Friday, January 19, 2001
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Posted on: Friday, January 19, 2001

UH-Hilo inducts four to Vulcans Hall of Honor

By Hugh Clark
Advertiser Big Island Bureau

HILO, Hawaii — Three former all-star athletes and a long-time Honolulu supporter with Big Island ties will be inducted to the University of Hawaii-Hilo Vulcans Hall of Fame this weekend.

The four represent the 10th class of inductees in the program that was launched in 1992.

They are:

Baseball player Lance Suyama, who played on three Hawaii-Hilo teams that went to the NAIA World Series. Suyama is a deputy sheriff in Oregon. He holds team records in several categories, including hits, games played, and for doubles, triples and home runs. He is the team’s second all-time batter with a .331 average.

"Lance was a clutch player," according to coach Joey Estrella, who will introduce him in ceremonies at an on-campus luncheon and at the halftime ceremonies of tomorrow’s Hawaii-Hilo basketball game with Brigham Young-Hawaii. He is the second baseball player named to the hall.

Tanya Fuamatu, one of the most celebrated volleyball players in a program with seven national titles. She was a four-year starter who was the NAIA national player of the year in 1993.

Fuamatu, who is an assistant coach at rival Chaminade, was described by coach Sharon Peterson as "up at the top among the players I’ve coached." Fuamatu was on teams that went 97-30.

She also holds several records, and was twice was chosen the Pacific West Conference Player of the Year after UHH moved into the NCAA’s Division II.

Molokai’s Melveena Starkey was a four-year softball standout with a career .399 batting average. She helped the Vulcans to a fourth place finish in the NAIA nationals in 1992. She is a faculty member at Molokai High and helps coach the girls’ softball and basketball teams.

UHH softball coach Callen Perreira described Starkey as "the best pure hitter we’ve had."

The fourth inductee is Hilo native Wayne Miyao, a vice president at City Bank in Honolulu, which helped start the Hall of Honor and annually underwrites part of the expenses to keep the program alive.

Miyao, who graduated from Hilo High and attended UHH when it was known as Hilo College, has represented the bank at every induction program, including the one in 1994 when the late James Morita, a Kona native and former City Bank president, was installed.

The luncheon at 11 a.m. tomorrow at the UHH Campus Center is open to the public at a cost of $20. Details are available at 808-974-7520.

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