Diamonds were girls’ — and boys’ — best friends in 2010 for Hawaii college softball and baseball teams.
The Hawaii Pacific softball team won the NCAA Division II College World Series, and the University of Hawaii softball team set a national record for home runs on its way to its first WCWS appearance.
Meanwhile, the UH baseball team peaked at the right time and won the Western Athletic Conference tournament.
And don’t forget about the Waipio Little League All-Stars … they won the United States championship before losing to Japan in the world final.
The state’s flagship sports program, the UH football team, surprised most everyone but itself with a 10-4 season.
There was also plenty of big sports news away from the playing fields, headed by UH’s conference shift.
Here’s one person’s look at 2010 in review and 2011 in preview:
Looking back: Palmer, Nicklaus and Watson won in Hawaii. Not that Palmer (Ryan Palmer), but, yes, that Nicklaus and that Watson. … Geoff Oglivy captured the SBS Championship.
Looking ahead: … Much reason for optimism in UH basketball as Gib Arnold’s rebuilt Rainbow Warriors are young but tough. They gave Utah State all it could handle at the Aggies’ place the other night. … Super frosh Kamilah Jackson leads the Wahine. … Will we see Tadd Fujikawa at Waialae? … Pro Bowl before the Super Bowl — dumb. Pro Bowl back here in Hawaii — smart.
Looking back: UH men’s basketball team fell apart in the WAC. … Kahuku’s Aaron Francisco played in his second Super Bowl in a row. … Greg McMackin changed his coordinators, promoting Nick Rolovich and Dave Aranda. … Lahainaluna won the girls state basketball championship.
Looking ahead: Wahine softball starts its season. UH repeats its banner year of 2010 as star centerfielder Kelly Majam comes back strong from radiation treatment for thyroid cancer.
Looking back: UH missed the WAC basketball tournament, and Bob Nash was fired, Gib Arnold hired. … Christopher Chun stepped into big shoes, replacing Keith Amemiya as state high school sports chief. …. Kainoa Chu’s clutch shot gave ‘Iolani the boys state hoops crown.
Looking ahead: Maybe not the Big Dance yet, but Arnold’s Army makes it to the NIT or one of the other sock hops.
Looking back: Saint Louis grad Tyson Alualu felt a draft, as the NFL’s 10th overall pick, by the Jaguars. … BJ Penn lost his title to underdog whodaguy Frankie Edgar. … UH men’s volleyball, under first-year head coach Charlie Wade, exceeded expectations and won a home playoff match for the first time since 2003.
Looking ahead: What round will UH third-team All-American receiver Greg Salas be picked in? Can Wade and a strong core of super soph Jonas Umlauft, setter Nejc Zemljak and senior Joshua Walker take Warriors volleyball to the final four?
Looking back: Hawaii Pacific won the Division II Women’s College World Series. … Jenna Rodriguez hit the most dramatic homer in UH diamond history, propelling the Wahine past Alabama and into the Women’s College World Series. … On the same day, the UH baseball team won the WAC tournament for the first time in 18 years and got its first regional bid since 2006. … After much drama, Saint Louis School tabbed former star quarterback Darnell Arceneaux as its head coach
Looking ahead: Another gold rush for Punahou, which always does well in the high school spring state championships. Expect monster numbers from Majam, Rodriguez, several other softball players, and junior second baseman Kolten Wong of the baseball team in his money year. The composite college baseball bats aren’t as pingalicious as the old metal models, but Wong could hit .350 with a branch.
Looking back: Amber Kaufman of UH captured NCAA gold in the high jump, the first Wahine to do so since Gwen Loud in 1984. … UH volleyball coach Dave Shoji finally got picked for the AVCA Hall of Fame.
Looking ahead: Both Rainbows and Wahine can go deep into tournament play again with Wong and Majam, respectively. Kaufman back for her final outdoor season.
Looking back: UH athletic department won on the financial front, as the Board of Regents approved a student fee.
Looking ahead: More reasons to check the box scores daily, as more baseball players from Hawaii make it to The Show.
Looking back: Waipio won the United States championship at the Little League World Series despite losing its first game in double-elimination format.
Looking ahead: Quarterback Bryant Moniz will be back, but the UH football team will have to rebuild the rest of its offense the spring and summer.
Looking back: Warriors started the season 2-2. Kamalu Umu’s forced fumble at Army set up a dramatic late win at Army.
Looking ahead: Nonconference football games for UH against Washington, Colorado, UNLV and UC Davis.
Looking back: UH football team went 5-0, including big wins against WACstabbers Fresno State and Nevada. … Shane Victorino got another Gold Glove, but his Phillies were knocked out of the playoffs by the Giants, who won it all. … Wahine volleyball team rolled through the WAC regular season again, never losing a set.
Looking ahead: Warriors start their final football run through a depleted WAC that doesn’t include Boise State. The Wahine volleyball team dominates the WAC again on its last time through the league.
Looking back: Warriors lost at Boise State, but bounced back to go 7-1 in conference and earn a share of the WAC championship. … Kahuku football got its day in court, but not on the football field. … Wahine didn’t win the WAC volleyball tournament for the first time since 1997.
Looking ahead: The Warriors host Tulane on Nov. 26, bringing back not-so-happy memories of the 2002 Hawaii Bowl.
Looking back: UH sealed the deal to leave the WAC and join the Mountain West and Big West. … Wahine were swept out of the NCAA volleyball tournament in the second round by host Washington. … Controversy at the Honolulu Marathon as Belainesh Gebre won with a lot of help from a friend. … The Butler did it at the Diamond Head Classic. … Hawaii Bowl practice? PRACTICE?? Tulsa outprepared Hawaii, and Warriors’ offense depleted by suspension and injury.
Looking ahead: Wahine volleyball hosts an NCAA regional, and good timing: superstar hitter Kanani Danielson will be a senior. But will UH have enough around her to make a run to the final four? … A soft schedule gets the Warriors into the Hawaii Bowl despite its lack of returnees. … UH basketball makes it to the final of the Diamond Head Classic.