It’s been a few days since Kapaa High School graduate Kiran Costa was formally recognized as one of the state’s best and brightest of this year, but he says he hasn’t yet fully grasped the fact that he is one of the few standouts.
“To chose 12 of about 1,000 kids, that’s actually pretty crazy,” Costa said Tuesday. “But, no, it hasn’t sunk in. I’m definitely grateful for it, but for some reason, it hasn’t hit me. But to be named one of the top athletes is an awesome award.”
Costa and the other inductees of this year’s class were honored at the annual Enterprise Rent-A-Car HHSAA Hall of Honor awards dinner Sunday night at Pomaikai Ballrooms in Honolulu. He was recognized for his high school achievements in football, soccer and volleyball.
“I was definitely honored and blessed to actually be there amongst all those guys,” Costa said. “Seeing what they accomplished throughout their years and seeing where they stand as one of the top athletes in the state, to actually be next to them and interact with them. And it was special to see past winners.”
National Football League linebacker Manti Te‘o was the keynote speaker. Te‘o is a Punahou School alumnus and a 2009 HHSAA Hall of Honor inductee.
Te‘o was a 2012 Heisman Trophy finalist while playing for the University of Notre Dame. He’s currently an NFL free agent, having previously played for the San Diego Chargers and the New Orleans Saints.
“Manti gave us a speech, and it was very inspirational,” Costa said. “It was cool to see how closely related his story is to any athlete — where you’re going to go through struggles and stuff like that, but how you overcome it is how you’re going to learn. It was an experience that will be memorable.”
Right now, Costa is honing his volleyball skills with Oahu club Outrigger Canoe Club. The club will play at junior nationals later this month in Dallas.
Costa intends to walk on to the men’s volleyball team at the University of Hawaii. He will study pre-engineering.
“That is still the plan. I’m just going to keep working and try to make it to that point to where I have that opportunity,” he said. “Hopefully, through all the training and all the practice, it will pay off. Right now, I’m just focused on going to junior nationals and doing well up there — to do a final showcase — and then plan to hopefully make that tryout and get that final walk-on spot.”
Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or email@example.com.