PUKALANI - Six Kamehameha Schools Maui student-athletes reached the end of their high school athletic careers, but their sports journeys will continue.
The school held a ceremony Wednesday for the spring signing period, where three girls volleyball players signed National Letters of Intent, while three football players were also involved in the festivities.
Bobbi-Lin Kalama, a two-time Maui Interscholastic League Division I Player of the Year, signed to play at NCAA Division I Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y.
Kamehameha Schools Maui student-athletes (left from foreground) Bryson Arakaki, Sienna Davis, Bobbi-Lin Kalama, Acer Pahukoa, Anuhea Kaiaokamalie and Dylan Nakoa were part of a National Letter of Intent spring signing ceremony at the high school counseling center on the Pukalani campus on Wednesday.
The Maui News / ROBERT COLLIAS photo
"It feels good. It's done and I can't wait to play in college now," Kalama said.
She was joined by teammates Anuhea Kaiaokamalie, who signed to play at Chico State in California, and Sienna Davis, who signed with Hawaii-Hilo, both NCAA Division II schools.
"It shows that if you just keep pushing and you have a commitment to yourself, to the team and to the sport that you can go far in college," Kalama said. "And that you can play at the next level."
The Warrior football players at the ceremony were Dylan Nakoa, who signed with NCAA D-II Notre Dame College of Ohio in February; Acer Pahukoa, who committed to NCAA D-III Carleton College of Minnesota; and Bryson Arakaki, who was undecided between offers from Dixie State and Illinois College.
Kalama is the fourth Kamehameha Maui girl to sign at a D-I school under coach Bala Spencer, joining Ginger Long (Hawaii), Dreanne Shaw (Oregon State), and Kayla Kaluau (Syracuse).
"It's a pretty unique situation, but it's all good, it's really good," Spencer said. "Hopefully it's a step in the right direction for our kids. I know kids on Maui, especially Kamehameha Maui, look at the success we have and they think size matters and it really doesn't. This is proof and testament. Our girls, they are not the biggest girls, but there are programs that want our ball players."
Kalama is 5-foot-8, Davis is 5-11, and Kaiaokamalie is 5-7.
Kalama is one of two incoming setters for the Saints, who will have no returnees at the position.
"I'm really excited," Kalama said. "I met the team, and I know how they are, they are really nice, and I know they will back me up on the court. I'm excited that I get to play with all of them. Both of their setters are graduating, so I feel like there is a lot of opportunity to play early."
Kaiaokamalie will go to Chico State in the honors program and plans to study environmental science and sustainable manufacturing.
"For a long time - ever since last year - I have been calling coaches, sending emails, and it feels good to just finally have it all settled," Kaiaokamalie said. "Hopefully, I can become an environmental engineer for renewable energy, that kind of stuff."
The Warriors girls volleyball program has won nine straight MIL D-I titles. Wednesday's trio was part of an eight-player senior class for the 2012 season.
"I think we have had a lot of people to look up to, a lot of Division I people who signed in the past, and I think that we just kind of looked up to them for a while, our class in particular," Kaiaokamalie said. "It just says that we have been working hard and our hard work has paid off. I think Ginger kind of opened a door for us, showed us we can make it big, too."
Davis said there is a sense of relief that the recruiting process is done. She chose Hilo over University of La Verne in California.
"It feels great. It was a lot of decision making to be made and I'm just happy that it is finally made," Davis said. "This shows that we really are talented here. and as a group of girls we are really skilled, we love the game and we're very passionate about it. We have to thank all of our coaches through all the years.
"I'm going to miss all of these girls. It is going to be different not playing with them on the court throughout the season, but I know that we will all have fun."
* Rob Collias can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.