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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Sun among four swimmers hoping to make big splash

By Leila Wai and Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writers

Hongzhe Sun

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Homegrown Home & Away chronicles feats of college athletes here and away.

If you know of former Hawai'i high school athletes deserving of recognition, give us their names, high schools and graduation year, colleges and sports. E-mail us at homegrown@honoluluadvertiser.com

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Stanford junior Hongzhe Sun knows about Hawai'i's swimming past and has a chance to add his name to its long history this weekend.

Sun is ranked in the top five nationally in all three individual events he will compete in for the NCAA Championships, giving him a chance to be the first from Hawai'i to win an individual swimming title in recent history.

"I think back in the 50s, there were a bunch of people from Hawai'i at Ohio State (who won individual titles)," Sun said. "I never thought about it (that I would possibly be the first in more than 50 years to do it again). It would be exciting to win any type of NCAA championship. It would be an honor, especially to represent Hawai'i, and Stanford as well."

Entering the championships, the 2003 Iolani graduate has posted the second fastest times nationally in both the 200 individual medley (1:44.49) and 200 backstroke (1:41.17). In his third event, the 100 backstroke, he has the fifth fastest time in 46.79 seconds.

He competes in all three at the NCAA Division I Men's Swimming & Diving Championships at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center in Atlanta from March 23 to 25. He is also entered in the 200 and 400 medley relays.

He isn't the only swimmer from Hawai'i in the men's NCAA championships.

Stanford sophomore Noa Sakamoto, a 2004 Punahou graduate, is competing in the 500 and 1650 freestyle.

"It's definitely exciting," Sun said. "Noa's a great teammate, he trains really well."

California-Berkeley sophomore Mark Eckert, a 2004 Iolani graduate, is swimming the 200 individual medley and 200 backstroke.

Florida senior Nick Borreca, a 2002 graduate of Punahou, "has been a key member of the 200 and 400 free(style) relays this season" according to the school's Web site.

He swam the opening leg of the 200 freestyle at the SEC Championships and helped the team record a season-best time of 1:19.24. He also swam the third leg of the 400 freestyle at the SEC Championships, where the Gators recorded a season-best time of 2:54.95.

Individually, he will compete in the 50 and 100 freestyle.

"It's pretty good representation," Sun said of the four Hawai'i swimmers in the NCAA Championships.


  • UC Irvine sophomore Chelsea Nagata (Maui '04 of Kahului) earned All-America honors at the NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships at the Gabrielsen Natatorium in Athens, Ga., Friday.

    Nagata finished seventh in the 100 butterfly in 53.76 seconds. She was the fourth fastest qualifier in the event with a UCI record time of 53.18.

    Nagata is the first UC Irvine female swimmer to qualify for the finals at the NCAA Championships. She also finished 34th in the 100 backstroke preliminaries in 55.54 and 42nd in the 50 freestyle preliminaries in 23.21.


  • Southern Utah University freshman infielder Chester Wilson (Saint Louis '05) was named Mid-Continent Conference Offensive Player of the Week on Monday.

    Wilson batted .545 (6 for 11) with three doubles, five RBIs and four runs.

  • Washington State senior designated hitter Zach McAngus (Kamehameha '02) batted 9 for 21 with nine RBIs to help the Cougars go 3-2 in the Pepsi/Johnny Quik Classic tournament in Fresno, Calif., over the weekend.

  • Long Beach State freshman catcher Kip Masuda (Mid-Pacific '05) batted 3 for 3 on Saturday in an 8-7 loss to Wichita State at LBSU's Blair Field. One of the hits was a double. He is batting .414, playing in 11 of the team's 24 games.

  • Sacramento State sophomore catcher Brett Tanigawa (Moanalua '03) batted 2 for 3, including his first collegiate home run, in a 7-1 win against Utah Valley State on Sunday at Hornet Field. Teammate Jim Strombach (Moanalua '01), a senior outfielder, went 2 for 4, including a triple and two RBIs. Strombach is batting .329 on the season.

