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Jayme Jacinto breaks out on her own

All her life, she’s been living in the shadows of her older sisters and brothers. As the youngest of seven kids, Jayme Jacinto watched them play and be successful in their respective sports.

Basketball was the unifying sport, but soon some of them broke out to soccer, volleyball and one to track.

“From when I was little, I would always watch them play at the high school and when they do community sports,” Jacinto said. “It was really fun because I could look up to them and they could teach me how to play.”

Jacinto said they didn’t mind having the baby sister around and at one point, despite being so much younger, she got to play on the same basketball team as three of her sisters, Jessica, Anna and Josie.

“I was only 11 years old, but I played on the Under 19 team and I got to play on the same team as them. It was fun and my mom really enjoyed it,” Jacinto said.

Now, the 15-year-old Waimea High School sophomore is ready to make a name for herself.

In her freshman year, she played alongside sister Josie, who was a senior and captain of the varsity volleyball and basketball teams. She tried out for varsity in all sports, with the encouragement of Josie, even if it meant being known as “Josie’s little sister.”

“Everyone knows me as a Jacinto sister. I don’t mind so much, but I still want to beat (my sisters),” she said. “I don’t want to be known as just a Jacinto sister. I want to be better than them.”

That’s why she’s challenged herself to not just take on more sports during the school year, but to become a breakout star as well. Already a varsity athlete in all her sports, she has shown the Menehune fans that she has all-around talent and versatility.

She was a member of the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation championship cross country, volleyball and basketball teams and was a member of the KIF championship 4×400 Meter Relay team. By the end of the year, she was named to the spring sports KIF All-Stars list for track.

Her sister Jessica — who is attending the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa on an ROTC scholarship — was the only other sister to run track. Jayme now competes in the same events Jessica did — the triple jump and the 300 Meter Low Hurdles.

“She and I are really competitive. Every time after a meet, I would brag about how I did and she would always tell me she did it better,” she said.

This year, she’s already shown herself to be an important asset to the rebuilding volleyball team and cross country team.

For volleyball, she’s one of three captains and the team’s leading hitter. For cross country, she’s one of the top five runners even though she hardly practices.

“Last year, (for volleyball) it was different because I was one of the youngest so I wasn’t asked to do anything but be a part of the team,” she said. “This year, it’s a little different. Coach (Chad Delanoza) said to me, ‘I can’t carry the team because it’s a lot of weight on my shoulders, but to lead the team and set a good example for them.’”

A young girl with lots of energy during the day, her cross country meets are the same days as her volleyball games.

“It’s OK, but by the end of the night, I’m exhausted,” she said.

Look for Jacinto and her young volleyball teammates to make a comeback in Round 2. Waimea finished (3-3). They gave Round 1 champions Kaua‘i High a good run for the title and split games with Kapa‘a High School.

“We’re really good and I expect everyone to do their best,” she said.

Also look for her family to cheer her on the whole way. There’s no sibling rivalry here. Jacinto said she and her siblings are really close and even gives them credit to her being a successful athlete herself.

“I am who I am because of them,” she said.

Volleyball and cross country resume on Saturday.

Jayme Jacinto

Age: 15

Hometown: Kaumakani

Family: Parents John and Gladys Jacinto; sisters Jessica, Anna, Josie and Susanna Gray; brothers Sam, Daniel and Michael.

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