Q&A: Sacred Hearts champion Dorothy Sanidad

Dorothy Sanidad (left) won the ILH precision riflery individual championship in 2016 and '17, and teammate Dahee Jung won the title in '18. Both led the team to an ILH title this winter. Photo courtesy of Sacred Hearts.

She draws inspiration from an eclectic range of people, from family to snowboarders.

Dorothy Sanidad’s path to success in air and precision riflery is unique, and perhaps not even half as dynamic as she is. The Sacred Hearts senior helped lead the Lancers — including Maile Fox, Clarissa DeSmet and Quinn Lum — to a state championship last fall, posting a total score of 2,132 at Blaisdell Center. Her tally of 544 topped her team and was fourth overall on the individual list.

In 2016, Sanidad placed 17th as a junior with a score of 525. As a sophomore, she placed fifth with a score of 535 in the ’15 state championships.

Sanidad is also a marksman on the SHA precision riflery team, an ILH first-team all-star. She was the league’s MVP as a sophomore and junior. Teammate Dahee Jung captured first place in precision this winter as Sacred Hearts earned the team title.

The program had great success for years until coaches retired. Carlton Lum returned in the past year.

“Dorothy is the reason I came back. She’s an overachiever and she leaves everything on the table. I had retired and I guess she and her father inquired,” Lum said. “I started working with her as a ninth grader and I saw something very special in her. Then she asked me to coach her privately. I couldn’t be happier. I told Betty White and (AD) Ryan Hogue, I think we can get a title within two years.”

Sanidad chatted with Hawaii Prep World on Tuesday.

o Dorothy Sanidad
 School sport
o Riflery
Q&A / Favorites
What is the difference between precision riflery and air riflery?
> Precision is basically what they shoot in the Olympics, suit is canvas and leather. The gun for precision is anywhere from $2,500 to $4,000. Where in sporter air riflery it’s usually $500 or less. The school supplies our rifles. Sometimes girls do have their own, but I was fortunate enough to be sponsored by Coach Lum’s son (Jason). (He was on the team at Nevada.) Since he wasn’t shooting any longer, when I was a freshman, they were looking for someone who was committed to the sport. They talked to me and got to know me a little more.

 Athlete: Shaun White (Snow Boarding)
> Personally, riflery was such an odd sport for me. I was in gymnastics for 10 years, tae kwon do. I was a figure skater for two years. For the majority of my life, I was a gymnast so I like dynamic sports. What Shaun White does is incredible. He’s the one who creates all the flips for his sport. Nobody can go as he can in the half-pipe. He’s always pushing the field. That’s how I wanted to be in Hawaii, to be the best at what I can do. I was actually still considered doing track my freshman year, but once I qualified for nationals, I dropped everything else. I had been shooting for, like, six months. I think it was a fluke. I just had an outlier experience and wound up winning states.

The summer going into my sophomore year, I started working out because the gun for precision is 11 pounds and small board is 13, 14 pounds. You have to hold it for an hour at a time, so my coach encouraged me to start working out. I missed gymnastics so I began to gain a lot of muscle weight, so it changed all of my positions, kneeling, prone and standing. As I gain and lose weight, I learned to compensate for it.

 Food (at home): My dad’s kal bi.
> My dad (Fred) marinates it for a few days beforehand, three to four days so the flavor really gets into the meat. Then he grills it. We actually just had it at the team potluck at the end of the season and it’s the team’s favorite. He adds his own seasonings, but he hasn’t told me what goes in it. He cooks it medium rare and has so much flavor. It’s either that or he does his own ribs, too. He usually buys his own rack of ribs and uses his own rub. He uses kiwi chips and he’s figured out a way to smoke it on the grill for 10 hours. You can literally pull the meat off the bones.

Do you want to master the grill, too?
> Uhh, I’ll leave that to him. Maybe eventually when I’m on my own.

He probably enjoys watching you and your family and friends and coaches devour his cooking.
> My dad loves cooking. As long as everyone enjoys the food, he’s happy.

 Food (eating out): Spicy Ahi Bowl from Pa’ina cafe
> My favorite is the spicy or the Poke Crunch bowl. They don’t put too much on it. Their grade is very good, and they use the tempura flakes. I put the masago (fish eggs) and shredded nori on there.

 Hobby outside of sports: dancing hula
> I started when I was 4 at Halau Hula O Namakahulali. I pretty much kept going but there were a couple months here and there over the last 14 years I had to take a break because I was so caught up in sports and school.

This is definitely another activity for life. Do you plan on continuing, having your kids one day do it?
> Of course. That’s a must.

The halau that compete on stage have such a small margin of error. The pressure must be incredible.
> I don’t dance competitively. I didn’t time for that, but (competitive hula) is like riflery, a single mistake can cost you everything.

