Recent Waimea High School graduate Cheri Kua recently signed on to play basketball for Shoreline Community College in Washington state.
“I’m so excited to play,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to play basketball in college.”
Her original plans for the fall was to enroll at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, but not to play sports, even though she had wanted to.
“I didn’t think I had high enough (test) scores to play in Division II or Division I, but this opportunity came along, so I took it,” she said.
The 18-year-old from Waimea was named a Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation all-star for volleyball and basketball and was most recently awarded a school Most Valuable Player Award for basketball at last month’s athletic banquet.
This opportunity to play for Shoreline came the same week as her graduation.
Shoreline head basketball coach Derek Witt was informed about Kua by one of his assistants, Keoni Kaliloa, the son of Waimea’s principal Larry Kaliloa. Witt watched a taped game between Waimea and Kaua‘i High School and was impressed with several things.
“What I saw was a girl who was very competitive, very tough, but at the same time she’s very team oriented,” Witt said. “She’s going to fit in very well with the team we have here.”
Witt has recruited more than 40 players who have gone on to play at the Division I level and at least another 25 who have played at other four-year colleges.
Shoreline’s goal is to prepare its students to move on to four-year colleges and for athletics, to prepare them for the higher level of competition. In Kua, Witt sees the potential to do just that.
He said she will have to learn to make a transition from playing the post which she is accustomed to, to playing at different parts of the court.
“In order to make it to a four-year college, she’s going to have to get stronger,” he said. “She’s going to have to make that transition to where she can play the perimeter, unlike the guarding post she’s used to.”
Aside from playing, Kua said she’s also excited to be heading to the Mainland. Kua had been to Reno, Nevada, for sports, but nowhere else.
“I heard the seasons change drastically there,” she said.
Kua also plans on playing volleyball at Shoreline. She was a member of the 2006 Waimea volleyball team that finished third at the state tournament.
Many of Kaua‘i athletes have gone on to play volleyball, football, baseball and track in college, but none that the Kua family is aware of who have played college basketball.
Earlier in her senior year, Kua hurt her ankle and was forced to sit out a few volleyball games. Kua said her ankle is completely healed now and it was never a worrying factor on whether or not she could play sports at the next level.
Kua is expected to report to Shoreline for basketball in September.
Family: Parents Stanette and Bones Kua, older brother Chad, younger brother Cheyne
Sports: Basketball, volleyball
Accomplishments: KIF all-star basketball, volleyball, Waimea High School’s girls basketball MVP
College committed to: Shoreline Community College