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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Opposite hitter will play for Warriors

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer


Steven Grgas yesterday agreed to join the University of Hawai'i men's volleyball team, completing a recruiting process that he started when he was 5.

"Ever since I was a little kid," said Grgas, a 6-foot-7 opposite hitter from Seal Beach, Calif., "I knew I would end up in Hawai'i. It always felt like home."

Grgas played on the silver-medal-winning Junior Olympic team. As a senior at Los Alamitos High School, he was named one of Volleyball Magazine's Fab 50 for 2005.

He said he also received offers from UCLA, UC Irvine and Southern California.

"It was the toughest decision of my life," he said. "The other programs are very good, but I fell in the direction of Hawai'i. I've wanted to go there for a long time. This is the best decision for me."

Grgas said Hawai'i has become his summer home. He spent 2 1/2 weeks in Kona in 2003, and a month there last year. He returns today for a three-week stay.

"I just train and play volleyball with all of the locals," said Grgas, who stays at a family friend's home. "I love it over there. I can't get enough of it."

He said his mother often retells stories of his first visit to Hawai'i.

"I was 5, and she said she couldn't get me to take a bath, but I had no problems going into the ocean water in Hawai'i," he recalled. "She couldn't get me to come out of the water in Hawai'i. Ever since, it's been the same. I can't go into the ocean water in California. I only go into the water in Hawai'i. I feel at ease in Hawai'i."

Grgas, who began playing volleyball three years ago, has developed into an effective middle blocker and powerful opposite hitter.

Grgas was named to the Junior Olympic All-Tournament team. One of his team's assistant coaches was Jake Schkud, UH's sophomore outside hitter. At Schkud's recommendation, the coaches evaluated videotapes of Grgas, then extended an offer. Grgas is projected to compete at opposite hitter at UH.