POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Apr 14, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 02:05 a.m. HST, Apr 14, 2011
Randi Lau has been near and far in her gymnastics career.
Now, the sport will afford her a free education at Louisiana State University. Lau, a senior at Myron B. Thompson Academy, was one of the signees yesterday morning at the Pacific Islands Athletic Alliance ceremony in the HMSA building.
ON THE WEB» Videos: See interviews with the signees at hawaii
Lau drew interest from other Southeastern Conference schools, but is ready to become a Tiger. Her success at the Junior Olympics includes qualification for the Junior Olympic Nationals in 2004, when she was 10. She competed at the international elite level in '05 before suffering an injury a year later.
Two years ago, she landed on the Junior National team as one of the nation's top 12 juniors.
"I chose LSU because their team is such a welcoming family. They're so supportive of my academic and athletic career," she said. "I'm so glad to represent Kokokahi Gymnastics and Hawaii, and compete on a national level."
Georgia, Arkansas and Alabama were other suitors.
"It was hard, but I was looking more at my academics and in the long run, where I would be," she said. "I'm really excited. I'm so stoked."
She'll be the first Hawaii gymnast to attend LSU on scholarship.
Farrington was represented at the signing ceremony by All-State Fab 15 basketball players Brydgette Tatupu-Leopoldo and Kirsten Liana. The two will play for Dixie State College, which plays in the Pacific West Conference.
"It was the plan, to go wherever with each other and try not to go separate," Tatupu-Leopoldo said.
"Dixie State offered us a good deal, which is very rare to take two (players), so we're excited," Liana said.
School principal Alfredo Carganilla was among the many Governors in attendance.
"It's great that they'll be together," Carganilla said. "They're good students. They love the classroom and they do good on the court."
Roosevelt's Asten Koki, a three-sport letterman, signed with Portland State to play football.
"I wanted to go there because it's a great school education-wise, athletic-wise," the linebacker said. "I'm really stoked. I can't wait to go, make my family proud."
He'll join a group of football players from the islands, including All-State defensive back Walter Santiago Jr. of Kamehameha.
Another Rough Rider who signed yesterday was volleyball player Taylor Pupuhi, who will attend San Jacinto College in Houston.
"The coach found me and offered me a full ride," she said. "It's a small campus and that's what I was looking for."
Moanalua had three signees yesterday: volleyball players Courtney Calicdan (Menlo College), Momi Mariani (Fairleigh Dickenson) and baseball player Ross Hasegawa (Concordia).
Calicdan has her sights set on marketing and communications.
"They have my major. And I'll do a little bit of film in there, too," she said. "But first I'll make sure I'm waking up and getting to class on time."
"It's a good small school, a Christian school," said Hasegawa, who has a 3.0 grade-point average. "You keep the grades up, you get more financial-aid money."
Punahou volleyball standouts Benjamin Lam and Joshua Taylor towered over their peers. Lam signed with USC, and Taylor with Pepperdine.
"We're pretty stoked about the next level," said Taylor, who completed his eligibility last year.
"He's been very supportive, a great co-captain all year," Lam added.
Both players turned down offers from Hawaii.
Damien was represented by four seniors: Shayvis Wilson, Austyn Flores and Dylan Yonamine-Baysa (football), and hoopster Lonn Iwashita.
"The whole state in general seems like a warm place, just like Hawaii," said Wilson, who signed with Valley City State (North Dakota).
SIGNEES AT PIAA CEREMONY