Hawaii surfers advance in Chile
Hawai'i surfers Bruce Irons, Pancho Sullivan and Kekoa Bacalso won their first-round heats in the Rip Curl Pro Search contest yesterday.
The opening day of the event was held in 4- to 6-foot waves at Arica, Chile.
Bacalso received a sponsor's wildcard into the event, and he justified it with an upset of world No. 2-ranked Taj Burrow from Australia.
"There's no pressure," said Bacalso, who is from Mililani. "I just go out and surf and have fun and enjoy myself. There's a lot of good waves out there. Luckily, I got a couple and didn't get washed into the parking lot."
Sullivan also earned an upset victory, defeating three-time former world champion Andy Irons of Kaua'i.
"I knew it was going to be a tough heat and we were going to need to post some really high scores," said Sullivan, who is from Sunset Beach. "It's a really challenging wave — it shifts around a lot and waves that look really good end up not being that great. You just have to take some chances and move around and hopefully you luck into that high-scoring wave."
As first-round winners, Bruce Irons, Sullivan and Bacalso advanced to the third round.
Andy Irons and fellow Hawai'i surfer Fred Patacchia Jr. did not win their first-round heats, and will have to compete in the second round, where eliminations begin.
The contest is the fourth of 10 stops on the 2007 World Championship Tour.
OLYMPIC QUEST BEGINS
The quest for the 2008 Olympics begins this week in Paris at the Henkel Grand Slam, the first of four Grand Slam events on the 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour.
Punahou graduates Mike Lambert and Stein Metzger, who just won their second domestic title this year on the AVP Tour, were one of three U.S. men's teams directly seeded into the main draw. Sean Scott, another Punahou graduate, and partner Matt Fuerbringer scored two upsets in the qualifier yesterday to become the fourth American team in the main draw.
The men's purse is $300,000, with the first-place team getting $43,500. The tournament is played within walking distance of the Eiffel Tower.
Scott and Fuerbringer beat Scott's former partner, Kevin Wong, and Jason Ring, 14-21, 21-16, 15-11, in Tuesday's men's country qualifying. Wong is also a Punahou graduate and Ring played for the University of Hawai'i.
Lambert played in two Olympics on the indoor team. Metzger and Wong each played in an Olympics on the beach.
The Henkel Slam is part of the qualifying process for the Beijing 2008 Olympics, where 24 teams per gender will compete for gold medals. It will also help finalize entries for the 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Championships, July 24 to 29 in the Swiss Alps village of Gstaad.
The $1 million World Championships is the second-most prestigious beach volleyball event behind the Olympics. It features 48-team main draws for both men and women.
University of Hawai'i catcher Landon Hernandez is one of nine players invited to trials for the USA National Team, according to the USA Baseball Web site.
Hernandez, who just completed his sophomore season, batted .296 with four home runs and 34 RBIs for the Rainbows, starting in 55 of the team's 59 games.
Hernandez went 1 for 3 with a double and RBI against North Adams (Mass.) yesterday in the team's summer tour.
Two of the nine players will be added to the USA Baseball National Team as non-Pan American Games members and will serve as alternates for the event. The two players will be named Monday, according to the Web site.
PUNAHOU RANKED 15TH
Four-time reigning state champion Punahou School finished 15th in the final Student Sports Baseball Fab 50 rankings and No. 24 in USA Today's final Super 25, both released yesterday.
The Buffanblu (29-3 overall) are right behind Norwell (Ossian, Ind.) and immediately ahead of Valley Christian (San Jose, Calif.), according to Student Sports, a national magazine and Web site. Horizon (Scottsdale, Ariz.) finished No. 1.
In the USA Today rankings, Punahou is sandwiched between Indiana 3A state champ Norwell and Tottenville (Staten Island, N.Y.). Seton Hall Prep (West Orange, N.J.) finished No. 1.
TRACK AND FIELD
University of Hawai'i sophomore Emily Sheppard is one of two high jumpers to earn a place on the Canadian team that will go to the Pan American Junior Championships, July 6 to 8 at Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Sheppard, from Vancouver, made the team with a qualifying mark of 5 feet, 8.75 inches.
This past season, Sheppard captured the gold medal at both the Western Athletic Conference indoor and outdoor championships. She also became the first athlete in UH history to surpass the 6-foot mark.
For the second consecutive year, Sheppard also qualified for the NCAA West Regionals, where she just missed out on a jump-off for the final two automatic spots to the NCAA Championships.
Sheppard's previous international competition came at the World Youth Championship in Morocco in 2005.