Rosario chooses Waianae over Liberty

Rico Rosario will play his senior year at Waianae and not Liberty in Nevada. Cindy Ellen Russell / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Rico Rosario, one of the top running backs in the state, made a huge life decision last week. He chose to remain at Waianae for his senior season rather than move to Nevada with his family and play at Liberty High.

Rosario will be staying with his grandmother. His parents — Shane and Sunny Rosario — and two younger brothers ages 9 and 6 moved to the Las Vegas area Friday.

“I was supposed to go and play for Liberty,” Rosario said via cellphone Tuesday. “My dad planned for me to move there and play there, but at the last minute, he left the decision up to me. It was kind of a tough decision. If I went, it would mean more exposure. But down here, we have a good team and I feel like we’re going to win the state championship.”

Baseball opportunities for the two younger Rosario children was part of the reason the family made the move, according to Rico.

“At first my dad was telling me I was moving before he decided to leave it up to me,” Rosario said. “He is kind of disappointed.”

Rosario has an offer from Division II Adams State in Alamosa, Colo., and he has drawn interest from FBS D-I schools Air Force, UNLV, Hawaii and Georgia.

Rosario rushed for 1,266 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior. The Seariders beat Farrington 14-8 in the first round of the inaugural Open Division state tournament before losing 42-7 to eventual champion Saint Louis in the semifinals.

Rosario mentioned two standout defensive players — lineman/linebacker Kanai Mauga and linebacker Francis Mailo — and the team’s overall defense as big reasons why he thinks Waianae has a chance to go far.


  1. Chloropicrin May 30, 2017 8:28 pm

    Gonna be tough cause they lose a QB, RB’s Towne and #25, and a bunch of linemen on offense.

    On paper the defense is probably the best since George Kauwalu.

  2. Homegrown May 31, 2017 7:25 am

    Waianae always fields a tough squad. Unfortunately for them I don’t think they’ll be well rounded enough outside of those few studs listed to compete for the title next year.

    St.Louis, and Punahou out of the ILH, Kahuku and Mililani out of the OIA probably the top dogs next season.

    Waianae, Kamehameha, Farrington, Kapolei, Campbell round out the next tier.

  3. H-Man May 31, 2017 8:03 am

    Good to see Waianae back in the title picture.

  4. Alpha May 31, 2017 8:51 am

    Waianae needed him Rosario to stay.

  5. Mahatma Gandhi May 31, 2017 4:08 pm

    I don’t like out of state recruiting. That is excessive, win-at-all-costs mentality. Is Liberty another win-at-all-costs football program like St Louis and Bishop Gorman? They recruited a couple of Farrington football players a few yeas ago for 1 year of play. One guy, Jeremiah Pritchard, is now playing football at UH. How are the getting the kids to transfer? Are they setting the parents up in good paying jobs?

  6. Mahatma Gandhi May 31, 2017 4:15 pm

    Chloropicin, did you ever see the 1979 Waianae defense? Best ever in the OIA. Had OIA West Defensive player of the year Max Maneafaiga. Also had Bob Sylva, Elgin Awong, Fred Toilolo, Watson Mahaulu, Jerry Faagai, Joe Masaniai. I think they gave up only 14 points I the regular season. So good was that D that then junior Robin Saragosa was coming off the bench. He was one of the better Waianae safeties I ever saw.

  7. Alpha May 31, 2017 8:42 pm

    @MahatmaGahndi did you read the article? Family moved up so little sibling can play baseball. Also, Pritchard did not go to Silverado. He and Liana went to Silverado H.S.

  8. Chloropicrin May 31, 2017 10:02 pm

    @mahatma-no before my time..those names that you mentioned are all time Waianae names tho.

    Not much people remember this, but waianae all purpose player Jaylen Mitchell played his senior year at Liberty as well back in 2012, after playing varsity for 2 years at wHS.

  9. Hyn June 1, 2017 12:59 pm

    It’s so funny how the same person is always crying about recruiting.

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