High school recruits across the country chose their schools on National Signing Day Wednesday.
For a few locals, the chance to further their education and continue playing is an experience they have dreamed of.
“It was one of the most exciting moments. I wasn’t really getting called from anybody,” said Kapaa High School senior Maka AhLoo.
AhLoo, who played as an offensive lineman for the Kapaa High School Warriors, verbally committed to Pacific University in Oregon sometime during winter break. He’s yet to sign his letter-of-intent, but plans on doing so soon.
For him, getting the chance to play with a former teammate heavily influenced his decision. Former Kapaa quarterback Fresno Masaniai is now a freshman at Pacific and plays safety.
“He said it’s pretty good. That’s one of the big parts of why I committed,” AhLoo said. “It’s just going to be a whole new experience and l’m looking forward to playing another four years.”
AhLoo said he’s yet to visit the Pacific campus, but plans to do so during spring break. He added he intends to major in criminal justice.
“He’s a hard worker. He’s a great leader, great attitude. He’s a good student to the game,” said Kapaa football head coach Philip Rapozo of his former player. “I think he’ll be fine because he’s hungry and excited. He wants to further his education and continue to play football.”
Over on the Westside, Waimea senior Keenan Kaluahine-Arroyo signed his letter of intent Wednesday morning.
The Menehune defensive back committed to Pima Community College in Arizona.
Kaluahine-Arroyo said he first met Pima’s coaches at the inaugural Life Champion Senior Bowl on the Big Island in December and was immediately given an offer.
“For me, it was very exciting. Just getting the experience of getting offered on the spot from the coaches, it’s a good experience,” he said.
In addition, Kaluahine-Arroyo is excited at getting the offer because it’s a way of paying respect to his family.
“I wanted to show that they raised me well,” he said. “Getting a scholarship is a way to give back to them.”
His father, Waimea assistant coach Teddy Arroyo, said he didn’t expect his son would get an offer that soon, but feels fortunate he received one and is thrilled.
“We didn’t expect to get an offer the minute we shook hands,” coach Arroyo said. “As a parent, it’s a great accomplishment for Keenan to get a college offer knowing that there are so many others looking for a college scholarship.”
He added he’s excited that Keenan will play in the same conference his older brother once did, Kaulana, who previously played for the New Mexico Military Institute.
Kaluahine-Arroyo said he’s currently undecided on what to study, but is leaning toward sports medicine.