Amanda Loeffler’s brother and all of her cousins with the same well-known last name were standouts in various Big Island Interscholastic Federation sports and landed college scholarships.
The Hilo High senior completed the 5-for 5-circle when she recently signed to play volleyball at Pacific Union College, an NAIA school in Angwin, Calif., that Newsweek and The Daily Beast ranked as America’s most beautiful college in 2012.
Her brother, Jordan Loeffler, a 2009 Hilo graduate, got a University of Hawaii football scholarship. Her cousin Ronnie Loeffler (Waiakea 2004) played at UH-Hilo, and his brother Matt Loeffler (Waiakea 2010) is pitching at New Mexico State.
Her other first cousin is Chynna Loeffler, a 2012 St. Joseph graduate, who played volleyball at Skagit Valley College, a juco in Mt. Vernon, Wash.
“I really enjoyed my visit and the campus was beautiful,” Amanda Loeffler said. “Coach Brittany Brown really showed interest in me and made me feel comfortable. PUC has good academic programs and I always wanted to see California, and this will be a good experience.”
The 5-foot-10 Loeffler landed on the All-BIIF first team as a junior and senior at outside hitter. She’s also a four-year golfer at Hilo, and received golf scholarship offers from a half-dozen schools, including UH-Hilo and George Fox, a Division III powerhouse.
She’s on Carla Carpenter-Kabalis’ club team Hi Intensity and planned to play in the Haili tournament.
When she took a recruiting visit two weeks ago, Loeffler practiced with the Pioneers and left an impression, not only with her playing ability but also her personality.
“Amanda was a huge get for our program and it will be exciting to see such a seasoned player grow over the next four years,” Brown said. “She will increase the level of play in games and practices and her vibrant personality fits in well with our team culture.”
During her two-day visit, Loeffler also discovered that PUC is a vegetarian-friendly school. Her dad, Daniel Loeffler, who owns Loeffler Farms Inc., joked he would sent her kalua pig.
“Even though they’re a vegan school, they have really good food,” she said. “They have meat-like products. Basically, if the girls want to eat meat they have to drive off campus. The breakfast was really good: pastry, yogurt, oatmeal and parfait.”
In the 2013 season, PUC finished with a 17-9 record, including 7-5 in the California Pacific Conference. The Pioneers don’t have a golf program.
Loeffler, who has an 84 scoring average, and her brother Jordan grew up playing the game. He golfed as a Viking freshman. Their dad also golfs and they buy her lunch after she routinely beats them.
The Loeffler siblings learned the game from their maternal grandfather, Clement Nelson. Loeffler’s mom, Jennifer, a pharmacy manager, and grandmother Amy don’t golf. But apparently the golfing gene carries to that side of the family.
“My first cousin Nick Nelson is a Moanalua sophomore and he’s really good. He shoots in the 70s,” said Loeffler, whose family tree is sprinkled with athleticism.
Daniel’s father, William “Bud” Loeffler, who died last August, was a pitcher back in his day. His mom Leila, who passed away in 2011, came from talented athletic stock. Her dad was Carl Lee and his brother was Harold Lee, who was considered the greatest all-around athlete in pre-World War II in Bremerton, Wash., back in the late 1920s, according to the Kitsap Sun website, kitsapsun.com.
Hal Lee was a University of Washington Hall of Famer in basketball, and was a two-time All-American. He was known as “Huddle” and Carl as “Cuddle.” Daniel has an old newspaper clip when the two combined for all the points in a basketball game at Union High.
Washington State’s legendary basketball coach Jack Friel, during a 1937 interview, called the late Hal Lee the greatest hoopster ever turned out by the Huskies, according to the Kitsap Sun newspaper.
“My great grandmother came from Norway and she was 6 feet 5,” said Daniel, who like Jordan, is 6-5. “The Lee side of the family were very tall people. But the talent came from all sides of the family.”
Loeffler, who has a 3.0 grade point average and plans to major in communications, is the last one to get a college scholarship. She had a strong support system with both sets of grandparents, and like her cousins and brother has one other familiar family gene.
“My grandma Nelson did a lot for me, taking me to every single practice and making me lunch,” Loeffler said. “With the scholarship, I feel happy for my parents that they don’t have to pay for my school. My brother is going to graduate in May with a sociology degree and will go for his masters in psychology at UHH.
“I can relate and talk to my brother and cousins, and they can give me advice. My Loeffler grandparents, even though they’re not alive, I’m sure they’re proud, too.”