 Movie: Murder on the Orient Express or Aladdin
> I like the recent one (Orient Express). I like the cast. All of them have a special place in my heart. He’s a phenomenal actor. I liked the whole murder mystery. You don’t know who it was. The plot was so intricate. Aladdin is my favorite childhood movie. I’m a sucker for Disney movies.

 TV show: Black Mirror or American Horror Story
> Black Mirror originally aired on BBC, but now it’s on Netflix. It’s entirely based on satire and takes something from society and takes it a thousand steps forward. Like Google is developing a contact lens that will see whatever you see. So people have a grain implanted in them and it connects to other people who can watch your memories. So it shows what could happen, things we should not be playing around with. It makes you think about the things you’re doing and what the tech companies are doing. It’s today’s Twilight Zone, but not so paranormal. But it’s so realistic and kind of scary.

 Video game: Left 4 Dead or Mortal Kombat
> I started playing the shooting games before I started air riflery. It’s something my dad and I were looking around, and, ’This looks like fun.’ Also, I’m a big junkie for The Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead, so popular, so many fans claim it’s best show ever, but kind of hit its peak already. True?
> Yeah, I quit watching it after they killed my favorite two characters in Season 7. Where Glenn and Abraham died. The minute they died, I couldn’t finish the episode. I had to watch it over two days.

So from a plot or cinematic point of view, almost every has to die at some point of the series.
> They kind of had to kill them off because they would’ve lost people who read the comic book. They had a tough choice to make.

It’s not like Game of Thrones where there’s no reference point anymore, so they stick to the canon.
> They sort of stick to the comic book, though it goes off topic sometimes, but they still bring in the big events.

 Music artist: John Mayer
> I like a little bit of his older stuff and his newer stuff. I like the older stuff a little bit more, the relaxed stuff. His album Continuum is probably my favorite album. I still like all of his music because of how he’s more of an acoustic artist. And he has a unique voice, for sure.

Have you been to his concerts?
> No, but that’s definitely something I have to do in my lifetime. My range goes from John Mayer to Panic at the Disco. I find myself listen to 1960s or ‘80s music some days.

 Teacher (elementary through high school): Ms. (Jill) Sprott.
> I’ve had her class this year. I’ve had other favorite teachers, but she impacted me the most because I was never really somebody to like my English courses. I’m more of a math and science person, but Ms. Sprott really changed my view. She is extremely open minded and lets her students take what they’re reading and interpret it, and she accepts them and has us expand on them. She knows there’s more than one way to look at things. It’s a good life lesson.

 GPA: 4.197
> I’ve noticed that the people in my grade, those of us towards the top of our class, we know our grades and GPAs as soon as they’re updated. You always want to be at the top, down to the thousandths. It’s insane. I always know my average for school or shooting down to the thousandths.

But you enjoy it.
> I do. I’ve always been very competitive.

 Class: Class of 2018, ranked #10 out of 110 students
> Our graduating class it’s incredible. Most of the girls in our grade are in honor roll. Over 20 girls have at least a 4.0.

 Place to relax: I like relaxing at the beach or curled up on the couch watching my favorite tv shows or
movies

 Motto/scripture: “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” – John Wooden

 What your mom (Erin) says that you can’t forget: My mom always says that I can’t forget to
choose my words carefully.

 What your dad (Fred) says that you can’t forget: My dad says that I can’t say I don’t like something if I never even give it a try first.

 What your coaches say that you can’t forget: My coach, Carlton Lum, says to never forget about having fun in the process of doing what needs to be done.

 How does your sport affect your daily life during the season and offseason? My sport has helped me
with my patience and being able to focus all of my attention on a single or few tasks at a time and get
them done well.

Is there something borderline religious or spiritual about the sport, about focusing, breathing?
> I wouldn’t really say along those lines, not really, but I like to say I always have something going through my brain, but there’s a special place when I’m shooting sometimes. It’s rare that I hit this place, but sometimes I get there. It’s quiet and the thought of being in competition leaves my mind. I’m focused on my shot and that’s all that matters. I just focus on my breathing and my range and my sights and take my shot. It’s the weirdest feeling ever but for some reason everything goes quiet.

 What middle and elementary schools did you attend? I have been at Sacred Hearts since kindergarten.
> I’m a Daughter of the Sacred Hearts.

What would be your advice to a family that’s considering sending their daughters here before kindergarten?
> Definitely, I feel like during the formative years being in an all-girls environment was helpful, not being around mischievous boys. I could be self-confident in my abilities, being around people I’m comfortable with. Not having to worry about boys making fun of me. I didn’t have to worry about any of that.

I think with young boys there can be a lot of energy an distractions
> It’s kind of weird for some of he girls coming in from a co-ed environment. I don’t feel like I’m socially awkward in any way. It’s being able to remove myself from any drama. Nobody has to worry about, Gosh, I have to look good today. So you focus on school. At our school, it’s about being with everyone who has good grades in class.

