HPU captures the PacWest Hawai'i Challenge for the fifth time.
For the fifth time in history, HPU captured the PacWest Hawai'i Challenge for the 2022-23 academic calendar, out-pointing fellow local Division II rivals, Chaminade University and the University of Hawai'i Hilo.
HPU won the annual competition for the first time since 2019-20 with 22 points, eking out UH Hilo which had 21. Chaminade took home 13 points during the Challenge which sees all three institutions battling for local athletic bragging rights.
"HPU Athletics is thrilled to have the PacWest Hawai'i Challenge plaque coming back to HPU this year," said Dr. Debbie Snell, HPU Executive Director of Athletics. "Congratulations to our colleagues at UH Hilo and Chaminade for their outstanding performances as well. The Challenge is so exciting each year and something we all look forward to."
HPU has nine women's sports teams and six men's sports teams.
The Sharks and Vulcans each had four first-place finishes during the 2022-23 competition. HPU took first-place points in women's cross country, women's basketball, women's tennis and softball while UH Hilo claimed won the men's and women's soccer, men's basketball and men's golf competition. CUH had one first-place finish, coming in women's volleyball.
The Challenge wasn't determined until April 28 – the final competition of the year – when HPU swept Chaminade in softball, allowing the Sharks to reclaim the prize over UH Hilo, which won the Challenge for the first time last year.
"Mahalo to the sports information directors at all three institutions for data collection and tracking this coveted award," Snell said. "Good luck to everyone as we continue this tradition in 2023-24."
Past PacWest Hawai'i Challenge Champions:
2015-16: BYU-Hawai'i, 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
2020-21: No competition due to COVID-19 pandemic
2021-22: Hawai'i Hilo
2022-23: Hawai'i Pacific
About the PacWest Hawai'i Challenge
The PacWest Hawai'i Challenge is comprised of nine sports that 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 two points and a tie worth one 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 three points while the second-highest gets two and the third-place finisher one. Postseason competitions do not factor into the tallies.
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. (In tennis, only the top 12 teams advance to the championships; if in the event of an institution or multiple institutions not advancing, each team will have an equal number of points after the last qualifying team.)
At the end of the academic term, the scores from all nine sports are tabulated to determine the overall champion. There are no head-to-head tiebreakers so teams that finish with the same number of points within an individual season all earn the appropriate point totals towards the season-long standings. The maximum number of points a school can receive during the year is 27.
Sports information directors from the three schools assisted by confirming and updating scores and promoting the Challenge. Chaminade is managing the master calendar and scoring chart with any discrepancies being addressed and resolved by the athletic directors.
The PacWest Hawai'i Challenge can be traced back to the late 1970s to early 80s when BYU-Hawai'i, Chaminade College, the University of Hawai'i Hilo, Hawai'i Loa College and Hawai'i Pacific College formed NAIA District 2, followed later by District 29. The district saw fierce rivalries between all five schools in numerous sports especially men's basketball while boasting the top volleyball league in the NAIA.
Following Chaminade's departure from the NAIA in 1989, the Hawai'i Intercollegiate Athletics Conference (HIAC) was formed three years later to keep the local rivalries between HPU (which merged with Hawai'i Loa in '92), UH Hilo (which left the NAIA in '93) and BYUH intact. The HIAC dissolved in 1998 when BYUH and HPU joined the Pacific West Conference.
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