Hawaii to take swing at Walker and other alumni
Josh Walker had 3,313 hitting attempts during his All-America career at Hawaii, ranking him No. 2 on the program’s all-time list.
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Josh Walker had 3,313 hitting attempts during his All-America career at Hawaii, ranking him No. 2 on the program’s all-time list. The current Rainbow Warriors assistant is expecting to take quite a few swings tonight as one of the few outside hitters listed on the alumni roster for the match against the top-ranked varsity at the Stan Sheriff Center.
“It will be fun,” said Walker, in his fifth season at his alma mater. “I don’t know if you can call it playing … I’l be running around, throwing my hand up at the ball … but since we don’t have a lot of hitters, I’ll probably get a lot of swings in.
“I think it’s great for the guys to meet the alums and for the alums to come back, meet the guys and be involved. We’ve had the alums come back, talk about what it takes to be great. It really helps perpetuate that culture that we’ve been building. Life goes on after volleyball, and our alums show that what you learn here carries on to the rest of your life.”
That legacy is reflected in the choice for this year’s Pae Makaukau Alumni Recognition Award. State senator Kai Kahele (D-Hilo), who played three seasons for the Warriors (1995-97), will be honored at Sunday’s 10th A’a a Koa Scholarship Fundraiser at the Sheriff Center. He also is expected to play tonight.
Kahele, who announced his congressional campaign last year, is the Senate majority floor leader and chairman of the Committee on Water and Land. He is a lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard, is an 18-year combat veteran pilot who saw action in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, and received the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal and the Air Medal.
The award isn’t based on a player’s career but “it’s about what you’ve given to the community,” Hawaii coach Charlie Wade said. “He’s done a lot for the community for a long time. He’s a public servant.”
Kahele is the 10th recipient, a list that includes several who have continued to coach: Walker, Tom Pestolesi, Sivan Leoni, Mark Presho and Allen Allen.
The Warriors (9-0) are coming off a four-match road trip where they defeated No. 5 Lewis, No. 12 Loyola, Lincoln Memorial and King. Hawaii doesn’t return to competition until Feb. 6, when it hosts the Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Invitational, a field that includes Queens, Concordia-Irvine and UC Irvine.
“It’s a really good time for a break,” Wade said. “We’re in pretty good shape coming off the road trip, having had some really competitive matches.
“It’s a nice time for the guys to get settled back into school. We learned a little more about ourselves (on the road) and what we need to do to get better going forward. It’s nice to have this break and have two weeks to be in the gym to work on that.”