Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

High School Surfing approved for Hawaii – to start spring ’13 school year

The Hawaii State board of education approved surfing in May 2004, but funding, safety concerns, liability and other challenges prevented the sport from becoming sanctioned.

Board of Education member Keith Amemiya said the estimated cost of surfing in the first year will be about $150,000, with $50,000 already committed through private sources.

The financially-strapped state is confident it will receive the necessary funding gauging from the interest from the community and corporate sponsors.

Governor Neil Abercrombie, while taking monies from Public Workers, feels that he can come up with the necessary funds to make high school surfing a reality

“Regardless … we’re going to make this work,” Abercrombie said. “We’re not looking at this in terms of if we don’t have all the dollars, we’re not going to do anything. Quite the opposite.”

With the addition of surfing, students in Hawaii public schools will have 19 different sports, believed to be the most in the nation — from air riflery to bowling — producing 44 state champions every year.

big dog comment:  it would be nice if the state could take that same money raised for high school surfing and properly fund the UHH cross country team!

October 3, 2011 Posted by | surfing | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Vulcan Booster Luncheon profiles Volleyball and Cross Country

Hillary Hurley and Coach Reyes

The University of Hawaii at Hilo Vulcan’s booster club hosted a luncheon at the Naniloa on Tuesday, Sept 13.

Many of the high profile coaches from the athletic department were on hand including Vulcan Athletic Director Dexter Irvin.

Volleyball coach Tino Reyes and star player Hillary Hurley were on hand to say a few words about their program.

Reyes, when asked who will be the Vulcan toughest opponent this year, jokingly said BYU China!

“I don’t think we could have beaten Hilo High at the start of last season,” Reyes said.  “We have a good volleyball team this season.”

Hurley, who is the reigning conference champion, is a senior from Redding, California and has been offered an assistant coaching position at Chico State.

The Chico State offer is for next season and with it comes the opportunity for her to continue on with graduate school.

Nadia Ramirez and Coach Guerpo

Cross Country Coach Jaime Guerpo and lead runner Nadia Ramirez also said a few words at the luncheon.

“I’m just glad I can say I’m still a cross country coach,” Guerpo said.  “Like I tell my runners, we need to take it one step at a time.”

Guerpo was talking about the lack of funding for his sport which almost saw him without the necessary funds to continue the harrier program.

Carole Kai and the Great Aloha Run stepped forward to fund his women’s team with the necessary travel funds to keep the program going this season.

Guerpo will need to fundraise in 2012 to ensure the existence of cross country at UHH.

Ramirez, an incoming freshman from Hilo High, has led the Vulcan’s during the early season meets.

“We have five freshmen on this year’s team,” Guerpo said.  “We started with seven girls and we’re down to five left on the team.”

BYU Hawaii is the top women’s team in the league and Guerpo is hopeful that his ladies will qualify for the conference championships which will be held on Oct. 29 at Grand Canyon.

September 13, 2011 Posted by | Events | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Petitions circulating to help save UHH cross country programs

HPU men’s cross country team

Hawaii Sports Magazine and Hawaii Pacific University are circulating petitions to help save the University of Hawaii men’s and women’s cross country teams from being abolished.

Related links on the UHH cross country program:

 https://waynejoseph.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/grassroot-support-growing-to-save-uhh-cross-country-program/

https://waynejoseph.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/uhh-athletics-suspends-cross-country-cheerleading-press-release/

Christian Friis, coach of HPU, is helping to keep the UHH program going and is encouraging people to sign a petition to show support for the Vulcan harriers.

Following are the petitions that are circulating:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/uhhcrosscountry/signatures
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/uhhcrosscountry/

April 20, 2011 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , | 4 Comments

Grassroot support growing to save UHH cross country program

Some members of the UHH women’s cross country team

“It is a sad day when UH Hilo cuts the only sport that has a connection to traditional Hawaiian culture (makahiki),” Kamehameha chemistry teacher Joel Truesdell said.

Truesdell is referring to the latest announcement from the Vulcan athletic department to cut both the men’s and women’s cross country programs in order to meet the projected 10 percent budget deficit.

“It shows a lack of sensitivity or awareness to the cultural basis of sport in our Hawaiian community,” Truesdell said.  “All we are left with are imported games.”

Along with being a teacher at the Kamehameha-Keaau campus Truesdell is also the head women’s cross country coach for the Warriors and an advocate for distance running.

The UHH cross country program is a non revenue generating sport and, like most business decisions, found itself at the bottom of the priority list and at the top of the chopping block of UHH Athletic Director Dexter Irvine.

“Our kids are devastated,” UHH cross country coach Jaime Guerpo said.  “I broke the news to them a few days ago and since that time we’ve been looking at ways to try to come up with the $100,000 needed each year to keep us going.”

Guerpo has been coaching the cross country program at UHH since 1999 and has taken a budget cut ever year.

“I feel it’s my duty to keep the program going,” Guerpo said.  “I understand that the administration had to make the cuts to keep the athletic program going and we’ve always made do with what we got and have produced a very successful program.”

