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Hawaii 8 season set for January

LIHUE — Kauai college students will have an opportunity to continue in organized and competitive athletics while pursuing their college education on the Garden Island.

“You just need to be enrolled in college,” said Stacy Iwasaki, head coach of the Kauai team representing the Hawaii 8 Club College Football conference. “Part time student status is alright — you just need to be enrolled in a college. This is a junior college level program which make part time students eligible.”

The league starts play in January with two rounds of play and each team playing four games in each round. Following the regularly-scheduled season, there are the postseason games.

“Our goal is to have a roster of at least 30 players,” Iwasaki said. “We also need support in other levels such as media for film room, scouting support, arts and dance for cheer and band, math for statistics, medical for athletic training, business for the booster club, and more. There are lots of opportunity — people just need to have a passion for people and the game of football.”

Iwasaki said Charlie Rifenbark, an experienced high school and collegiate coach, will be the team’s assistant coach, and Kaulana Wa‘alani Arroyo will be the defensive coordinator. Al Pablo will lead the booster club.

“We’re still looking for assistant coaches, and support staff with any coaching level experience,” Iwasaki said. “We start play in January so we need to get going.”

A series of meet-and-greet meetings are scheduled for prospective candidates to meet the staff as well as learn more about the program that enables a student to continue in sports beyond high school. Athletes can also register at the meetings.

The first meeting will be held July 2 starting at 6 p.m. at the Hanapepe Neighborhood Center. A second meeting will be held July 9 at the Niumalu Pavilion, also at 6 p.m., and a third meeting will take place July 10 at the Lydgate Park main pavilion starting at 6 p.m.

As details of the season become more formalized, an island-wide meeting will be scheduled at a time and place to be announced.

“We have recent high school graduates Kupapa Flores and Marcus Carvalho committed,” Iwasaki said. “Both students graduated a few years ago, but went on missions. As you can see, this program is for anyone who can continue their education through athletics.”

Support for the Hawaii 8 conference has been encouraging since the league was started, Iwasaki said.

“We have been shown great support from the Kauai Economic Development Board,” Iwasaki said. “They have been very helpful to us from the start, and have formed a partnership with the league. The Kauai Community College administration and faculty have already agreed to support us, and a lot of the student body are already talking about the upcoming league play.”

There are also different departments in the County of Kauai who see our vision of the benefits of education through athletics, the head coach said.

“I believe Hawaii 8 will fill a great need in our community,” said Andrew “Andy” Chun, the coach of Moku O Keawe Football Club on the Big Island through the Hawaii 8 website. “No matter the circumstance, Hawaii students now have an affordable option to pursue their career pathways through our local community colleges, play football, and earn a degree.”

Iwasaki said because the conference is based at the community college level, he feels the conference will fill out with an eventual eight teams, the number of community colleges within the University of Hawaii system.

“We have five teams — two on Oahu, one each on Maui and the Big Island, and Kauai — starting the season,” Iwasaki said. “But because we are a club football program, we’re allowed to play with clubs from other colleges, or universities such as Hawaii Pacific University, if they have a club program.”

Info: www.Hawaii8.org, or Stacy Iwasaki at 651-0309.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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