  • Willamette junior first baseman Grant Yamaguchi (Mid-Pacific '03 of 'Aiea) batted 4 for 5 with four RBIs, including his team-leading fifth home run, in a 9-1 win at Pacific University on Saturday at Forest Grove, Ore. Yamaguchi leads the team with a .392 batting average and is second with 18 RBIs.

    Yamaguchi was nominated for the Northwest Conference Player of the Week award on March 6 and 13. Pacific senior Chris Loo (Iolani '02) was nominated as the NWC Pitcher of the Week on March 13 and Willamette freshman pitcher Kelsey Nakata (Mililani '05) was nominated for NWC Pitcher of the Week on March 6.

  • Hartnell (Salinas, Calif.) Community College sophomore pitcher Marc Nobriga (Saint Louis '04) struck out 14 in a 7-3 win over West Valley on Saturday.

    An RBI single by sophomore catcher Jowen Murray-Thornton (Saint Louis '04) in the third inning gave Hartnell a 3-2 lead.


  • BYU junior opposite Jonathan Charette (Pearl City '03) recorded 12 kills in a 30-15, 30-21, 30-24 win over Rutgers-Newark on the final night of the Long Beach State Active Ankle Classic on Saturday.

    Charette had seven kills, three digs and two blocks in a 27-30, 30-24, 30-21, 32-30 win over Ohio State on Friday.

  • UC Irvine freshman libero Brent Asuka (Iolani '05) dug up 13 balls in a 25-30, 34-32, 30-28, 30-27 win over Pepperdine on Saturday.

    Pepperdine junior outside hitter Jon Grobe (Iolani '02) had nine kills, three digs and a block in the loss.

  • Sacred Heart (Fairfield, Conn.) libero Brent Monden (Hawai'i Baptist of Kane'ohe) recorded 20 digs in a 30-28, 34-36, 31-29, 26-30, 15-11 win over Vassar College Friday.


  • Pepperdine freshman forward/guard Taylor Smith (Kalaheo '05) played eight minutes, grabbing two rebounds, in a 78-66 loss to Oklahoma in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

    Smith, who was the lone player from Hawai'i in the tournament, took two shots, missing both, and had a block.

  • Menlo (Calif.) sophomore guard Kepua Lee (Moanalua '04 of Honolulu) was named to the NAIA Division II All-America third team.

    Lee, the California Pacific Conference Player of Year, set program records for points (491) and scoring average (17.5), eclipsing the marks former guard Ki'i Spencer-Vasconcellos (Punahou '97) Menlo's only previous All-America selection set during the 2003-04 season.

    Lee also led the Oaks in rebounds (196), rebounds per game (7.0), field goals (203), free throws (71), steals (42) and minutes per outing (28.1).


  • Washington senior Lauran Dignam (Iolani '02 of 'Aina Haina) and freshman Daniel Te'o-Nesheim (Hawai'i Prep '05) each won individual events at the outdoor season-opening University of Washington Outdoor Preview at Husky Stadium on Saturday.

    Dignam won the 400 hurdles (1:03.87) and Te'o-Nesheim won the shot put (51-6.25).


  • Portland junior Melanie Lee (Pearl City of Waipahu) shot 82-81163 to finish in 25th place at the Santa Clara Colby Invitational that concluded March 15 at the par-71, 5,843-yard Rancho Canada Golf Course in Carmel, Calif.


  • Oregon junior Matt Ma (Iolani '02 of 'Aiea) finished in a tie for second place at the Washington National Winter Championship that concluded March 7 at the par-72, 7,050-yard Washington National Golf Club.

    Ma, who shot 79-77-70226, carded the lowest score of the tournament with a 2-under 70 in the final round.


  • UCLA freshman Meleana Carr (Punahou '05 of Honolulu) helped her Novice 8 (freshman) boat to victories over Loyola Marymount on March 11 and UC Irvine on March 18.


  • Former Punahou attendee Ashley Dutro will transfer to Loyola Marymount from UC Santa Barbara, LMU announced.

    As the Gauchos' starting setter, Dutro ranked fourth in the Big West Conference with 12.0 assists per game in 2005.

    Reach Leila Wai at lwai@honoluluadvertiser.com and Stacy Kaneshiro at skaneshiro@honoluluadvertiser.com.