You Gotta Love November Sports
Wednesday - November 11, 2009
Back in the day when I was a television sportscaster, I loved the month of November - because that’s when all the action was. Each November in Honolulu was jam-packed with such a crowded calendar that you could literally get a little bit of everything. This November is no different.
For football fans, there’s still plenty of college and high school action at Aloha Stadium with the University of Hawaii finishing at home against New Mexico State (this Saturday night, Nov. 14), Navy (Nov. 28) and Wisconsin (Dec. 5). And the HHSAA state championships for Division I and Division II are on tap beginning next Friday, Nov. 20, and continuing for three straight Fridays, with the finals on Dec. 4.
For local college hoop fans, the regular season fun begins this week at the Stan Sheriff Center. Bob Nash sends his Warriors to the court Friday, Nov. 13 (hope that’s not an omen) to take on Southern Utah, then UH hosts McNeese State Nov. 15 and Northern Colorado Nov. 16.
Fans of Dana Takahara-Dias and the new-look Wahine will have to wait for a few weeks for Hawaii to come home from the road. Coach T-D and her team start the regular season in California next week - with dates at UC-Riverside, UCLA and Cal State-Bakersfield.
Those who love to island hop over to the Valley Isle will get a treat when Chaminade hosts the annual EA Sports Maui Invitational Nov. 23-25 in Lahaina. This year’s tournament field features three former NCAA champs in Maryland,Arizona and Cincinnati. Plus, there’s Gonzaga,Vanderbilt, Colorado, Wisconsin and, of course, the “Giant-Killers” from Chaminade. Tickets are available through the Chaminade Hui ‘Ahinahina Booster Club at 735-4764. Ask for former Silversword (and former Iolani standout) Ryan Hirata.
Meanwhile, Ken Wagner’s BYU-Hawaii Seasiders begin the season as the top-ranked team in NCAA Division II. The Seasiders, who will play without injured PacWest and national player of the year Lucas Alves until December ( knee injury), have two exhibition games scheduled this Friday and Saturday, Nov. 13 and 14, in the American Money Group Asia Pacific Tournament in Laie. Tony Sellitto’s HPU SeaWarriors open next Tuesday night, Nov. 17, with a tough non-conference matchup against powerful Alaska-Anchorage at Mid-Pacific’s gym.
Speaking of the PacWest, the University of Hawaii-Hilo volleyball team will represent the conference in the NCAA Division II West Regionals in Southern California next week. The Vulcans won their second conference title in the last three years this month under Dr. Bruce Atkinson.
BYU-Hawaii claimed the women’s title again at the Hawaiian Airlines PacWest Women’s Cross Country Championship. The Seasiders featured a husband-and-wife duo who both won all-conference honors, perhaps the first husband-and-wife team to win all conference on the same day in separate races. Lacey Krout finished second to overall winner Quinn Horochuk of HPU in the women’s race, while husband Brandon Krout was 11th overall as BYUH finished as runners-up to Academy of Art in the men’s team standings.
And if you love marching bands, the 30th annual Meadow Gold Rainbow Marching Band Festival happens Nov. 10 at the stadium. It includes the UH band, as well as those from Aiea, Castle, Farrington, Iolani, Kahuku, Kailua, Kaiser, Kamehameha, kapolei, Leilehua, Mililani, Moanalua, Pearl City, Punahou, Radford and Roosevelt high schools.
Finally, November is a time when we celebrate Thanksgiving and get ready for the Christmas holidays. What better way to get in the spirit than thinking of others? That’s what Tammy Kaneaiakala is doing in Kailua. Kaneaiakala is the athletic director at St. John Vianney School, and Saturday, Nov. 28, she and her staff and friends will sell Christmas trees, with a large share of the proceeds going to the Lani Luna Scholarship Fund.
Luna was a former assistant basketball coach at St. John Vianney, who lost her three-year battle with cancer earlier this year at just 42. “Coach Lani,” as she was affectionately known, was a police officer who helped run the popular PAL programs on the Windward side, and even though she was ill and weak she would make every effort to come to practice or games, even if she had to use a cane or just sit under a tree and watch. She loved her team that much.
Fans of Coach Lani can remember her by purchasing a tree at the St. John Vianney Christmas Tree sale. The cost is $65 for a 6-7 foot Douglas fir, with $25 of that going straight to her scholarship.
It’s a great way to honor the proud spirit of November sports in Hawaii.
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