Sims, Strand-Nicolaisen, Ota, Ruedy awarded $1,500
Four talented athletes with numerous championship medals have been named the recipients of the 11th annual Roy Fujimoto Athletic Scholarships.
The scholar-athletes — all of them have grade point averages of 3.9 and higher — will receive $1,500 stipends to be used for college.
The scholarship winners are Hawaii Prep’s Zoe Sims, Ka‘u’s Marley Strand-Nicolaisen, Keaau’s Talon Ota and Ke Kula ‘O’ Ehunuikaimalino’s Ke`öulikamaha`oakauanoe “Ua” Ruedy.
Ruedy attended the Hawaiian immersion school and competed in track and field and soccer for Konawaena.
The annual scholarship program, named after former Big Island Interscholastic Federation Executive Director Roy Fujimoto, who retired in 2004, is for senior student-athletes.
It is sponsored by KTA Super Stores and the BIIF.
The recipients are chosen based on their athletic and academic achievement as well as community service.
“Roy dedicated a lot of his life to the BIIF,” said current BIIF Executive Director Lyle Crozier, who oversees the nine-member scholarship selection committee that met May 12 at Honokaa High to select the honorees.
Crozier said Fujimoto worked hard to improve the league in various ways, and he worked well with the athletic directors and principals.
“But his thoughts were always with the student-athletes first and how we could make things better for them,” Crozier said.
Twenty-six Big Island student-athletes applied for the 2013 scholarships.
“We had some outstanding student athletes apply for the scholarships again,” Crozier said. “The selection committee had a difficult job in getting down to the final four because there were some other high quality applicants in the running. But after thoroughly going through each application, the committee selected four student-athletes that we believe are outstanding recipients for the scholarships.”
Crozier added: “The selection committee selected Zoe, Marley, Talon and Ua based on their outstanding athletic accomplishments as well as their strong academic work and community service.”
KTA Super Stores President Barry Taniguchi said the title sponsor “is honored to participate in this annual program, working hand-in-hand with the BIIF.”
“We would like to extend our congratulations to the 2013 recipients,” Taniguchi said. “We wish them well academically and athletically as they move on to the collegiate level.”
The 2013 honorees:
c Zoe Sims, a four-year standout in cross country as well as track and field.
As a junior, she helped lead Ka Makani to the Hawaii High School Athletic Association state cross country title on Maui. She was a first-team All-BIIF selection in cross country all four seasons, including a two-time BIIF champion. She was also among the top 10 finishers at the state meet in each of her past three years.
Sims had a sterling track career, setting school records in the 400-, 800- and 1,500-meter runs, and earning BIIF titles in those events during her final three seasons. This year, she set a state record in winning the state meet’s 1,500 run in 4:36.22. Sims claimed three state titles in her career.
She also competed in swimming during her senior season and earned most improved honors on the HPA squad.
Sims had a 4.92 cumulative grade point average and scored a 2,310 on her SAT. She will major in ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton University next year.
Sims also was presented the prestigous Presidential Scholar award to go along with various other honors at the private school in Waimea.
Zoe is the daughter of Neil and Kathryn Sims of Kailua-Kona.
c Marley Strand-Nicolaisen was a three-year standout in volleyball and a four-year star in track and field. In volleyball, she was a three-time first-team All-BIIF selection and earned Division II Player of the Year honors twice. As a senior, she led the Trojans to the BIIF title and third consecutive trip to the state tournament.
In track, she was a three-time first-team All-BIIF selection, excelling in the high jump, long jump and triple jump. As a senior, she won gold medals in all three of her specialities. Then at the state meet on Oahu, she pocketed three silver medals to cap a sterling career.
Strand-Nicolaisen also played soccer in her freshman and sophomore seasons.
She had a 3.9 cumulative GPA and scored a 1,410 on her SAT. She plans to major in biology and play volleyball at the University of Hawaii at Hilo next year.
Marley is the daughter of Robert Nicolaisen and Laurie Strand.
c Talon Ota was a two-year standout in football, track and field and soccer.
As a senior in football, he earned first-team All-BIIF honors as a wide receiver and a defensive back. He was also an honorable mention kicker his junior and senior years.
As a junior in track and field, he helped lead Keaau to its first ever league title. The following season, Ota and his teammates defended their title, edging Hilo 96.5 to 94 in a thrilling finish. In that recent BIIF meet, Ota earned gold medals in the triple jump and long jump, and as a member of the Cougars’ champion 1,600 relay team. He also claimed a bronze medal in the 400 dash and was on the Cougars’ silver medal winning 400 relay team.
In soccer, he was selected the Cougars’ outstanding athlete his junior and senior seasons, and he also earned the coach’s award as a junior.
Ota had a 3.96 cumulative GPA and scored a 1,330 on his SAT. He plans on majoring in health and wellness at Minot State University (N.D.) next year.
Talon is the son of Richard and Jo Ann Ota of Keaau.
c Ke`öulikamaha`oakauanoe “Ua” Ruedy was a four-year standout in track and field and soccer.
In track and field, she earned first-team All-BIIF honors each year. She was a three-time BIIF champion in the 300 hurdles, a two-time league champion in the 200 dash and a state champion in the 300 hurdles.
In soccer, she was a three-time first-team All-BIIF selection and played a key role in the Wildcats’ success each season.
Ruedy had a 3.9 cumulative GPA and scored a 1,300 on her SAT. She plans on majoring in nursing at Eastern Washington University next year.
Ke`öulikamaha`oakauanoe is the daughter of Scott and Shu-Lin Ruedy of Kealakekua.
Members of the selection committee are Lyle Crozier (BIIF Executive Director), Ron Tomosada (Pahoa AD), Keith Tolentino (Honokaa AD), Kalei Namohala (Ka’u AD), Bobbie Awa (Konawaena basketball coach), Stan Costales (Sports Line), Bill O’Rear (Tribune-Herald sports editor), Joe Ferraro (West Hawaii Today sports editor) and Craig Hamamoto (KTA Super Stores).