'Bows hit the books before the balls
BY Stephen Tsai
In what was surely the most elevated study hall, the Hawai'i softball team yesterday made use of its travel time to prepare for final exams.
The Rainbow Wahine departed Honolulu at 6:30 a.m. yesterday, eventually bound for Las Cruces, N.M., site of the Western Athletic Conference Softball Tournament.
As the top seed, the Rainbows have an opening bye, and will not play their first game until Thursday.
The extra day will enable the Rainbows to take final exams on the road. The spring semester ends Friday, and the graduation ceremony is the next day.
"Graduation is big," said catcher Katie Grimes, who needs to take two final exams to complete work on her bachelor's degree. "But I have to take care of business."
She said she can endure missing the graduation ceremony "especially if we win."
Yesterday's travel involved three flights — Honolulu to San Francisco to Los Angeles to El Paso — giving the Rainbows some time to study.
Academic adviser Denise Abara, who accompanied the team, said she will administer about 30 exams.
She said the exams could not be taken on the planes.
"We have guidelines to make sure we mimic the classroom setting," Abara said.
Including the one-hour bus ride from El Paso to Las Cruces, the Rainbows were not scheduled to reach their hotel rooms until early this morning.
"I have a lot of work to do, but I'm ready for (the tests)," Grimes said.
Abara said a conference room has been set up for the exams.
She said she brought a laptop computer for players who need to submit essays.
She said the completed tests will be sent to the professors by FedEx or fax.
"It'll be OK," designated player Jenna Rodriguez said. "We'll have enough time to study."
After their run in the WAC tournament, the Rainbows are expected to remain in the Southwest — at either Las Cruces or El Paso — while awaiting Sunday's announcement of the NCAA Regional brackets.
"Nothing is guaranteed," head coach Bob Coolen said.
But, still, after a 41-12 record, including 13-0 on the road, and a No. 15 placing in the ratings percent index (RPI), the Rainbows should be a lock for, at the least, an at-large berth.
"You have to take it step by step, and not worry about that," Rodriguez said.
WAC SOFTBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Las Cruces, N.M.
Game 1 - #4 Louisiana Tech vs. #5 San Jose State
Game 2 - #3 Boise State vs. #6 New Mexico State
Game 3 - #1 Hawai'i vs. Winner Game 1
Game 4 - #2 Fresno State vs. Winner Game 3
Game 5 - Loser Game 2 vs. Loser Game 3
Game 6 - Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 4
Game 7 - Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4
Game 8 - Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6
Game 9 - Loser Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8
Game 10 - Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 9
Game 11 - Winner Game 10 vs. Loser Game 10 (if first loss)