Inside Sports for Sunday — November 13, 2005

• KIF breaking through with sweet weekend

KIF breaking through with sweet weekend

By Duane Shimogawa Jr. – The Garden Island

It all started on Thursday, when the Kapa’a boys volleyball team punished MPI for the state’s first division II volleyball title.

Then on Friday at Kaua’i Community College, Kaua’i’s Chelsea Smith-Wishard, along with Waimea’s Scott and Nathan Martin, made a blatant mark that the KIF really does belong near the top.

It’s true that everything goes in cycles, but only to an extent. There’s a reason why the Punahous, Kamehamehas, and Mililanis rank near the top of the state in almost every sport.

And it’s no secret that they keep on reloading instead of rebuilding their storied programs every single season.

It’s definitely a great start for the KIF to taste a team state title this season. I remember last season when the Waimea boys soccer team, led by Chad “Mighty Mouse” Thompson, almost won the state championship.

But on the way the squad managed to tackle the 500-pound gorilla in Mililani, who dominated the boys scene like Tiger Woods does in his sport.

When the seedings were released by the HHSAA before the state boys volleyball tournament, Kapa’a head coach Merrill Carvalho was disappointed with his team’s fourth seed.

I told him that the only way the KIF was going to get the respect it deserves is if they win the state title, and that’s exactly what they did on Thursday.

Carvalho also said at the beginning of the season after the team’s success in preseason that they would have an excellent shot at the division II state title. Kaua’i’s football team last season, led by quarterback Kekoa Crowell, nearly made it to the state’s division II football championship game. In fact, if you ask head coach Keli’i Morgado, he’ll tell you that they let that game slip away.

But it’s great motivation going into Friday’s quarterfinal contest against Kamehameha-Maui at Hanapepe Stadium.

The Red Raiders could give the rest of the state another reason to look twice at the KIF if they go all the way this year.

Individually, hats off to Smith-Wishard and the Martin brothers at the state cross country meet on Friday.

Smith-Wishard has another year to go in her career, so she’s definitely not done just yet. Her third-place finish was a great sight to see.

In fact, my prediction going into next season is for her to win the state title. The dominant Lauren Ho of HBA is a senior this year, so Smith-Wishard has an even better chance to win it all. Her improvements each season are a testament to her hard work in the off-season and during the season as well.

Meanwhile, Scott Martin, another workhorse, crossed the finish line in seventh place. His brother Nathan also ran away with a state medal.

The senior duo has dominated the KIF cross-country scene and it won’t be the same without them next year.

With the winter sports season coming up, the teams and individuals should look to Kapa’a’s volleyball teams, along with Smith-Wishard and the Martin brothers, who climbed the mountain to the top. It was a long and tough journey, but the path has already been paved.


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