Student-athletes still awaiting green light to begin prep sports season

Uncertain future for Hawaii prep sports has student-athletes thinking of alternatives

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - As most schools across the state remain in distance learning, questions remain about whether there will be any sports this school year.

The Hawaii High School Athletics Association has created a tentative schedule, but is waiting for final approval from the state. That uncertainty that has left many student-athletes looking for alternatives.

Among those impacted is Saint Louis baseball star Caleb Lomavita, who is hoping to finish his high school playing career in Hawaii after COVID-19 cut his junior season short two games in.

“It was terrible,” Lomavita said. “I felt like COVID just took everything away from not just me, but all of my fellow teammates who thought we actually had a good chance that year.

"I did not think I was going to have a senior season, but right now, there’s a slim chance, so that’s all I’m gonna hold on to right now and whatever we get, I’m gonna make the best of it.”

As one of the top prospects in the country, Lomavita has spent the last several months creating his own opportunities by playing in 12 tournaments in four different states, COVID-restrictions permitting.

When the pandemic canceled his junior season, the University of California-Berkeley commit at one point considered moving out of state to keep playing.

“I don’t really think the government had it figured out of what we were gonna do for school-wise,” Lomavita said. “I was thinking maybe I should just move up to California, so I can just play there and can have a for sure season ... but staying here was the best decision for me.”

The question is whether he or anyone across the state will be able to play.

The HHSAA says it have a tentative calendar in place that begins sports as early as January.

“We’ve had our united calendar, our united guidelines, so that’s what’s making it easier to follow for us,” HHSAA executive director Chris Chun said.

“But yet, dealing with all the different guidelines on the different islands, the different counties, the confusing aspect of what’s been put out on the state level so it’s been ... difficult.”

In terms of guidelines, Chun says the HHSAA will follow the state Department of Health’s recommendations for reopening schools .

“If you are in a blended, low risk, then we can do moderate sports,” Chun said.

“If you are allowed for in person learning, then we can do all sports. We are trying to line it up as easy as possible so everything fits.”

The HHSAA has also created its timeline with contingencies that cover the full spectrum including complete seasons that end with a state tournament or a minimal option of on-campus scrimmages.

It all hinges on a final sign off from the state.

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