Braelyn Akana was wide awake at 3:30 a.m. as her family made the trek from the North Shore to the Hawaii Convention Center.
The Kamehameha volleyball standout signed with Hawaii at the Hawaii Class of 2019 National Letter of Intent Signing Day ceremony presented by Education-1st. In all, 69 seniors signed letters.
“From the start of this week, I was super excited. This morning, it was really weird because I didn’t feel tired,” said Akana, who played middle blocker for the Warriors. “My mom, my dad, my grandparents, my sister and some of my friends were there.”
Akana was a late bloomer of sorts, but her training and dedication propelled her to elite status in high school. It all led to that long table with dozens of other signees this morning.
“When they told us to sign and I opened the envelope, oh… there’s a lot of emotions. I was super excited and I was having flashbacks. It felt super weird, but super cool,” she said. “Playing a game is physical, and this was calming. It’s bittersweet because you realize you’re getting older. It’s a new chapter.”
Akana was one of 11 student-athletes to sign a latter of intent in women’s volleyball on Wednesday. Kamehameha teammate Lexis Akeo signed to play at Pittsburgh, where her sister, Kamalani, is a senior for the 10th-ranked Panthers. Another Warrior, Paris Oliveira, signed with Nevada.
‘Iolani also had three players sign with colleges. Setter Kristen McDaniel is headed to N.C. State, Naya Dong signed with Utah, where she will join ‘Iolani alumnae Bailey Choy and Saige Ka’aha’aina-Torres, and Grace Wee is headed to Brigham Young.
Punahou teammates Teana Adams-Kaonohi (Kansas State) and Sinalaulii Moheofo Uluave (Rider University), Damien’s Shelby Capllonch (Nevada), Mililani’s Gabrielle Naniseni (Charleston Southern) and Maryknoll’s Nikki Saito (Temple) also made their college dreams come true.
For the full list of student-athletes who signed letters of intent this morning, click here.