A talented player who led her school to its first-ever girls volleyball title and a coach who led Waiakea to a pair of state titles have been named the honorees for the Big Island Athlete of the Month for October.
The star volleyball player is Ka’u High School’s Marley Strand-Nicolaisen and the coach is Terence Moniz, the head coach for the Warriors’ boys and girls air riflery teams.
Strand-Nicolaisen, a senior outside hitter, hammered 29 kills to lead the Trojans to a 25-21, 25-27, 25-19, 25-15 win over Konawaena in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division II volleyball championship at the Konawaena High Gym. It was the first-ever BIIF girls volleyball title for the Trojans (16-2), whose only losses this past season came against Division I Kamehameha and Hilo.
Strand-Nicolaisen then led Ka’u to a fourth place finish in the state D-II tournament on Oahu, and was named to the all-tournament squad for her performance.
Moniz led Waiakea to BIIF and state girls and boys championships this past season in air riflery. The state finals were held at Kamehameha-Hawaii and the Warriors rose above the competition with outstanding team performances.
The Waiakea girls claimed the state crown with a 2054 total, followed by runner-up Mid-Pac (2039) and third-place Pearl City (2005).
Waiakea junior sharpshooter Karise Kuroda had a big day, shooting a 537 total to finish third overall and second among the girls. But she got plenty of help as the Warriors pocketed the coveted title.
BIIF champion Lindsey Kimura shot 507 at states and placed 14th. Other Waiakea shooters were Crystal Rances (508, 12th), Kellie Iwasaki (502, 18th), Jamie Ikeda (01, 19th) and Karyl-Lin Yamakawa (496, 23rd). Iwasaki won the state title last year.
The Waiakea boys, behind top shooters Abe Sylvester and Justin-Joe Gray, captured the state title with a 2090 total, ahead of runner-up Punahou (2084) and third-place Pearl City (2060).
Sylvester shot 532 and placed third while Gray, the BIIF champion, shot 528 and placed fifth. Rounding out the Waiakea shooters were Tyler Aburamen (516, 10th), Brentson Kinoshita (514, 11th) and Cody Yamada (499, 22nd).
Moniz was chosen as the Athlete of the Month honoree for preparing and coaching his Warriors to the league and state titles, in a memorable year for the school’s highly regarded air riflery program.
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 November 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline to submit nominations is Dec. 1.
of the Month
• January: Jason Alani, NFL Punt, Pass & Kick national champion.
• February: State champions Konawaena (girls D-I basketball), Kamehameha (girls D-II basketball), Honokaa (boys D-II soccer) and swimming champions Anu Nihipali (Hawaii Prep) and Beth Tsuha (Hilo High).
• March: Kamehameha’s Akoakoa Paleka-Kennedy captured his second straight state heavyweight wrestling title.
• April: UH-Hilo softball standout Aisha Sueda.
• May: Waiakea baseball standouts Quintin Torres-Costa and Kodi Medeiros and Kamehameha volleyball star Evan Enriques and track champion Aukai Akau.
• June: Ronnie Loeffler, Hawaii Stars baseball pitcher.
• July: Madisyn Uekawa, Hilo Aquatic Club swimmer, who claimed five gold medals at the state age group long course swimming championships.
• August: Kahoalii Karratti, Konawaena quarterback, who led the Wildcats to the top of the BIIF Division II standings with his outstanding preseason and regular season play.
• September: Shae Kanakaole, Kamehameha volleyball player, who led the Warriors to an undefeated regular season record with her dominant play.
• October: Ka’u volleyball standout Marley Strand-Nicolaisen and Waiakea air riflery coach Terence Moniz.