COVID-19 continued to make a mess of the sports world in 2021, but Hawaii still had a few big moments to celebrate

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1. It’s going to be remembered as the best season by no means observed.

A minimum of in particular person, this is. However, sure, it truly did occur, the College of Hawaii males’s volleyball workforce gained the NCAA championship in 2021.

In a 12 months of endured international uncertainty and frustration because of the pandemic, the Warriors supplied respite and thrills for his or her lovers. It culminated in a countrywide name victory at Columbus, Ohio, on Would possibly 8. The championship fit led to a sweep in opposition to rival BYU making it the entire sweeter.

On account of COVID-19, UH performed its house suits in an empty enviornment that undoubtedly would had been standing-room-only or just about it because the workforce received momentum and hosted the Large West event, the overall step to the NCAAs. UH suffered its solely loss in a 17-1 season, in opposition to UC San Diego within the convention semifinals. However the Warriors nonetheless made it to the overall 4, and swept UC Santa Barbara to get to the overall.

It’s the primary crown in a males’s workforce recreation for UH — this is, no longer counting the former one in 2002, additionally in volleyball, that used to be vacated later as a result of an NCAA violation.

This workforce, led by way of Twelfth-year head trainer Charlie Wade, used to be a number of skill from close to and some distance, like Colton Cowell of Maui and Rado Parapunov from Bulgaria, who used to be the nationwide participant of the 12 months.

They didn’t let the virus prevent them; they caught in combination after the 2020 season used to be scrapped and gained all of it in ’21.

2. By no means has a 12 months that integrated a post-season berth been so distressful for the UH soccer program.

Months earlier than it all started, there used to be tragedy with the deaths of 2007 Heisman Trophy finalist Colt Brennan and iconic sportscaster Robert Kekaula.

Trainer Todd Graham got here off a 5-4 debut that integrated a bowl victory. However his 2nd season started with out a Aloha Stadium and ended with little aloha for him. Coronavirus variants didn’t assist; Delta intended no spectators on the on-campus alternative homefield till after homecoming, after which Omicron had a hand within the Hawaii Bowl being canceled.

However there used to be worse. and it’s ongoing: Gamers complained on social media about Graham’s old-school training taste amid an extraordinary exodus of unsatisfied gamers, lots of them starters, by the use of the switch portal. They integrated co-captains Chevan Cordeiro and Darius Muasau … or even Graham’s son, Michael.

No longer the entirety went improper at the box, despite the fact that. Victories over 18th-ranked Fresno State early within the season and at Wyoming to finish it left us to marvel what extra this workforce that went 6-7 may have completed if no longer for the strife.

3. International champion Carissa Moore have shyed away from possible political controversy as deftly as she carved storm-whipped waves to win the primary Olympic browsing gold medal on the Tokyo Video games.

Professional surfers from the islands most often compete below the Hawaiian flag, however the Global Olympic Committee dominated in opposition to it.

Moore, who is a part Local Hawaiian, made certain there used to be various pleasure to move round in an Instagram put up after her victory.

“Guys, we did it! That is for all of you. For the US. For Hawaii.”

Upon her go back house to the birthplace of browsing, she visited the statue of Duke Kahanamoku — the mythical Hawaiian Olympian of a century in the past who lobbied for browsing to be integrated within the video games.

4. Kahuku assembly Saint Louis within the greatest sport of the Hawaii highschool soccer season is not anything new. However this time the North Shore public faculty powerhouse clobbered the perennial personal faculty champs 49-14 for the Open Department state name, snapping the Crusaders’ run of 4 consecutive championships.

Kahuku is in most cases recognized for its straight-ahead smash-mouth taste, however this workforce excelled similarly at passing and operating the ball below head trainer Sterling Carvalho — and, simply as importantly, it performed lights-out protection on its solution to a 10-0 season.

5. A Hawaii workforce made it to the championship sport of the Little League International Sequence for the 5th time since 2003.

However in 2021, Honolulu misplaced to Michigan within the ultimate 2-1. (A workforce from the similar Honolulu league gained in 2018.)

Go back journeys to the LLWS are uncommon — particularly greater than 30 years aside. Kevin Bagoyo performed at the Pearl Town workforce that misplaced to Taiwan within the 1988 ultimate. This summer time he used to be an assistant trainer for the workforce his son, Zack, performed on. Little League officers stated it’s the primary time a father and son each made it to Williamsport as gamers.

In some other global collection, the Girls’s Faculty International Sequence, Oklahoma’s Jocelyn Alo by the use of Campbell Prime endured to damage opposing pitching and led the Sooners over Florida State with homers in two of the 3 video games. She led the country with 34 house runs, has 88 in her profession and gained a lot of participant of the 12 months awards.