LIHU’E — “It was unbelievable!” exclaimed the mother of Chaz Galvez, outside hitter for the Kapa’a High School boys volleyball team.
“I was crying so much, I couldn’t talk,” she continued while waiting on the Sunday arrival of the Division II boys state volleyball champions.
She was one of many players’ parents who made the trip to O’ahu to watch Kapa’a clinch the championship of the Division II in its inaugural year by defeating Mid-Pacific, 23-25, 25-20, 25-22 on Thursday.
Many of the parents returned home while the boys stayed over to enjoy the University of Hawai’i football game Saturday night after a benefactor bought them all tickets.
Parent Nicole Waialeale could not make the trip, but her thoughts were with the team as she spent the greater part of her Friday creating a special championship quilt while juggling her job.
Waialeale said she got files of the boys playing, and by using iron-on transfers, was able to “patch” action photos of each of the team members on the quilt that she had on hand to welcome home the boys.
“It took me about three hours to make, and thank heaven for the Internet, I was able to get the photos,” she explained to the gathering of family and friends of the Warrior team.
Other fans arrived with balloons, flowers and signs in tribute to the team’s accomplishment.
The crowd exploded in cheers as coach Merrill Carvalho walked through the sliding doors with the trophy in his hand. Carvalho was followed by the team garbed in their uniform and celebrating with their fans.
That welcoming celebration overflowed the confines of Lihu’e Airport as cars and fans lined the airport exit with more signs and balloons. A sign welcoming home the champions fluttered on the Kapa’a-bound lane of Kapule Highway near the Hanama’ulu bridge.
The KIF championship Kapa’a girls team picked up the Consolation championship with a 25-19, 25-20 win over Konawaena, also on Thursday.
- Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) and firstname.lastname@example.org