It's a four year selection process that narrows down players from all over the United States to the 12 man roster that will represent the U.S.A. in Rio de Janeiro in men's volleyball. So, it's pretty remarkable that three of those players are from right here in Hawaii. What's even more remarkable? Two are from the same family, but it's one that is synonymous with volleyball royalty.
It was the wake up call of a life time for Rainbow Wahine head volleyball coach, Dave Shoji, who found out this morning both his sons, Kawika and Erik, will make their Olympic debut this August along with Kamehameha alum and USC standout, Micah Christenson.
"You know we got the call early this morning and we just had chicken skin, tears, and everything else and it was just more of a relief because we've been waiting for this day, and the team's been waiting for so long. When it finally happened it was just phew man, it was awesome." said Shoji. "I told Bob Christenson I was amazed, and he agrees with me, that three kids out of Hawaii, I don't care what their last names are, but just three are from here. Just goes a long way to tell kids on this island, 'hey, you can do it.'"
"Twenty-five percent to be from Hawaii is just amazing." said OC Sports volleyball analyst, Chris McLachlin, who coached both of Shoji's sons at Stanford. "It says so much about the coaches over here as well, and the parents who supported their kids."
The Rainbow Wahine Head coach says he'll be in Rio to continue to support his sons. That also means he'll miss a portion of UH's preseason training. But, it's something he says he's already preparing for.
"We'll have all the practices planned in advanced. We'll be in contact every single day, we'll probably Skype every single day." said Shoji. "I'm hoping to watch some practices with technology. So, I'll be very much entrenched in what's going on here and it'll be on my mind 24/7."
The Rainbow Wahine will begin preseason practices on August 8th. Men's Olympic Volleyball matches will begin the day prior.
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