Ho'okele Staff | Jan 13, 2017
Story and photos by Randy Dela Cruz
Sports Editor, Ho‘okele
As we closed a great year in sports, we are looking forward to another season of fantastic intramural action at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) in 2017.
One thing is for sure, if this year turns out to only half as exciting as it was in 2016, it would still rival any year of sports at JBPHH.
Let’s take a look back to 2016 for the great year that it was, as we count down the most impressive accomplishments by teams here on Joint Base.
Coming at No. 5 are the Hawaii Air National Guard (HIANG) volleyball squad, which continued to keep their dynasty for the last 15 years intact.
While their story from last season could have easily marked them as the top team at Joint Base, their domination of intramural volleyball has become so second nature that you expect the team to do it over and over again.
In 2016, the team completed another spectacular year for the HIANG, which first captured the Gold Division title with a 11-0 record and then put an exclamation point on the season by getting past 154th Maintenance Group (154 MXG) in straight sets, 25-17 and 25-24, for the title.
Although the team is stocked with veteran players, such as Staff Sgt. Alan Michael Warner, Lt. Col. Rick Cox and perhaps Joint Base’s top player of all time in Tech. Sgt. Stephen Lorenzo, HIANG did it last year with a lot of newcomers that filled out the roster.
Back with much of the team’s same personnel as last season, the HIANG are expected to take it all in 2017.
At No. 4, the Pacific Command/Joint Intelligence Operation Center (PACOM/ JIOC) positioned themselves for a strong run in the softball playoffs by going through the entire season with only one defeat.
Finishing with a mark of 7-1, the team was among the favorites to secure the championship trophy and went on to do it by finishing off the 647th Security Forces Squadron (647 SFS) Pound Town by a score of 8-7 on June 19 at Millican Field.
Marine Staff Sgt. Mike Cox sent everyone with a two-out, bases-loaded slice to the opposite field that drove in the winning run.
Team captain Mike Todd, a Department of Defense civilian, said that bringing home the hardware for the first time was extremely gratifying.
“This was very satisfying,” Todd said. “This is what you play for. It’s one thing to talk about it, but now we’ve got the hardware to prove it.”
Coming in at No. 3, USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) did something no other Afloat Division team has ever done. They defeated the combined 747th Communication Squadron (747 CS) and 690th Cyberspace Operations Squadron (690 COS) by a score of 3-0 to become the first ship to win the soccer title.
With the title-clinching victory, Murphy joined the select company of only two other ships, all in basketball, to ever win a Joint Base intramural sports championship.
The team went 5-1-1 to take the crown of the Blue Division in the regular season, before walking off Earhart Field with the winning trophy.
Murphy played superb defense throughout the title showdown, but it was the foot of Gas Turbine System Technician (Electrician) 2nd Class Jesus Ruiz, which really stole the show, as he scored all of Michael Murphy’s three goals.
The Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) Hawaii Anchors flag football squad comes in at No. 2 after winning their first flag football championship by a score of 12-6 over Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) on Dec. 3 at Earhart Field.
Anchored by a shutdown defense that dominated throughout the year, NIOC went back to the same strategy to hold the explosive DPAA offense to only six points in the title matchup.
The football championship put NIOC in an excellent position to come in as the No. 1 team of 2016, but the most impressive squad of the year has to go to USS O’Kane (DDG-77), which became only the second ship in Joint Base history to win an intramural basketball title.
O’Kane, which first won the Afloat Division flag, featured a run-and-shoot offense coupled with a stifling full-court pressure defense, subdued Naval Submarine Support Command (NSSC) into submission, 46-34, to win the 2016 JBPHH intramural basketball crown.
Head coach Fire Controlman 1st Class Kenroy Edwards did an excellent job of keeping the team tight and ready to go at full speed, but he also knew his players very well and substituted wisely to keep all of his players legs fresh.
Edwards said that the team came a long way from its early days, when the players competed without any formal uniforms.
Although Edwards was too busy in the moment savoring the team’s title, he said that he wouldn’t put it past the team to make it back-to-back.
“I’m not going to say anything that anyone can hold me to later on, but I’m going to say this, any team, at any time, I think my guys are more hungry,” Edwards said.
This year’s sports schedule will begin another cycle, when basketball tips off on Jan. 24.
Keep track of all your favorite teams by following Ho‘okele, which will be on the spot to chronicle all the seasons to come.
Category: Life & Leisure