A young athlete with a promising future and sisters with 50-plus years of community commitment have been chosen to a pair of Big Island honors for 2013.
Konawaena High School’s Chanelle Molina has been selected the 2013 Big Island Athlete of the Year. The 5-foot-6 sophomore led the Wildcats to the state Division II girls volleyball championship this past year as well as a runner-up finish in the state D-I girls basketball tournament.
Molina was named the most outstanding player in the state D-II girls volleyball tournament on Oahu. She led the Wildcats to a hard-fought, four-set victory over Big Island Interscholastic Federation rival Hawaii Prep in the state final, finishing with a match-high 28 kills. In the semifinals, she had 18 kills in a win over Waimea. She also had 28 kills in a quarterfinal win over University High.
In the state D-I basketball tournament, Molina was the dominant player for Konawaena, which fell to Kamehameha-Kapalama 45-39 in overtime. Molina was named to the all-tournament squad as well as a first-team All-State selection by The Honolulu Star Advertiser.
The University of Hawaii has offered Molina a basketball scholarship, with her having two more years of high school action under longtime coach Bobbie Awa. The Wildcats recently finished their sixth straight BIIF regular season with an undefeated record.
Sisters Lyndell Lindsey and Sweetie Osorio have been named the 2013 Big Island Sportspersons of the Year. The sisters were outstanding youth, high school and University of Hawaii at Hilo volleyball standouts and have been instrumental for decades in helping run the highly regarded Haili Men’s Volleyball Tournament in Hilo, the largest amateur volleyball tournament in the state for more than 50 years. It runs annually in March.
Lindsey and Osorio were Hilo High volleyball standouts, with Osorio playing on the Vikings’ state championship team as a senior. Both went on to highly successful careers at UHH. Lindsey played two seasons — 1978 and ‘79 — while Osorio played four years, the first season under Mike Wilton and her final three under Sharon Peterson. The Lady Vulcans finished runner-up nationally in 1978 and captured the AIAW national title in 1979; then placed second in 1980 in Osorio’s senior season.
The Haili Men’s Club Invitational Volleyball Tournament began in 1958 in the little Haili Church gym and grew to more than 175 teams by the 1970s and ’80s, and a high of 250 teams in the event’s 50th anniversary. The tournament was the brainstorm of the sisters’ father, the late Thomas Lindsey, as well as close-friends Albert Nahale-a, Kihei Brown and Arnold Nathaniel.
“This year we are celebrating our 57th year,” Lyndell Lindsey said. “Sweetie and I have been co-directing this tournament for over 35 years with the help of family and friends. Everyone does their job and it all comes together.
“We’ve even trained the next generation to carry on our father’s legacy so that it will continue for another 50 years.”
The announcement of the Big Island Athlete and Sportsperson of the Year caps an annual Athlete of the Month program sponsored by Don’s Grill, under owner Don Hoota. The program was founded by the late Jack Matsui more than 30 years ago.
A selection committee picks the monthly winners, who become eligible for the annual Athlete of the Year award. The committee then names a Sportsperson of the Year after accepting nominations from the public.
Members of the selection committee are Hugh Clark, Ramon Goya, Stan Costales and chairman Bill O’Rear.