LIHU‘E — Kapa‘a High School senior Dana Murata is going to be a Peacock with Upper Iowa University in Sayette, Iowa.
Before a small group of family, friends and bowling coaches, Murata put the pen to her letter of intent to bowl for the Peacocks under coach Nichole DePaul.
“I am excited to have you at Upper Iowa University for the women’s bowling team,” DePaul said in a congratulatory card. “Adding you gives us more depth to our roster to crush the competition. Welcome to the Peacock family!”
Upper Iowa University, an NCAA Division II school, finished its 2020-21 season in fourth place at the inaugural Great Lakes Valley Conference tourney in March after the No. 6 seed UIU was defeated by No. 3 Central Missouri and No. 2 Maryville in a three-day, double-elimination tournament.
Murata is the reigning female state champion in the Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association after winning the title in November, 2019, during the Billy Tees Bowling Championships contested at Kaua‘i Bowl before her home stand of supporters.
Murata, bowling as a qualifying individualist, finished the two-day run with a 1,744 pinfall, nearly a hundred pins ahead of second-place finisher Shaylynn Matas of Kapolei High School. Kapolei ended third in the team competition.
There was no bowling season in the HHSAA due to the global medical emergency.
“I think we (DePaul and myself) connect real well,” Murata said. “The first time we spoke was through a Zoom call, and we had technical problems. But coach is looking for someone who has a passion for the sport, not just a good bowler. I could see this, and was able to connect with what coach was saying.”
Murata’s mother, Collyne, is a longtime bowling supporter with the community leagues for young bowlers, and added that Upper Iowa is sponsored by Brunswick, and DePaul is a professional bowler with the Professional Women’s Bowling Association, where she last finished runner-up at the 2017 PWBA Diamond Jo Midwest Championship just two years after joining the PWBA.
“Dana’s going to get all new equipment,” Collyne said. “She doesn’t use Brunswick for her bowling now. But when she gets there, Brunswick will get her new gear.”
Murata also spoke with 19 different coaches before settling with Upper Iowa.
“From the time I was a freshman, I knew I wanted this,” the quiet Warrior senior said. “Some of the coaches wanted me to bowl club. But I wanted to bowl with a NAIA or NCAA school.”
With a major in accounting, Murata’s signing is not a full ride, but comes at a cost that is less expensive than if she went to the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, Collyne Murata said.
“I’m nervous,” Dana Murata said. “I’ve only been to the mainland twice, and both of those times were for junior bowling, where my mother was with me. This time, I’m on my own, and will have to adjust, make new friends and get used to everything. But at least I’m bowling.”
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.