Waimea’s Rita to play Down Under

Waimea High School senior Dustin Rita will get the chance to go down under this summer.

“Kahi” was recently selected to represent Hawai‘i on the Hawai‘i Football Team at the 18th annual Down Under Bowl in Australia.

“The owner of the league came down and looked at stats from Waimea players and handed out a bunch of invitations to play,” Rita said.

He will be leaving on June 20 and returning on June 29.

“It’s going to be a new experience. I’d like to see their beaches and the dirt bike tracks. We’re going to be staying at surfer’s paradise, so that should be something to see,” Rita said.

He was selected by international sports specialists.

“They gave us fundraising equipment and we got some sponsorships for the trip from local businesses and families,” Rita said.

The Menehune senior said it was just an ordinary day at school when he opened the invitation to find out he was invited to play in Australia.

“I was all stoked. We will be playing two games, an Australian team and New Zealand team too,” Rita said.

After he comes back from the once-in-a-lifetime trip, he’ll attend some graduation parties and then it’s off to California.

“I’m going to Merced (JC) College to play football. The coach contacted me and wanted me to play,” Rita said. Merced has been a pipeline for Waimea players, with players like Kellen Naka‘ahiki, Josh Mori, Fia Moe, and Michael Girod heading over to the California JC.

At Merced, the 6-foot-1, 222-pound athlete will be suiting up as a linebacker.

The Down Under Bowl is held on the beautiful Gold Coast of Australia where hundreds of football players, coaches, cheerleaders and officials converge. 

Athletes from America, New Zealand, Thailand and Australia participate in the event.

The success of the Down Under Bowl was a springboard for Down Under Hoops Classic and Down Under International Games.

Some prior standouts of the Down Under Bowl include Jake “The Snake” Plummer, quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals; Ahman Green, running back for the Green Bay Packers; Jim Kleinsasser, tight end for the Minnesota Vikings; and Rob Morris, linebacker for the Indianapolis Colts.

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