HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Rainbow Warriors spent more than nine hours in the air overnight, traversing more than 5,000 miles before finally landing in New York City early Wednesday morning.
For many of the Hawaii football players, the trip marked their first to the Big Apple – and they wasted no time taking in all that the city has to offer.
"It's honestly amazing," said junior running back Ryan Tuiasoa. "Not just for the local boys, a lot of us have only been on the west side of the country. So, to be able to come out here and see all the big buildings and hear all the different accents and everything, it's just like a new world."
For Nick Rolovich, there was a part of that "new world" he wanted his players to see more than anything else: the 9/11 memorial.
The 'Bows time in New York City was incredibly limited, so Rolo made it the team's first stop after getting off the buses from the airport.
"I don't know that we did all that much, but we got to see the memorial and walk the streets a little bit," said Rolovich. "I don't know if some guys ever would've done that."
For the players, it turned a "business trip" to take on UMass into an experience they'll never forget.
"The 9/11 memorial, it was such a beautiful structure," said Tuiasoa. "It was incredibly humbling to be there. I'm really happy we got to see that. It's turning these trips into an experience, something that we'll remember for the rest of our lives."
The visit to the memorial was followed by some time to allow Hawaii's players to walk the streets of the Lower Manhattan. During that time the 'Bows checked another NYC "must-do" off their list: grabbing slices of New York-style pizza before boarding the buses again to head to Massachusetts.
Rolovich has also scheduled in one more activity for Hawaii while they're in New England: a trip to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.