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(Thu) August 3, 2023

HHSAA Officials of the Year for the 2022-23 School Year Announced

Recipients to be recognized September 3 at Hawaii Sports Officials Hall of Fame Banquet


HONOLULU – Sixteen individuals who have demonstrated the highest level of achievement in Hawaii high school sports officiating and service to education-based athletics have been selected as the 2022-23 recipients of the HHSAA Officials of the Year in their respective sport.
  1. Ikaika Nishimura, baseball
  2. Pete Arceo, boys basketball
  3. Robert “Bobby” Ajifu, girls basketball
  4. Joel Shugart, cheerleading
  5. Todd Lynch, football
  6. Sheldon Konno, judo
  7. Brandon Rivera, boys soccer
  8. Kylie Bluemke, girls soccer
  9. Carlos Santana, softball
  10. Saint Marie Gough, swimming and diving
  11. Mike Gearen, tennis
  12. Bob Martin, track and field
  13. Ian Kusao, girls water polo
  14. Don Gerber, wrestling
  15. Fred Pu, boys volleyball
  16. Pat Akana, girls volleyball
"Officials play an important role in conducting athletic events,” said HHSAA information director and HSOHOF board member Natalie Iwamoto. “We proudly recognize these outstanding officials for their dedication and are committed to supporting all officials at the high school level."
Additionally, two individuals have been selected for the OC16 Volunteer of the Year award based on their contributions to officiating through their role in high school athletics. The recipients are Brandy Burke, a long-time sports information specialist and support staff member with Kahuku High School; and Debbie Suyat, a long-serving volunteer involved with basketball, volleyball and outrigger canoe paddling operations for Kamehameha Schools, the Interscholastic League of Honolulu and the HHSAA.
The 16 officials and two volunteers of the year will be recognized as part of the in-person ceremony of the Hawaii Sports Officials Hall of Fame induction banquet on Sunday, Sept. 3, 5:30 pm at the Ala Moana Hotel. Tickets for the dinner are available on the Hawaii Sports Officials Hall of Fame website:

Hawaii Sports Officials Hall of Fame to induct 6 officials to 2023 Class

The Hawaii Sports Officials Hall of Fame (HSOHOF) announced the 6 officials to be inducted to the Class of 2023:
  • Denice Hanson (volleyball)
  • Dr. Lloyd Hisaka (football, basketball)
  • Donald Meinel (softball)
  • J. Craig Petersen (basketball)
  • John Smith (baseball)
  • Glenn Young (football)
The six will be honored in an in-person ceremony on Sunday, Sept. 3 at the Ala Moana Hotel.

Denice Hanson: Although she was an outstanding volleyball and canoe paddling athlete, she was known for her many appearances as a volleyball official. Officiated at nearly every level from league play to high school to USA Volleyball and ultimately a NCAA Division I official working for the Western Athletic and Big West Conferences. Her biggest accomplishments were earning USA Volleyball Junior National and National Officials Certification as well as traveling to California to work WAC volleyball matches. Hanson passed away in 2021.

Dr. Lloyd Hisaka: His contribution to Hawaii officiating extends beyond the football field and basketball courts. For nearly 50 years he taught college students to officiate flag football as part of the UH Manoa Intramural Sports program. He also served on the NFHS football rules committee and honored as an NFHS distinguished official. On the field, he worked collegiate and high school football and basketball since 1976. He also was a founding member of the Hawaii Football Official’s Clinic.

Donald Meinel: As a mentor to countless softball officials in his career, Donald Meinel taught respect for the game and how to officiate and enjoy the game. Since 1988, he umpired slow and fast-pitch games as well as worked high school and collegiate games in Division I and II. Behind the scenes, he was elected president of the Amateur Softball Association of Hawaii in 1985 and served 3 years until his appointment as Commissioner of USA Softball in 1988 and served in that role for 33 years until his retirement in 2021.

J. Craig Petersen: His officiating career is among the who’s who of basketball officials in Hawaii. He joined Hawaii Basketball Official’s Association under Hawaii Sports Officials Hall of Fame Inductee, James Aiona in 1972 and quickly rose to be among the top high school officials on Oahu. He worked high school basketball games for 17 seasons, including two HHSAA State Championship games. In 1979 Craig was hired to officiate in the Western Athletic Conference and worked full schedules in both Hawaii and on the mainland. He is the only Hawaii official to work a WAC men’s championship game in 1993. He also worked Big West women’s basketball, the prestigious Maui Invitational and the post-season National Invitational Tournament.

John Smith: A native of Louisiana, John Smith moved to Hawaii in 1966 and soon began working as an umpire a year later in the Majors Division of the Palolo Little League. In, 1971, he started umpiring Babe Ruth and high school junior varsity. Two years later he worked varsity, AJA and American Legion games. In 1975, he started umpiring University of Hawaii games. His two sons (Gene and David) played on the UH baseball teams during this period and had outstanding careers. In the 1980s, he began scheduling umpires for American Legion, high school, AJA and the Hawaii Baseball League. He passed away in 2017.

Glenn Young: Although many people knew him as a long-time assistant basketball coach and founder of the ʻIolani Classic, Glenn had a distinguished career as a football official. He worked over 25 years working in the Oahu Interscholastic Association and worked multiple OIA championships, the Oahu Prep Bowl and the first two HHSAA state championship games. He was a very respected rules administrator and well regarded in the OIA and was also among first coordinator of officials for the HHSAA football championships. He passed away in 2015.

About the HHSAA:

Founded in 1956, the HHSAA is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) educational athletic organization exclusively dedicated to serving 96 public and independent member high schools statewide, as they work cooperatively to support and promote athletics as part of the high school education program. As the umbrella organization of high school athletics, the HHSAA operates 44 state championships in 18 different sports, establishing consistent standards and rules for competition.

About the HSOHOF:

Founded in 2017, the Hawaii Sports Officials Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization to promote public awareness of officials and their value to sports by recognizing and honoring Hawaii sports officials who have demonstrated the highest level of achievement, character, leadership and skill while contributing to their local official’s association.

For more information on the HSOHOF, go to