 What youth teams did you play for? What club do you play for and what are the daily commitments like
year-round?
> I was a gymnast for 10 years at Hawaii Academy
> I did track and field, cross country, and tennis for Sacred Hearts during my middle school
years
> I have been in air riflery at Sacred Hearts since my freshman year

 Where have you travelled for sports and school activities?
o Air Riflery
 Colorado (National Junior Olympics)
 2015
 2016
 2017
 Maui (HHSAA State Championships)
 2016

Is there a future for you at the college level in the sport?
> In my junior year, I actually got in touch with the coach at Ohio State. He’s a Saint Louis graduate and he broke it down about scholarships. The NCAA puts a cap on how many scholarships they can give, which is 3.5, and a riflery team has 15 people to divvy the scholarships out. So a freshman would get 15 percent. They have an All-American shooter, so he gets 40 percent. After seeing how small the scholarship is for how much time I’d have to put in, especially has a STEM major, it doesn’t seem like a path I’ll take. I’d rather go to California or Washington on academic scholarship, going into the medical field.

So the future is medicine?
> Actually, I want to be a reconstructive cosmetic surgeon.

This is for near-fatal injuries?
> So people in an accident, they might not like their appearance after the healing process. I want to join Operation Smile and go to Third World countries. It’s a specialization. Since my dad grew up in the Philippines, he told me about kids he would see, and it translates to other areas in the world, kids who were malnourished before they were born, so they have these deformities. A cleft palate could lead to some health issues down the road. We’re really, really fortunate in America. In the Philippines, they don’t have the facilities or they don’t have the doctors who can do this.

o Gymnastics (National Junior Olympics)
 Houston, TX (2005)
 Schaumburg, IL (2006)
 Memphis, TN (2007)
 Kansas City, MO (2008)
 San Jose, CA (2009)

> I remember it fairly well. The joke was that I loved stressing out my dad and my coaches because when I would practice for nationals, especially when I was 5, I would do my routines and I would never land properly. I’d fail to mount the double mini, a 3×6 trampoline. One foot would always lag and I wouldn’t land on the trampoline, but magically, when I would compete, I would magically land on two feet.

But you stopped.
> It was a little bit because it was expensive, but I was getting injured a lot. To this day, I have some ankle or knee problems. That does a lot of damage especially when you’re still growing. I was practice five to six days a week, three hours at a time. It was intense. On the bars, athletes peak around 16, and that’s where the pressure comes from. It was fun, but it was a lot of time.

 What do you like to do — or what’s something else you’re good at — that would surprise most people?
o I really love working out and being active. I did my first Spartan Race last summer – 8.7 miles
with 25 obstacles – and honestly, I’m hooked. It takes a lot of work to prepare for it, but I enjoy
it.

This is a riflery thing?
> No, it’s a basically a run with obstacle course. It tests your athleticism. I finished 54th out of over 1,000 people, men and women. In my age division, 15 to 18, I finished first.

So you’re going to keep doing this?
> Oh yeah, it’s an international thing so wherever I go, I’m going to try and do them.

 What is your ultimate dream/bucket list? Where would you like to travel, what life would you like to
have as an athlete? And away from sports?
o I want to one day travel to China and go on the Hui Hang trail and Greece to visit locations
where famous Greek myths were set. As for my life as an athlete, I am not continuing with
riflery after high school, but I would like to continue staying active and training for things such
as the Spartan Race. Away from that, I want to various places around the world, experience
new cultures, and eat new foods. However, my main goal in life is to become a reconstructive
cosmetic surgeon and join Operation Smile to help children in third world countries and
repair cleft lips and palates.

 What is the history and background of your name?
o My parents chose my name, Dorothy, because they like the movie The Wizard of Oz and liked
that it is not a common name today.

But the question is, do you like The Wizard of Oz?
> I do, I very much like that movie. It’s definitely timeless.

COMMENTS

  1. Randy March 15, 2018 8:29 am

    A great all around student/athlete..


  2. Paul Davis March 15, 2018 2:57 pm

    What a great interview. It was broad in scope with good questions. Dorothy’s answers reflect the methodical and thoughtful way she approaches everything. As a coach who has had the chance to work with her, I particularly appreciated her thoughtful reply regarding collegiate shooting athletics. Given her stated future goals and the demands they will require, her reply about focusing on academics rather than shooting makes a lot of sense. Collegiate shooting is not high school shooting. There are significant time demands placed on the athletes. Collegiate shooting scholarships are, as she learned, only partial and are divided among the athletes. With only 3.6 available, if fully funded, that’s not a lot of money. I found her to be a very focused, self-disciplined young lady with a great future ahead of her.


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