Letter-of-intent signing day (extended version)

(Here’s the letter-of-intent story in its entirety. We had a little bit of a space limitation in the print edition today.)

Trusty purple pen in hand, Ali‘itasi Docktor was a jumble of nerves when the early signing period began on Nov. 9.

Docktor, an all-state, power-hitting third baseman at Mid-Pacific, never got this tense at the plate.

“I was shaking,” Docktor admitted.

Yesterday, Docktor, teammate Keiki Carlos and dozens of other student-athletes were in the spotlight at the letter-of-intent signing ceremony hosted by Pacific Islands Athletic Alliance. The event attracted many of the athletes who have a range of college opportunities ahead. Docktor signed with the University of Toledo last week, but came to the ceremony to indulge in what is always a fun event. She signed a copy of the LOI yesterday, having sent her official letter to Toledo already.

Docktor had an offer from Hawaii, but turned it down.

“I was close to UH, but i wanted to go away for college,” said Docktor, who will also give up playing basketball for MPI to focus on softball.

Her teammate, Carlos, never had a doubt about playing for the Rainbow Wahine.

“I felt relieved (last week). Today was more of a celebration,” said Carlos, an all-state pitcher. “I’ve always grown up watching UH sports. I’m grateful and thankful to represent the place I’m from. My hometown.”

A few student-athletes will soon make the leap across the pond and then across the continent. St. Francis senior Harlee Meyers, one of the top outside hitters in the state, will play volleyball at Long Island University-CW Post campus. The coach there is former Roosevelt standout Shellane Ogoshi.

“That kind of sealed the deal,” said Meyers, who will have a partial athletic and partial academic scholarship. “I like it because it’s not a very big campus, just 8,000 students. It’s 45 minutes from the city. They turned a mansion into a school.”

Getting an opportunity to get a degree without going broke was essential.

“The main thing to me was not to be in major debt after graduating from college,” she said.

Kamehameha, which won six state girls volleyball titles until falling to Punahou in the final this year, will see four of its seniors play at the next level.

Outside hitter Misty Ma‘a signed with Miami, libero Chelsey Keoho signed with Colorado, setter Kelcie Renshaw signed with Humboldt State and outside hitter Brittany-Ann Kalepa signed with Cornell.

“Signing the letter was a rush. Everything about Miami is going to be brand new to me,” Ma‘a said. “The best part about signing was having my dad (Pono) there. He’s supported me this entire journey and it was nice to see him happy. It was also cool to see where other Hawaii student-athletes are going.”

Keoho also had offers from North Carolina, Marquette and Texas A&M. She felt thankful now that the recruiting process is over.

“My parents have done everything for me. I’ve overlooked them and now I realize all the stress they go through,” she said. “Them pushing me got me to where I am today.”

Kalepa didn’t let frigid temperatures deter her.

“I went on my official visit last week and it was freezing, but other than that I’m really excited,” said Kalepa, who has a partial scholarship. “Part of me feels like this is one more step toward the big goal.”

Shawna-Lei Santos of Sacred Hearts became the latest local volleyball player to sign with St. John’s. Former Moanalua outside hitter Patti Hardimon played for the Red Storm a few years ago.

“It’s a great way to start off the morning,” Santos said of the signing ceremony. “I visited St. John’s this past summer and it’s kind of like my school. They have the same morals of what my school taught me.”


Kapolei ace Trey Kamachi passed on offers from Oregon, Utah, Kansas, Arizona, Long Beach State and Hawaii. Instead, he went with his “dream school,” Arizona State.

“They were the last school that offered me. Ever since I was 9, Arizona State was my dream school. We used to live in Utah and we’d go down to Arizona for baseball tournaments,” he said.

Five ‘Iolani Raiders signed letters last week: golfers Lorens Chan (UCLA) and Marissa Chow (Pepperdine), basketball standout Kylie Maeda (BYU), softball catcher Kirstyn Namba (Utah State) and volleyball player Gabriel Vega (Stanford).

“I went on my visit and felt great chemistry with the team and the coaches. They’re an awesome bunch of guys,” said Vega, a 6-foot-6 senior who also plays basketball and plans to major in engineering.

“I want to work with renewable energies,” he added.

Namba plans to make the most of her future with the Aggies, who offered a partial scholarship.

“I went to a (summer) camp there and it was a really nice area,” she said. “I could picture myself going to school there.”

Kailua’s Jenna Hanawahine and Castle’s Brittany-Ann Hawn also signed up for college scholarships. Hanawahine signed with Tennessee State.

“I feel real good. I just thought that if I’m going to the mainland, I might as well go far. It doesn’t matter,” Hanawahine said, adding that a friend, former Baldwin player Taylor Shimizu, will be among her new teammates.

Hawn, a steady shortstop of helped Castle reach the state-tournament final, signed with Stetson.

“If every student athlete was like her, I’d have an easy job. She’s a positive affect on everyone, such an infectious attitude,” Castle athletic director Richard Haru said. “Anything she receives is well deserved.”

Not everyone who signed is getting a scholarship. Kolby Kanetake, Moanalua’s versatile volleyball standout, will be a preferred walk-on at UH.

“It just feels good to play in front of my family. I know volleyball’s not as huge on the mainland as it is here,” said Kanetake, who also had interest from UC San Diego and Hope International.

Other student-athletes who signed in the past week include Punahou volleyball standouts Tai Manu-Olevao (Hawaii) and Kat Brooks (Texas). La Pietra classmates Kahala Schneider and Raven Howser became signed to row for Tennessee and Old Dominion, respectively. They are believed to be the first local paddlers to receive full scholarships, though both are elite paddlers and have never participated in crew rowing.

On the Big Island last week, Konawaena basketball standouts Dawnyelle Awa and Lia Galdeira signed letters to play for Washington State. Both have been Star-Advertiser All-State selections in each of their first three years. Galdeira is a two-time state player of the year.

Paul Honda, Star-Advertiser


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