Monday | November 20, 2017
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UH-Hilo notes: “Legend,” trail blazing basketball team to receive hall pass

To hear Earl Tamiya tell it, booster just doesn’t come close to doing Dennis Miyashiro justice.

Try legend.

Distinguished Vulcan Supporter will become Miyashiro’s honorary title Saturday when he’s inducted into the Vulcan Athletic Hall of Fame at 5 p.m. at the UH-Hilo Campus Center Dining Hall.

“I consider Dennis to be a living legend for our program,” said Tamiya, the men’s golf coach. “I sincerely appreciate all he and his wife, Bobbi, have given to our program and to Vulcan athletics.”

According to a school release, Miyashiro is credited with helping the Vulcan Booster Club sprout from its infancy stages, taking over as president during a period during 1970s and 80s when the men’s basketball and women’s volleyball teams were regional and national championship contenders.

The booster club played a key role in the support success of those teams. The club’s membership surpassed 500 at the time, providing resources for UH-Hilo.

“Dennis’ sincere enthusiasm and aloha for the Vulcan athletic programs served as the heart of the success of the booster club during his tenure,” former athletic director Ramon Goya said in a release. “His organizational skills are exceptional. He has made an invaluable impact on Vulcan athletics and the community of Hilo.”

Miyashiro — a Hilo High and UH-Hilo alum who still works in the insurance industry — also became involved with men’s golf, helping with the early planning of the Amer Ari Intercollegiate, still one of the top college golf tournaments in the country, and raising funds for the program.

As a fan, Miyashiro is perhaps most connected to the men’s basketball team. He and Bobbi still like to sit for games at center court, so it’s only apropos that he’ll receive his hall pass along with group who put the program on the map.

Coach Jimmy Yagi’s 1976-77 team served notice early in the season with four victories against Division I teams, then blazed a trail that saw them capture the NAIA District title and go to the national tournament in Kansas City. The following season, the Vulcans again claimed districts to reach nationals.

“It was more of a shock,” Yagi said of the run that saw UH-Hilo routinely pack Hilo Civic. “It was so incredible that it took a long time to comprehend how it happened.”

“Initially, this team didn’t display the collective competitive character to win,” he said. “That only emerged after they were challenged by an impossible schedule.”

The team had all the ingredients — scorers in Jay Bartholomew (21.7) and Jay Hicks (18.3), an assist master in Mark Lovelace whose school-record 9.4 assists-per-game will be hard to top, the multifaceted Bill O’Rear (11.1 points, 5.4 assists) — the longtime former Tribune-Herald sports editor — and center Terry Huffman (6.4 points, 5.1 rebounds). Tom Ziemantz added 11.5 points off the bench and Dan Singleton contributed another seven a game. Others on the roster were David Corbelli, Rama Camarillo, Doug Cameron, Steve Coccimiglio, Bill Naylor and Bill Walling. Yagi was assisted by Dwight Sumida and Joey Estrella, along with manager/trainer Howard Suzuki.

Most of the team is expected to be on hand Saturday along with Yagi, Goya and Estrella.

“One of the realities of aging is fading health, memory and becoming irrelevant,” Yagi said. “But this weekend, with most of the group returning to the original scene of the crime 40 years later, to finally be recognized as a team, I feel relevant, happy and excited.”

The doors open at 4 p.m., and tickets may still be available at the door.

Cross-country

Starting with small steps, UH-Hilo eyes improvement at Saturday’s PacWest championships in Belmont, Calif.

Much as she has for four seasons, Anna Baker-Mikkelson will look to lead the Vulcans in their first 6K this year. Baker-Mikkelson was 49th in the final last season, and juniors Beatriz Duarte and Meghan Langbehn hope to keep pace this time around.

The top five runners count toward the team score, putting an onus on Lizette Garcia, Reyna Garcia Lopez and Genevieve Phillips to run hard as well.

“Your overall team score is only as good as your fourth and fifth runners,” coach Jaime Guerpo said release. “But we are better all the way around and hopefully we are peaking at the right time.”

UH-Hilo finished near the bottom of the 14-team field at team 2016 championships.

“We are a much deeper team this year,” Guerpo said. “I think that we have already surprised a few people with our times. We aren’t going to challenge the top teams, but our goal was to be better this year and we have already accomplished that to an extent. We want to put an exclamation point on that improvement with a good showing here.”

Defending California Baptist is ranked No. 1 in the Cross Country Coaches Association poll.

Soccer

UH-Hilo started the road swing off with a bang, only to finish with a whimper.

Dixie State scored early in each half Thursday in St. George, Utah, sending the Vulcans home with their third consecutive loss.

After holding opponents scoreless for four consecutive matches, including a resounding win at Hawaii Prep, UHH (6-6-1, 3-5-1 Pacific West Conference) failed to score in three matches on the mainland against squads in the upper half of the conference.

The Trailblazers (10-3-0, 6-2-0) outshot the Vuls 23-10 and put nine shots on frame against Jenna Hufford, who allowed goals in the second minute and 47th minute in what was UHH’s final road match of the season.

In the men’s match, Jandir Porta scored both of his team’s goals as the Trailblazers beat UHH 2-0, dropping the Vuls to 0-12 overall and 0-9 in conference.

The Vulcans’ programs play their final four matches at home at Kamehameha’s Paiea Stadium, starting with a contests Tuesday against Notre Dame de Namur.

 

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