It is the hope of parents of high school student athletes that their children will achieve relative success in their chosen endeavor, learn to be a part of a team, develop character and work ethic, and have a fun, positive experience at the same time. These same moms and dads dream that somehow, some way, their kids will have a shot at going to college on the wings of their participation in sports.
So, check this out. Over the last decade or so, Lahainaluna High School girls basketball has sent ten players, most of them from Maui Interscholastic League championship teams and state placing years (including winning it all in 2010), on to a higher education by way of their sterling efforts with the rising red tide of Lady Luna basketball.
Going back a few years, that list includes such Lahainaluna hoops luminaries as Aina Kohler (University of Hawaii at Manoa), Fatai Haliapiapi (Western Kentucky), Kelci Fushikoshi (Menlo College), Krystal Omlan (U.H. Hilo), Monika Vehikite (U.H. Manoa), Rachel Rickard (Chaminade), and more recently, Milika Taufa (Indiana University), Maiki Viela (Gonzaga University), Ana Lauese (Foothill College) and my daughter, Jade Chihara (Smith College).
Todd Rickard and his wife, Emerlita, have three children.
The dream weaver for these families is Lady Luna coach Todd Rickard, the mentor of the Lahainaluna team for the last 20 years, who has taken the program to not only the top of the MIL but also to the top ranks at the state level.
The Lady Lunas are on their way to their ninth consecutive MIL title with an 82-game regular season winning streak that is tops for all sports and another strong run at the state playoffs among the elite high school teams in Hawaii.
For his leadership and dedication to Lady Lunas basketball and to the community in general, we are pleased to honor Coach Todd Rickard as the Lahaina News' Sportsman of the Year for 2012. The recognition is once again sponsored by TS Restaurants of Hawaii and California, as Coach Todd will receive dinner gift certificates to Kimo's, Leilani's on the Beach, Hula Grill and Duke's Beach House. He will also be presented a custom-made plaque courtesy of Maui Marking Device as part of the award.
"We are very happy to be a part of the recognition of Todd Rickard as the Lahaina News' Sportsman of the Year," commented TS Restaurants Vice President Dickie Moon last week.
"His dedication to the youth of our community and to Lahainaluna High School is invaluable. It is an honor for our team to recognize Coach Todd and his team for contributing to making this community a better place to be."
The mantra at Lady Luna practices is, "Nobody works harder than we do!" And few coaches at this level work as long as Rickard, who takes one month off and then is back at it in the campus gym with his charges for the remaining 11 months of the year.
We would thus like to take this opportunity to recognize Todd's wife, Emerlita, for her support and dedication in keeping the Rickard home in order and raising their children Rachel, TJ and Tre as her husband mentors the Lady Luna family. (Lahainaluna football coach Bobby Watson's wife, Jackie, comes to mind for similar recognition.)
Congratulations, Coach Todd and Emerlita! We truly appreciate all you do. Malama pono.