Here we are without high school sports, so what’s a sportswriter to do?
Think. Jot. Clear the desk of stuff that was on the list of things to do before the seriousness of COVID-19 put a halt to sports everywhere.
So, here’s a fist bump to everybody in our sports community along with hopes and prayers that this crisis lasts a few weeks rather than a few months, or a few months rather than a year or more.
And here are some things that have cropped up (a little bit of this) or could use some more attention (a little bit of that):
>> Kaycie Tanimoto is succeeding in Texas after moving from Mililani for her junior year.
The former Hawaii Baptist wrestler and judoka is a junior at Keller Central High and placed third in the 102-pound weight class at the Texas Class 6A region meet last month, according to the Forth Worth Star-Telegram.
In the Texas state meet, also last month, Tanimoto lost her first match and then went 2-1 in the consolation bracket.
In 2018 when she was a freshman, Tanimoto placed fifth at 97 pounds at the Hawaii wrestling state tournament and sixth at 98 pounds in the Hawaii judo state tournament.
According to the Star-Telegram article, Tatsuhiko Hikiji, Hawaii’s first three-time state wrestling champion, was Tanimoto’s mentor here in Hawaii.
Hikiji’s daughter Erin Hikiji, who wrestles and is a judoka for Mililani, won her first wrestling state title in the 97-pound division last month. The sophomore also won a judo state title at 98 pounds as a freshman in 2019.
>> There hasn’t been any news on it recently, but in the fall, there were stories coming out of Massachusetts about a bill that would ban tackle football for players in seventh grade or under.
Similar bills have been introduced in California, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, New York and New Jersey, according to FoxNews.com.
In Canada, a law will begin in 2022 banning tackle football for ages 12 and under, according to the New York Times.
The Boston Herald story (link above) cites a Boston University study that shows players are more likely to develop chronic traumatic encephalopathy at age 5 than those who wait until age 14.
Detractors of the Massachusetts bill cited in the story are countering with, “The game is safer today than it has ever been” and that the bill is “an overreach.”
>> Four football head coaches were hired this offseason — Robert Dougherty at Maui, Nelson Maeda at Kalaheo, Vince Nihipali at Moanalua, and Ron Lee at Saint Louis.
Two more hires will be coming soon — at Hilo (after the departure of Kaeo Drummondo) and Kohala (after Chad Atkins‘ one-year contract was not renewed).
>> Former Saint Francis and Campbell star running back Jonan Aina-Chaves was one of three accused in the beating of a 21-year-old man in Ewa Beach on Jan. 31.
Aina-Chaves, who was charged with misdemeanor third-degree assault, is scheduled to be arraigned April 6 at the Waianae courthouse, according to the court filings.
Aina-Chaves ranks seventh on Hawaii’s all-time rushing list with 3,739 yards. He also compiled 776 receiving yards and scored 40 touchdowns overall.
>> Robert Dougherty, the new Maui High football coach, is suing Seabury Hall, where he served as athletic director.
The suit is for wrongful termination and it also lists former interim headmaster Paul Wenninger and assistant head of school Kay McLeod as well as the school’s board of trustees as defendants.
According to the lawsuit, Dougherty was placed on leave — and later fired — after he reported to the school’s board that Wenninger and McLeod were having an extramarital affair and that the affair was having a detrimental effect on students.
There is also a counterclaim by McLeod that Dougherty’s accusations of adultery were defamatory, false and reckless.
In a response, Dougherty has asked the court to dismiss the counterclaim.
>> The transgender issue looks like it’s going to be heard in the courts in Connecticut, where some male-to-female athletes are dominating in girls track and field.
This is a very difficult issue. On one hand, there are policies and protections in place in many states, including Hawaii, that call for inclusiveness for transgender citizens. But there is also the argument that there is inherent unfairness in allowing athletes born with a male body who now identify as female to be allowed to play girls sports.
The issue has also cropped up in Hawaii, where at least two transgender athletes have participated in sports this school year. There has been a formal complaint to the DOE that this is a violation of Title IX because it is unfair to girls who were born girls.
The argument looks like it’s going to go down, eventually, to how some court — perhaps in Connecticut or a higher court — defines males and females in the realm of high school sports. Are male to female transgender athletes going to be defined as girls and get the same Title IX protections as girls who were born female? Or will the court decide that transgender athletes born male who identify as female are not technically girls?
At higher levels of sports, such as the Olympics, male-to-female transgender athletes are required to have either hormone suppression or gender reassignment surgery or both.
This is one of those cases where a clear answer from the courts sooner rather than later would be the most beneficial to the smooth operation of high school sports.
The Title IX lawsuit by four Campbell athletes filed in December 2018 will be not become a class action.
In January, Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi denied the motion filed by the plaintiffs. If she had made it a class-action case, the number of plaintiffs would have increased to all present, future and potential female student-athletes at Campbell.
The suit alleges gender-based bias and unequal treatment of female athletes and it was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union Hawaii chapter. The Department of Education and the Oahu Interscholastic Association are the defendants.
The ACLU has filed a petition to appeal Kobayashi’s ruling.