Punahou School Named Best in the Country

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- Out of 38,000 high school athletic programs in the country, Punahou takes home the title of the very best.

But you won't find the Buffanblu out bragging about their national honor given by Sports Illustrated.

It's been a season of winning for Punahou athletics. Sixteen state titles out of a possible thirty two -- eight of them coming in the past two weeks.

But their biggest victory came on Tuesday, when they officially found out they were named the best athletic program in the country.

"We're all just very excited, it's a big honor for Punahou, but not just for Punahou, for the state as a whole," said Aisha Price, a Punahou water polo player.

"It's a great honor for our school and all the work that our programs have put into excellence, and just a great honor for our state," said Jeeter Ishida, another water polo player.

No, those answers weren't rehearsed, in fact that's the feeling of all the Punahou student athletes and administration. This recognition should extend across the entire state of Hawaii.

"I think we should share it, even though we kind of had a perfect storm of wins this year, you don't have to look too far back to see what kind of competition we had," said Punahou Athletics Director Tom Holden. "So I think throughout the state, there's more competition than I ever think people give the state of Hawaii credit for."

Now with more national prominence, the athletes see more doors opening up for them, and for future generations.

"We're kind of showing people that Hawaii athletics is for real, kids are going to get second looks from colleges, and it's really putting Punahou athletics on the map, but also the whole state of Hawaii on the map," said Holden.

The Sports Illustrated article hits news stands Wednesday.