LAHAINA - Family, friends and school officials gathered in the Samuel Manaiakalani Kamakau Library on the Lahainaluna High School campus last week to witness and celebrate with senior softball standout Haley Nakamura as she signed her official letter of intent to attend Division I New Mexico State.
The 17-year-old daughter of Lei and Flint Nakamura of Wailuku (formerly of Lahaina) is an honor student carrying a 3.5 cumulative grade point average into her senior season with the defending Maui Interscholastic League softball champion Lady Lunas.
A three-time MIL First Team All-Star, Haley hit an eye-popping .500 last season while providing her team with sparkling defensive play at shortstop.
Haley Nakamura signs her letter of intent to attend New Mexico State with her mom, Lei, and Athletic Director Scott Soldwisch offering support. PHOTO BY JON SHIGAKI.
As she has for several years, Haley participated in club play on the Mainland over the summer, and at a Colorado tournament she was noticed by the New Mexico State softball coaches.
"They (New Mexico State coaches) like the intensity and competitive drive that Haley plays with," beamed proud mom Lei Nakamura, who just happens to be the Lady Luna softball and volleyball coach.
"The coaches liked her quick hands, her speed, ability to hit for power or slap the ball, and the fact that she throws right but hits left," she continued.
"We learned early this month of Haley's acceptance to New Mexico State, and they offered an 85 percent scholarship to her to go there to study optometry. It's been an amazing journey since then, and we feel so blessed and thankful that all this has happened. And now we have learned that the Aggies have made the same offer to our other daughter, Brenna, who is Haley's older sister. Brenna will transfer (from the College of Southern Nevada) in the fall, and the girls will play together next season.
"We are so thrilled that all of this is happening and appreciate all the support we have received from Lahainaluna and the community as well," Lei concluded.