Q&A: Waipahu spiker Jeminae Solomua

Waipahu senior Jeminae Solomua has the Marauders in the OIA boys volleyball semifinals. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser.
Waipahu senior Jeminae Solomua has the Marauders in the OIA boys volleyball semifinals. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser.

His mother, Lani Solomua, heard the name Gemini while watching a TV show one day.

That’s all it took. When he was born, Jeminae Solomua was destined to become a star. The Waipahu three-sport student-athlete is the power behind Waipahu’s explosion in OIA boys volleyball. The Marauders sealed a state-tournament berth last week with a win over Kaiser. Solomua chatted with Hawaii Prep World before Waipahu plays Mililani in the OIA semifinals tonight and was featured in Tuesday’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Jeminae Solomua
Waipahu volleyball

Q&A / Favorites
Athlete: Michael Jordan. Not afraid to try and to fail.

Team: Waipahu Marauders!!!

Food (at home): Meat loaf by my mom (Lani Solomua).

HPW: Your mom’s meat loaf — I kind of wish I could try it. What is the process? Could you cook the same exact recipe?

JS: I would never be able to make the same recipe as my mom ‘cause it has her own personal touch, but the part she would always let me take part of is rubbing a whole lot of ketchup on the loaf of meat with my hands. Sort of like a massage with ketchup.

HPW: Sounds like your dad is not a great cook, but I’m guessing he can cook a little. What can you cook?

JS: Well, my dad makes the best BBQ because of his secret sauce. I can cook whatever comes with instructions. But I mostly don’t cook.

HPW: Secret sauce. Spill the beans!

JS: My dad has only entrusted me with the sauce ingredients and the rest is all made by taste.

Food (eating out): Korean BBQ (Meat Jun).

HPW: Meat jun over kal bi? Which restaurant has your favorite?

JS: I would definitely take meat jun over kal bi any day. I like Yummy’s or Tasty’s

Hobby outside of sports: Singing.

Movie: Finding Nemo.

TV show: Chopped.

HPW: If Chopped is your favorite tv show, you probably have some cooking skills.

JS: I do not have any cooking skills. I usually watch to just see the process and pretend like I’m actually eating that food

Video game: Sly Cooper Series.

HPW: Explain Sly Cooper to someone who hasn’t really played video games aside from Call of Duty and Madden.

JS: Well, it’s a trio of characters who all have different skill sets and are helping one of them avenge the death of their family members. It’s like a spy version of assassins creed basically.

Music artist: Drake

HPW: Do you consider Drake a rapper, singer or something in between?

JS: I consider him something in between, but mostly a rapper.

HPW: Favorite Drake song is?

JS: Started from the Bottom

HPW: Is Drake part of your warmup ritual?

JS: Yeah. I have a whole lot of his songs in my “Game Day” playlist.

Teacher (elementary through high school): Mrs. Trachman

HPW: Who is Mrs. Trachman — what school, what grade and what makes her memorable to you?

JS: Waipahu Elementary (second and third grade). She made me realize how important school was and that I could really excel in it. And how to make work a fun thing.

GPA: 3.8

Class: My favorite class was Team Sports. It was really fun competing in all different types of sports.

Place to relax: The park/gym

HPW: Which park and gym do you play/relax at? Are there still pickup basketball games in Waipahu these days? The best WHS basketball players I remember were Rolando Tano, Vernon Tailele, Viena brothers (Dino and Dean).

JS: Village Park every weekend. There’s still pick up basketball games and I usually run if my family is there to be on my 5. And my parents are actually classmates with some of them or know of them.

Motto/scripture: Romans 12:2.

HPW: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…
This is a noble endeavor for any young Christian man. Tattoos for example. Everyone wants tattoos. It’s almost normal now. Yet the Bible says not to mark the body. It’s a tough situation for young people.

JS: It definitely is a tough choice to be confronted with, but I believe that with enough prayer, God will answer and you will have your answer. And it also depends on how deep your faith is.

What your mom (name) says that you can’t forget: (Lani Solomua) “Ahhh so junk. Just keep working hard”

What your dad (name) says that you can’t forget: (Feeunai Solomua) “Always train hard because there is always someone better than you”

What your coaches say that you can’t forget:
 “Get on the line”

How does your volleyball affect your daily life during the season and offseason? 
Volleyball is pretty much my life. During season we have practice 6 times a week, and all of our team bindings are always fun. But it takes away a lot of time from home and church. In the off season I’m always playing another sport, but still go to open gyms and play where I can. So i pretty much playing in and off season. 

What middle and elementary schools did you attend?
Waipahu Elementary, Kaleiopu‘u Elementary, Fort Riley Middle School (Kansas), and Waipahu Intermediate. 

What youth teams did you play for? What club do you play for and what are the daily commitments like year-round?
I played PAL for one season for volleyball when I was in fourth grade. And I also played club for Kealahou Volleyball and A’o A Koa. And I also play football and basketball for high school. I am also in Student Government, and I am in the Student Board of Directors for my Academy. 

Where have you travelled for volleyball?
I have travelled to Dallas, Texas last summer. My first time playing club. 

What makes Coach Julna (Pasicaran) unique to play for?
Coach Julna’s style of coaching is unique because she REALLY focuses on the basics and believes that nothing consistent comes out of being fancy; Which I strongly believe in. She also has assistant coaches who are a lot younger, so it makes it easier for us kids to click with them if they’re scared of her. A lot of kids are scared of her at first, but I’m not sure why ‘cause she’s so funny.

What do you like to do — or what’s something else you’re good at — that would surprise most people?
JS: I am good at singing and dancing. only for friends and for fun. 

HPW: Singing, is this karaoke or live with a band? What do you like singing best — genre, artists, songs.

JS: I usually sing on my own in front of my friends or family just to have fun on karaoke. I like to sing ’90s/2000 R&B.

What is your ultimate dream/bucket list?
My ultimate dream is to be able to provide for my family without them having to worry all the time. 

HPW: What 5 places in the world would you like to visit most?

JS: Samoa, France, Greece, Fiji and the Caribbean.

What is the history and background of your name?
My mom actually heard my name on a TV show called “Gladiators” and she thought it was cool, so she changed the spelling

What has surprised you about this Waipahu team most, and how far do you believe you guys can go?

JS: I am really surprised at how much me and my team has progressed throughout the course of this season. We have all grew in both our skills and our relationships with each other. I believe we can go all the way to the championship, but it all depends on us because the biggest threat on the court is ourselves.

What church do you attend? What makes your faith crucial to your life and priorities?
I attend the PRAISEHOUSE CHURCH in waipio. My faith makes me make a lot of decisions that a lot of other kids wouldn’t have to make who don’t go to church. It allows me to put God first, and everything else will fall into place following God’s plan.

What college are you going to attend? What influenced your decision?
I am going to attend Graceland University in Iowa. I plan to attend there to play volleyball and major in either nursing or biology. My teammate from last year (Ejay Tagabi) actually goes there and said a lot of good things about their program, so that’s how I first heard about it.

Any shout-outs or additional thoughts are welcome. 
Shout out to My parents, family around the island, and Waipahu High school for the support for all that I do. 


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