WAIMEA — Nue Wong has been pounding out the kills since she was 9 years old.
Yesterday, surrounded by family friends and former coaches, the 5’ 10” Waimea High School hitter signed an official letter of intent to play volleyball for the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.
“It was always my dream to be able to play Division I volleyball,” the homecoming queen said. “And it’s for a school that I wanted to go to. All day I was nervous and thinking about it.”
But in a sense she knew the big day was coming. She attended a three-day camp at UNLV last year and was offered a full-ride scholarship there.
“The coaches saw me playing and said they wanted to offer me a full-ride scholarship,” she said.
Wong held the signing at the high school’s library.
“I wanted to do it at my high school because this is where I got my academics and high school volleyball was a big part of my life.”
Earlier in the year, Wong led the Menehune to a Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation volleyball championship, a third-place finish in the Division II State Championship tournament and was named to the state’s all-tournament team. Wong was also a four-time KIF all-star volleyball player and was KIF’s player of the year.
Her high school coach Chad Delanoza said he was very proud of her.
“It’s unreal,” he said. “I can’t remember the last time someone from Waimea High School got a full-ride scholarship. It’s a big time for her.”
Delanoza has been a big supporter of Wong. Wong even called Delanoza while she was at the camp to tell him the good news.
“It’s not surprising she’s got this opportunity. Everything’s she’s got she worked for,” Delanoza said.
Especially since she’s been battling a knee injury for more than a year.
“When she first got hurt, we talked about it and when she came back it was not about proving herself to anyone, it was more about believing in herself and thinking of the bigger picture,” Delanoza said. “She’s come a long way. She used to go to Honolulu twice a week to play in leagues there. So you can imagine what the expenses were back then.”
Wong started to tear up as Waimea’s principal Bill Arakaki started the signing ceremony.
Arakaki said that this was a milestone for Wong because not only will she be able to further her education, she also gets to achieve her dream of playing college volleyball.
“It just goes to show that if you want your dreams to come true, if you work hard, you’ll get it,” Arakaki said.
Wong said she will most likely get playing in her first season there.
“The coaches said they wanted me to touch the volleyball as often as I can so that I’d have more practice than the returnees to the team,” she said.
Wong leaves for Las Vegas in the beginning of July.
• Lanaly Cabalo, sports editor, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or email@example.com.