By Legran Akana
Center fielder Oli Keohohou”s major at BYU is recreation management and youth leadership. Keohohou said she hopes to be a positive impact on people she will come in contact with that are younger than her.
If she can impact youth the same way she influenced the BYU women”s softball team this year, Keohohou will do just fine.
“It feels good to perform the best that I can in softball,” said the three-time All-American Keohohou. “It makes it all worth it for me.”
The Cougars would not be the same without their all-star junior outfielder.
Keohohou grew up in Newbury Park, Calif., with her parents Gary and Marisa Keohohou. Keohohou has two brothers, Ali”i and Kamana, and one sister Jante.
“My aunt usually took us to play at the park, sand dunes and the pier once in a while,” Keohohou said. “I lived in a cul-de-sac, and my brothers, sister and cousins would play in the cul-de-sac a lot of the time.
“I remember starting to play the game of softball at the age of 12 with a team named the Pumas. I enjoyed having the chance to travel and play with other talented players.”
She later received High School Player of the Year honors at Newbury High School and various other all-star recognitions in softball throughout the county, state and nation.
From a young age, she grew to become a competitive threat on the softball field in the collegiate level. She joined the Cougars in the 2001-02 softball season as a freshman, hoping to improve her talent and her love for softball.
“I turned down a lot of the collegiate teams that tried to recruit me because I wanted to go to a school that was near family,” Keohohou said. “I wanted to go to a school that was more than just softball and school.”
Keohohou was selected to the West All-Region first team for a third consecutive season. She holds the MWC record in batting, with a .445 average. She also leads the MWC in slugging percentage (1.059), on base percentage (.610), runs scored (58), RBIs (47), home runs (20), total bases (131) and walks (50). Nationally she ranks second in home runs, 21st in batting average and 30th in RBIs. She”s made the All-MWC for a third-consecutive season.
While commenting on what she thought of the team this season, Keohohou said, “The team is better this year. We have more talent. I thought that we worked as a team this year more than any other year.”
The team loses three seniors this year. They are senior outfielder Brooke Cadiente, senior pitcher Cynthia Fallowfield and senior pitcher Mandy Flint. But out of the team last year there will be a 97 percent return for the 2003-04 softball season.
With Keohohou”s help, the Cougars finished the MWC season ranked eighth in the nation in batting average with .304 and 10th in runs per game at 5.62. The Cougars also finished the season with their highest winning percentage at .679, but did not receive an at-large bid to the NCAA women”s softball tournament.
Keohohou”s exceptional talent landed her a well-earned invitation to the softball Olympic training camp in Chula Vista, Calif., in September 2002.
“I enjoyed it a lot,” Keohohou said. “There were many things that I learned while being around other great softball players.”
While commenting on her activities this summer, Keohohou said she would be sharing what she has learned in softball with others of a younger age.
“There will be two camps, one in June and one in July,” Keohohou said. “I”ll be working here in Provo with these two camps for a good part of the summer.”
Coach Gordon Eakin, in his very first year as head coach for the Cougars, proved to show that good things can come from effective teamwork and good team execution. Under the direction of Eakin, the Cougars have taken into grasp their best-ever record in softball history.
“I”m proud of the way that they”ve displayed their talent this season,” Eakin said. “We”re a young team, and with that being the case, we have only good things to look forward to in the upcoming seasons.”
Eakin has not only led the Cougars to a well-acclaimed season, but he has developed and encouraged his team to do the best that they ultimately can as individuals.
“He”s helped me out a lot, with school and various other things,” Keohohou said. “He”s a good coach that always remains positive about decisions that he makes on behalf of the team. Coach Eakin does his duties with competitiveness.”
While commenting on the team”s future, Keohohou said, “Next year”s team will be a lot more competitive than this year”s team, I”m looking forward to it.”
On this softball fanatic”s free time away from school and the softball field, Keohohou enjoys hanging out with friends, breaking it down at dances, watching movies, long-boarding, horseback riding, four-wheeling and when the weather permits, going tubing down the Provo River.
“I just like to relax and enjoy the free time that I have,” Keohohou said. “It just feels nice to do things that make me happy and cause me to feel relaxed.”
When asked what her favorite foods are, she said, “I love rice and ketchup with everything. Barbeque chicken, Teri-Beef and any type of island style barbeque.”
Keohohou said she looks forward to next 2003-04, softball season and the success that she hopes to see as well.
Keohohou will have a second chance next year to once again impact the Cougars and win a conference title.