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Virginia Aguilar and Steven Javinar never met until the Air Force Volleyball team tryouts. The week-long tryout was held from March 18 to 25 at the Hill Air Force base near Salt Lake City, Utah.
Aguilar, of the Waimea High School Class of 2003, and Javinar, a Kaua‘i High School Class of 2003 graduate, had seen each other during their high school careers, but never got to know each other until the tryouts.
“We’ve seen each other play over the high school years and know a lot of the same people, but never really met, or know of each other,” Aguilar said in an email.
Aguilar made the girls team, but Javinar, after surviving through the first two cuts, fell short on the final cut.
Major Victor Aguilar, Waimea Jr. ROTC director and instructor, as well as Virginia’s dad, said she plans on returning next year to try out. He said every athlete needs to try out each year, some athletes making the team for multiple years while others only make the team once.
“It’s still an honor and great opportunity for Steven, stationed with the Civil Engineering Squadron in Japan, even though he didn’t make the final cut,” Virginia said. “He survived the first couple of rounds and plans on coming back next year and being more prepared and in better shape.”
Virginia said the tryouts take a toll on one’s body, and because the tryouts are so short and intense, an athlete cannot afford any serious injuries because there is not enough time to recover.
A First Lieutenant in the Air Force stationed at Altus Air Force base in Oklahoma, Virginia applied to be considered for the Air Force services’ World Class Athlete Program, drawing on her experience as a high school volleyball player and bowler.
Victor said her first choice was volleyball with bowling being considered if she didn’t make the cut for the former.
“She joined a bowling league, and despite not bowling for seven years, bowled numerous 200-plus games, catching the eye of the league secretary who wanted to know which college she bowled for,” Victor said. “Just two weeks before departing to try out for the volleyball team, she rolled a 278, besting her brother Christopher’s 277, and with her handicap, was credited for a 304 game.”
Securing permission from Altus AFB to participate in the tryouts, Virginia made it through the preliminary cuts, being listed as a middle blocker, before being selected for the team.
“At Waimea, Virginia was the middle blocker,” Victor said. “However, in college, she played all around — middle blocker, outside hitter and server. She listed herself as trying out for the middle blocker for the Air Force team, but after being notified she made the team, the coach told her he just had to figure out where to place her because she can play almost anywhere on the court.”
The team selection will have Virginia training in Utah for two weeks before heading to Cherry Point, N.C. for competition.
At this point, a decision will be made to who will return during the summer for two additional weeks of training in North Carolina. Following this training, the team will depart for Brazil and two weeks of competition.
“This is an awesome opportunity,” Virginia said. “There’re not too many jobs where you practically have the opportunity to be a professional athlete for part of the year, getting paid for doing what you love to do.”
Virginia received her Bachelors Degree in Computer Science and her Masters degree in Business Administration from Hardin Simmons University.
As the top MBA graduate, Virginia received numerous job offers but elected to join the Air Force through its Officers Candidate Training option.
Following graduation from the officers’ training program, Virginia received an appointment to the rank of First Lieutenant due to her MBA and was offered a choice of working in computer science, or hospital administration. She selected the latter.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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