamaha`oakauanoe is the daughter of Scott and Shu-Lin Ruedy of Kealakekua.

Annual recipients include:

• 2003: Mikela Yarawamai (HPA), Bronson Ganir (Pahoa), Erica Chong (Hilo High) and Brad Lau (HPA).

• 2004: Susan Gleed (HPA), Matt Haasenritter (Hilo High), Kyle Teves (Kealakehe) and Kelsey Harrity (Konawaena).

• 2005: Jessica Hanato (Konawaena), Johanson Quist (Hilo High), Francesca Weems (Kealakehe) and Michael Kopra (HPA).

• 2006: Landon Kurata (Waiakea), Katrina Chong (Hilo High), Leon Peralto (Kamehameha) and Jackie Ganiron (Pahoa).

• 2007: Kela Fitzgerald (HPA), Kellie Kitaoka (Konawaena), Kimberly Kopra (HPA) and Keoni Ucker (Christian Liberty).

• 2008: Ryan Higa (Waiakea), Cecily Kimura (HPA), Preston Vierra (Honokaa) and Megan Wery (Kamehameha).

• 2009: Jake Shiraki (Honokaa), Noelani Vargas (HPA), Johnathan Viernes (Pahoa) and Sam Unger (Konawaena).

• 2010: Kaitlyn Chock (Waiakea), Sage Johnson (Honokaa), Tayler Wang (HPA) and Brandon Bautista (Kohala).

• 2011: Richard Handy Jr. (Keaau), Anuhea Wall (Konawaena), Tialana Greenwell (Honokaa) and Morgan Rapozo (Waiakea).

• 2012: Dawnyelle Awa (Konawaena), Jaclanne Pagala (Keaau), Chayce Moniz (Honokaa) and Megan Aina (Kamehameha).

• 2013: Zoe Sims (HPA), Marley Strand-Nicolaisen (Ka’u), Talon Ota (Keaau), Ke`öulikamaha`oakauanoe Ruedy (Konawaena).

*******

Members of the selection committee are Lyle Crozier (BIIF Executive Director), Ron Tomosada (Pahoa AD), Keith Tolentino (Honokaa AD), Kalei Namohala (Ka’u AD), Bobbie Awa (Konawaena basketball coach), Stan Costales (Sports Line), Bill O’Rear (Tribune-Herald sports editor), Joe Ferraro (West Hawaii Today sports editor) and Craig Hamamoto (KTA Super Super Stores).

Roy Fujimoto (ex-BIIF executive director) is an honorary member.

 

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