The Athlete

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In the Summer of 1992 Kaialiʻi Kahele met two time volleyball Olympian and Lōkahi Volleyball Club founder Pedro “Pete” Velasco at the Waiakea High School gymnasium in Hilo. Recognizing his raw athletic talent, Pete persuaded Kai to come and play volleyball for the Lōkahi Volleyball Club. Having never played competitive volleyball except for one year in High School, Kai took Pete up on his offer and the two would train together for two years, twice a week at the Hilo High Gymnasium and every Saturday at Hapuna Beach.

Pete Velasco who was the Captain of the 1964 Olympic Volleyball Team and a member of the 1968 Olympic Volleyball Team was inducted into the USA Volleyball Hall of Fame in 1997. He would spend hours teaching Kai the fundamentals of volleyball, intense physical activity and life lessons like hard work, perseverance, teamwork and humility.

In the Fall of 1994, Kai walked on to the University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa Menʻs Volleyball team and was the last person to make the team under the tutelage of Head Coach Mike Wilton. The opening of the Stan Sheriff Center and the golden years of UH Menʻs Volleyball would follow and led by All Americans Yuval Katz, Jason Olive & Aaron Wilton, the 1995-1997 UH teams would go onto two Final Fours and play in the National Championship.

In 1997 Kai was voted the Most Inspirational Player by his teammates and was recognized as a scholar athlete by the University of Hawaiʻi Athletics Department.

In 1998 Kai won a basketball gold medal in the Aloha State Games and in 1999 won a gold medal in the USA Volleyball Menʻs AA National Championships in San Jose, California.

In 2005 Kai was invited to try out for the USAF Volleyball Team and he would become the teams starting outside hitter under Head Coaches Malu & Ieti Sagiao. From 2005 thru 2007, Kai led the USAF Volleyball team to 2 gold medals and 1 silver medal at the Armed Forces Military Service Championships.

In 2007, Kai was selected as a member of the Military All Service Volleyball Team, comprised of the top 12 volleyball players from each of the 4 major US Armed Services. The All Service team would participate in the 2007 USA Volleyball Championships in Austin, Texas and Kai was its outside hitter. Kai has participated in numerous Haili Menʻs Club Volleyball Tournaments in Hilo and has been named an All Star member of the Masters division twice. He continues to play volleyball and is a lifetime member of the University of Hawaiʻi Letterwinners Club.




USAF Vball