Golf director among heroes of state events
By Dennis Anderson
Advertiser Staff Writer
May 12 was one of the busiest golf days of the year for Maui's Kapalua Resort.
Gregory Yamamoto The Honolulu Advertiser
Thanks to the unsung efforts of many people, teams like 'Aiea in girls basketball were able to celebrate state tournament championships.
Gregory Yamamoto The Honolulu Advertiser
But Marty Keiter, director of golf at Kapalua, closed the Village course so that 120 Hawai'i high school boys could play their state championship tournament, which had been threatened with cancellation because of last month's teachers' strike.
Keiter declined to disclose figures, but greens fees at Kapalua range as high as $160 ($62 for residents, $125 for hotel guests and $160 for others).
The high school boys displaced at least 240 starting times, playing 18 holes in the morning and another 18 in the afternoon.
If you take the middle rate of $125 as a theoretical average, that means Kapalua Resort took a $30,000 hit on May 12 so it could play host to the David S. Ishii Foundation Hawai'i High School Athletic Association boys championship tournament.
But Keiter didn't stop there. Besides giving them a place to play on a Saturday free after the Department of Education edict that no class time could be taken for sports forced officials to scrub their original Wednesday-Friday schedule, Keiter and Kapalua:
Provided free breakfast before the morning round for all players and coaches, free beverages on the course all during the 36-hole day and afterward, and free hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and beverages for the golfers and coaches at lunch between rounds.
Rented three Ford Explorers to shuttle spectators (mostly parents of golfers) among three different locations on the golf course for best visibility of the action.
Had many golf course employees serving as rules officials.
Rescheduled golfers who had booked tee times for the Village course months in advance to other courses.
Closed the driving range to the public and opened it at 5:30 a.m. for the boys, who had lost their usual practice round to the class-time restriction.
"It was so first class, you can not even describe how fantastic they made the state tournament for the boys," said Keith Amemiya, executive director of the state association.
"They thought of every detail, even personalized bag tags for every golfer to have as a memento that's 120 tags, and prepared on short notice," Amemiya said. "They went out of their way to make it like a PGA Tournament, and left no stone unturned in taking care of the golfers.
Marty Keiter was called "a godsend" for his help.
For Keiter, son of retired sports broadcasting icon Les Keiter, the motivation was simple:
"The kids have been looking forward to this for a long time. We want them to play."
He knows how important the state championships are for the student-athletes because his son formerly played for Lahainaluna High.
Keiter even offered to host the girls tournament, too, when it was displaced by the strike, but Ka'anapali Resort stepped up to play host at its South course.
"He has been a godsend to all of us," Amemiya said. "We are forever indebted to him and the rest of his Kapalua staff."
In addition to Keiter, there were numerous other heroes who made it possible to conduct six state championships last weekend with much less than usual preparation time.
Among them were:
Mary Bea Porter-King, president of the Hawai'i State Junior Golf Association, who gave the HHSAA a date her group had reserved at Ka'anapali South Course, and Ben Neeley, director of golf at Ka'anapali South, who closed the course to the public for half a day to provide the additional 18 hours the high school players needed for their championship.
Kapa'a High athletic director Dwight Fujii, who worked to find enough courts to play preliminary rounds of the tennis tournament on Kaua'i on Friday and Saturday. Tennis was perhaps the most complicated tournament to re-do, Amemiya said, because of the number of matches involved and the number of courts required to play them in a condensed schedule.
Kamehameha athletic director Blane Gaison and McKinley athletic director Neal Takamori offered the use of their gyms for the first round of basketball, originally set at Stan Sheriff Center. There was no upside to play host, because if their teams had qualified, they would have had to play at the other gym to main the neutral court rule of state competition.
Hawaiian Airlines, and especially Liane Komatsu and Bernie Salvador, worked ceaselessly to fly about 750 athletes and coaches, most of whom could not leave until after school on Friday, to different islands in time to compete Friday night. In order to handle so many passengers, who fly Hawaiian at a discount under a state contract, Hawaiian opened up other classes of fares at the same rates.
State Sen. Bob Hogue (R-24th District) (Kane'ohe-Maunawili-Enchanted Lake) and Winston Sakurai, vice chair of the state board of education, started working to save the championships almost immediately after schools superintendent Paul LeMahieu announced that public schools would not be allowed to participate because of lost class time. Sakurai, and hundreds of phone calls from parents, convinced LeMahieu to back down only a few hours later.
Pat McCall, athletic director of St. Anthony School, and dozens of other officials and volunteers on Maui, ran a nearly perfect track and field championship meet in the face of monumental obstacles of condensing three days into a day and a night.
The tournament directors, all of whom had to implement schedules they had never used before, were Steve Perry of Hawai'i Prep for boys and girls golf, Keith Morioka of Waipahu for baseball, Lee Cashman of Kalaheo for track and field, Alex Kane, retired athletic director of Kailua, for girls basketball, and Agenhart Ellis of Farrington for tennis.
None of the sponsors dropped out, or asked to pay a lesser amount because the tournaments were condensed, Amemiya said. They are the David S. Ishii Foundation for boys and girls golf, the Carlsmith Ball law firm for tennis, Island Movers for track and field, Hawaiian Airlines for girls basketball, and the Wally Yonamine Foundation for baseball. Year-round sponsors Chevron and Local Motion also stuck it out.
HHSAA office workers Jaylene Sarcedo and Tammy Goodall did "double duty during the strike and afterward when the schedules were revamped," Amemiya said. During the strike they worked out of their homes during the day and in the office at night so they wouldn't have to cross the picket lines at Stevenson Intermediate, where the HHSAA office is located.
And while Amemiya was working every day, day and night, including weekends, to try and pull off championships in one weekend that usually are held over four weekends, his wife, Bonny, worked extra-long hours, too, taking over most of his share of caring for their 11/2-year-old son, Christopher, "at an age where he is very, very active."
Waikele Shopping Center offered its employers parking lot, Leeward YMCA offered its parking lot, and Enoa Tours provided a continuous shuttle service at rock-bottom prices to and from the baseball games Friday night at Hans L'Orange Park.