Vulcans Crowned Hawai‘i Challenge Champions
Pacific West Conference honors continue rolling in for the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Vulcans, and the latest gives the Big Island university bragging rights among the three National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II schools in the state.
For the first time ever, UH-Hilo was crowned the 2021-22 PacWest Hawai’i Challenge champion. In the closest competition since the challenge’s inception in 2015-16, the Vulcans outpaced five-time defending champion Hawai‘i Pacific University by a single point.
UH-Hilo accumulated 22 points during the year, while HPU had 21. Chaminade University finished third with 13 points.
“UH-Hilo is pleased to finally capture this title in our friendly competition between the island schools,” UH-Hilo Athletics Director Patrick Guillen said in a press release, adding the university’s student-athletes, coaches and staff worked hard on and off the court and field and behind the scenes to make the 2021-22 season possible. “I am proud of our entire program and honored to finally win this title between friends.”
The Vulcans and Sharks each captured four first-place points, but UH-Hilo had the benefit of not having any of its teams finishing third in any of the nine sports comprising the competition. Chaminade had one first-place finish.
UH-Hilo staved off a late run by HPU, which captured all three first-place points in the spring, with men’s golf, women’s tennis and softball. The Vulcans secured at least a share of first place when the men’s golf team finished ahead of Chaminade at the PacWest Championships in Arizona. They captured the title outright April 30 — the final day of the competition — when the UH-Hilo softball team defeated Chaminade in the first game of a doubleheader in Hilo.
The challenge resumed this year after taking 2020-21 off because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Past PacWest Hawai‘i Challenge Champions were:
- 2015-16: BYU-Hawai‘i and Hawai‘i Pacific (co-champs)
- 2016-17: Hawai‘i Pacific
- 2017-18: Hawai‘i Pacific
- 2018-19: Hawai‘i Pacific
- 2019-20: Hawai‘i Pacific
The PacWest Hawai’i Challenge is comprised of nine sports in which all three of the state’s Division II schools participate: women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s tennis, men’s golf and softball.
Points are awarded in head-to-head matchups in basketball, soccer, softball and volleyball. A win is 2 points and a tie is worth 1 point, while a loss nets none. At the conclusion of each sport’s season, the points are added and the team with the highest total gets 3 points, while the second-highest gets 2 and the third-place finisher is awarded 1 point.
Since there are no consistent regular-season matchups in women’s cross country, men’s golf and women’s tennis, points are award in the order of finish at the PacWest Championships. Otherwise, postseason competitions do not factor into the tallies.
At the end of the year, the scores from all nine sports are tabulated to determine the overall champion. The maximum number of points a school can receive is 27.