HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In 2002, the Rainbow Warrior volleyball team sat atop of the college volleyball world as NCAA champions.
While that season and subsequent tournament run was vacated due the ineligibility of star player Kostas Theocharidis, the legacy of that team has lived on for generations to come.
At just the age of five, Maui native Colten Cowell watched Hawaii’s tournament run with his parents like many families in Hawaii did in support of the Warriors.
“Growing up in Hawaii, you follow Rainbow Warrior ball,” said Cowell’s mother, Christina. “And even when he was only five when that happened, he’s watched film from that squad.”
But Cowell, now an integral part of this year’s Warriors squad, wasn’t just happy to see his home state succeed on a national level. He was inspired to follow in that team’s footsteps.
“One time, (Hawaii) came in 2007,” Christina said. “Those boys come over and played in War Memorial Stadium on Maui. And so for Colten, that was kind of a dream come true to see them in flesh.”
Now a member of a Warriors team that finds themselves just one win away from a national title, Cowell and his family understand firsthand how much a win would mean not just to him and his family, but for the state as a whole.
“It’s neat to see the legacy continue and also inspire the next generation the next round of kids that are going to be coming up and taking over where they left of and continuing their magic,” said Colten’s father, Cody.
First serve of Saturday’s NCAA Tournament Championship game between Hawaii vs. Long Beach State is set for 2 p.m. HT live on ESPN 2.