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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, May 16, 2003

Kahuku track star heading for Arizona

By Dennis Anderson
Advertiser Staff Writer

Some coaches call the state track and field championships the "Money Meet" because college recruiters often wait to see how an athlete performs under that pressure in that competition before they offer any of their limited scholarship money.

His state meet record discus throw of 186-feet Saturday paid off for Kahuku High's Jerrod Avegalio.

Avegalio had already decided to walk on to the University of Arizona track team. But on Tuesday, he said, he was told by Wildcat throwing coach John Frasier that he will receive a 10 percent scholarship, with a chance to get more if he can throw the heavier college discus with the power he threw in high school.

NCAA Division I men's track and field teams are allowed only 11.5 scholarships — once they got 30 — and they have to divide the pie many ways. Only a few stars get more than a fraction of a scholarship.

Avegalio is supposed to receive a National Letter of Intent and scholarship agreement via FedEx by Monday and he said he would sign and return it immediately.

Avegalio's best throw of 186-10 in the O'ahu Interscholastic Association Eastern Division meet on April 10 made him eligible for the adidas Outdoor National Championships in North Carolina on June 13-14. But he said he would not go to any Mainland meets this summer in order to save for his trip to Arizona in August.

Avegalio is 6 feet 3 and 200 pounds and, based upon his Samoan heritage, figures he has lots of room to grow.

"He said they were satisfied with my technique, based on what he saw in the tapes I sent, and he saw my potential," Avegalio said. "He said that it is better to build strength on technique than the other way around."

• Swimming: Radford's Stella Brinich, the state 200-yard individual medley champion in 2000 and this year, signed Tuesday night with San Diego State.

"I'm thrilled," said Brinich, who won six O'ahu Interscholastic Association championships the past three years, setting OIA meet records in the 100-yard backstroke and 100 butterfly and several OIA Western Division meet records.

Brinich said San Diego State coach Deena Schmidt phoned her in March, then showed up at her workout with the Kamehameha Swim Club the next week.

• Soccer: Gonzaga University's starting goalkeeper has been from Hawai'i six of the past seven years and that tradition could continue.

Gonzaga coach Einar Thorarinsson announced Wednesday that he had signed Pac-Five's Vito Higgins, a senior at Academy of the Pacific.

With the graduation of All-West Coast Conference keeper Mike McCarthy (Kalaheo '99), Gonzaga has no experienced goalies returning. Thorarinsson said the job will be up for grabs among two red-shirt freshmen and two true freshmen, including Higgins.

Higgins is from Kailua, same as McCarthy and Josh Fouts, another Kalaheo alumnus who set records in goal for Gonzaga from 1995-'98.

Higgins allowed only three goals in 14 games in the past season as Pac-Five (10-1-3) finished second in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu.