April 17, 2007 04:03 PM
WAIKIKI (KHNL) - All this year, the University of Hawaii is celebrating it's centennial. As part of that celebration Monday night, the Rainbow Wahine student athletes got their chance to shine.
It's the 35th anniversary of Rainbow Wahine athletics on the UH campus. Monday night they honored the program and the woman who started it all.
Back in 1972, with a next-to-nothing budget, Dr. Donnis Thompson got the Rainbow Wahine athletic program off the ground as Hawaii's first womens athletic director. All she had was $5,000 dollars and a dream.
"Women s athletics could always be an outstanding diamond in our whole program. But it was a matter of convincing a lot of people that that dream could be a reality" said Thompson.
From humble beginnings Thompson led a program that now includes some 200 female student athletes, 12 sports, a 4 million dollar budget and high expectations.
"What we're trying to do is to get all of our programs competing on a national level. When we say national level, hopefully they can all be in the top 25 someday and make us all proud of them, that s what this is all about" said UH Athletic Director Herman Frazier.
"I hate to say we've come a long way, but we really have. We have the national excellence of our softball team this year ranked 15th. And also our women's water polo team is ranked number 4. So they have accomplished quite a lot, and that's why we're here tonight, to celebrate their accomplishments" said UH Women's Athletics Director Marilyn Moniz-Kaho'ohanohano
Accomplishments that include a slew of national championships and a solid local backing from UH sports fans all the way up to the state's highest fan:
"And the history of Wahine sports is such a great one too, because it was tough getting started and now...really it's wide open, a lot of scholarships available to young women students" said Governor Linda Lingle.
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