By this time next year, Caiyle Kaupu will have long traded in the green, black and white uniforms she has donned at Konawaena for the blue and gold of the UC Irvine Anteaters.
Kaupu was one of the many Konawaena seniors who took the next step in life this weekend by graduating high school, and while she has big plans to continue her basketball career at a Division I university, first she had to finish off her time as a Wildcat with one last award.
On Monday, it was announced that Kaupu was one of 12 Hawaii high school seniors inducted into the Hawaii High School Athletic Association Hall of Honor for the class of 2020.
“It’s truly a blessing,” Kaupu said. “It was unexpected as well. I was just outside Kona visiting my grandparent’s grave and putting on my graduation lei when I got the call, and I was like ‘Oh, wow.’”
Kaupu’s senior year at Konawaena also ended with her being named the BIIF Division I girls basketball Player of the Year in a vote by league coaches and earning the Gatorade Hawaii Girls Basketball Player of the Year award.
Fellow BIIF athlete, Kamehameha’s Chenoa Frederick, also joined Kaupu in the 2020 HHSAA Hall of Honor class.
The inductees are chosen by a committee of former sports reporters, athletic directors and coaches in Hawaii. Inductees are selected based on athletic achievement, character, sportsmanship, academic record and community service.
Each inductee is also awarded a $2,000 scholarship.
Kaupu joins fellow Wildcat girls basketball honorees Mi-Suk Lee (1999), Nancy Hoist (2004), Jessica Hanato (2005), Jazzmin Awa-Williams (2007), Dawnyelle Awa (2012), Lia Galdeira (2012), Chanelle Molina (2016), Celena Molina (2017), Cherilyn Molina (2018) and Mikayla Tablit (2018) in the HHSAA Hall of Honor.
In her senior season, Kaupu and the Wildcats won the BIIF Division I title and advanced all the way to the state championship game on Oahu, where they lost 55-46 to Iolani.
With her college career in sight and Hawaii under a stay-at-home order since March 25 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kaupu is improvising to get ready for the Division I college game.
“I’ve been doing a little bit of weight training at my house,” Kaupu said. “And at my old elementary school, there’s a basketball court, so I’ll go up there and I’ll get some shots up.”
The Konawaena grad said she is most excited for the college style of play and being in a different environment.
“I think that’s what’s going to be the most exciting, just adapting to something different,” Kaupu said.
Despite the heap of awards placed on the Wildcat, Kaupu said she’ll remember her time with her teammates and at the school more than the wins and losses.
“My favorite memory is just being around the girls. Those girls really turned into my sisters,” Kaupu said. “I’m always going to have a special place for them in my heart and especially for Konawaena as a whole.”
2020 HHSAA Hall of Honor
Nanea Estrella, Lahainaluna (wrestling)
Alfred Failauga, Waipahu (football)
Chenoa Frederick, Kamehameha-Hawaii (track and field, soccer)
La’akea Gonsalves, Kapaa (soccer, football, volleyball)
Christina Hicks, Punahou (water polo, swimming)
Caiyle Kaupu, Konawaena (basketball)
Legend Matautia, Punahou (football, wrestling, judo, track and field)
Elena Oglivie, Iolani (volleyball)
Kysen Terukina, Kamehameha (wrestling, soccer)
Joshua Tihada, Lahainaluna (football, basketball)
Christmas Togiai, Kamehameha (basketball, volleyball)
Roman Wilson, Saint Louis (football, track and field)