Guerpo is even willing to coach the team without compensation if it would help salvage the program.

“I’d give up my pay in a heartbeat if that is what it would take to keep this program going,” he said.  “We’re looking at all sorts of ways to help keep cross country alive at UHH.”

Over the years Guerpo had heavily recruited local athletes from around the state to run on his men’s and women’s teams.

Currently Christian Liberty’s Justin Pang, Keoni and Nick Ucker, Keaau’s Nick Hagemann and Liliana DeSmither, Kau’s Kapua Lapera, Waiakea’s James Imai, and Hilo’s Stefano Barbis are members of the team.

Several of the current and former UHH cross country runners were winners of the Big Island Road Runners scholarship.

“We were all in shock when Coach Jaime broke the news to us a few days ago,” Imai said.  “We’re still hoping we can find a way to keep the programs alive.”

The BIRR, along with the Big Island International Marathon, Honolulu Marathon, and Big Island Running Company have all been contacted to lend their support towards helping to keep running alive at UHH.

These UHH runners have also been highly visible in the community, often found at the finish lines of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation cross country and track and field finish lines as they help give back to the sport in which they love dearly.

Guerpo and his runners have also been strong support/volunteers at Hawai’i Island Special Olympics and numerous County Parks and Recreation track and field meets as they serve as strong role models for our community.

“We also help out with the Big Island Marathon each year by setting up hundreds of cones and barricades along the 26.2 mile course at 3:00 a.m. and then collecting and returning them when the event is over,” Guerpo said.

“The UHH cross country team are not self-promoters, but are contributors in ways that are not always recognized in public forums,” Faith Nance, the cross country representative on the Vulcan Athletic Club said.

“Many of the talented high school runners who choose to remain at home have the opportunity to continue to participate in a sport that can become a lifelong avocation and a strong foundation for a healthy lifestyle,” Nance said.

Dozens of emails poured into the Big Dog’s mail box in support of looking at ways of keeping the cross country program alive at UH Hilo.

 “At least UH Manoa gets it,” Truesdell said.  “They have a full complement of the sports that are traditionally based such as cross country, track and field, swimming and sailing.”  

The UHH athletic department made their decision to cut cross country without getting community input which has many local residents upset because they feel they are stake holders in higher education.

“It seems to me that UH Hilo should reach out to the community before making this decision,” Truesdell said.  “The people here will take care of their own if given the opportunity or challenge.”

Guerpo continues to look over a variety of scenarios to see if something can be salvaged.

Vulcan runners support many local community races

“If we have to give something up then I’d like to see the women’s team saved as this would at least come into Title 9 compliance of gender equity, “Guerpo said.

 If the UHH decision makers were to come to BIIF cross country meet they would see the connections.  Keeping a sport like this will maintain and strengthen ties to the community that are priceless.

“A University’s cross country program provides a valuable benefit not only to the team members, but also to the entire university and surrounding community by inspiring everyone to get more active,” Jason Braswell, owner of the Big Island Running Company said.

“Collegiate cross country is particularly inspirational to middle school and high school students who get to see where their running can lead them,” Braswell said.

With the continued growth of the Big Island International Marathon and BIIF cross county programs the continuation of a university running team would be responding to the interest of a growing segment of our community.

We all hope that Athletic Director Dexter Irvin will reconsider his decision to cut an important sports program and instead become part of the solution in promoting something that has deep seeded roots in our culturally based community.

If anyone in the community would like to help save the UHH cross country program please contact the Big Dog at waiakeabigdog@aol.com or call 969-7400.

Related link:  https://waynejoseph.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/uhh-athletics-suspends-cross-country-cheerleading-press-release/

April 18, 2011 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

UHH to cut Men’s & Women’s Cross Country Programs

 UHH to eliminate men’s & women’s cross country:  Inside sources have leaked that the athletic department, under Dexter Irvin, is looking to make 10 percent budget cuts in the 2011 – 2012 season.Irvin and his staff have decided to eliminate, or suspend for two years, the men’s and women’s cross country program.Getting rid of cross country would save the Vulcan athletic department approximately $100,000 per year which would fit into the goal of reducing cost by 10 percent.Cross country is a non revenue producing sport and the UHH athletic department is looking at ways of increasing revenue.Many of our local runners have gone onto run at the collegiate level at UHH under Coach Jaime Guerpo who has recruited heavily within the state.

Keoni and Nick Ucker, along with Justin Pang formerly of Christian Liberty Academy; James Imai from Waiakea, Nick and Nina Hagemann of Keaau, Stefano Barbis and Milia Williams from Hilo, are just a few of the many talented local runners that Guerpo had recruited in recent years.

The athletic department is more concerned with high profile sports that can generate revenue as sports such as cross country, golf and tennis may be on its way out.

Coach Guerpo hasn’t given up and will be presenting a variety of options to the UHH athletic department.  If you’d like to help you can write letters to the UHH athletic department and address it to Mr. Dexter Irvine.

I hope the program can somehow be salvaged. 

April 14, 2011 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments