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Wahine Power

By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.

Today is National Girls & Women in Sports Day. Be sure to check out our ESPN Honolulu Instagram and Facebook pages for exclusive comments from some of Hawaii’s most accomplished and inspiring Wahine athletes. In the meantime, here is our list in no particular order) of the Top 10 female athletes born and raised in our Aloha State:

  1. RELL SUNN: The beloved “Queen of Makaha” paved the way for future generations of women surfers. Next to Duke Kahanamoku, the pioneering Sunn was perhaps the greatest ambassador for the sport of surfing.
  2. ROBYN AH MOW: The McKinley HS and University of Hawaii alum has an impeccable volleyball portfolio, including twice being named a First-Team AVCA All-American. Ah Mow also served as a captain on three U.S. Olympic teams (2000, 2004 and 2008) and in 2017 returned to UH as the program’s head coach.
  3. NATASHA KAI: The former Kahuku standout is simply the greatest soccer player ever from Hawaii. As a member of the Rainbow Wahine, Kai was a 3x WAC Player of the Year. She was a key contributor for the U.S. National Team that captured Olympic gold at the 2008 Games in China.
  4. JOCELYN ALO: The reigning USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year. Alo led Campbell HS to three state championships before taking her considerable talents to the University Oklahoma. She was an instant sensation, earning national Freshman of the Year honors. Led the Sooners to the 2021 Women’s College World Series title. She’s twice led the country in home runs and needs just eight more homers to set a new NCAA record for career home runs.
  5. CLARISSA CHUN: At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Chun became the first female wrestler from Hawaii to win a medal (silver). The Roosevelt alum is a 4x U.S. Open champion and has been named to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. At Roosevelt, Chun captured the state wrestling title in 1998, the first year girls wrestling became a sanctioned sport. She recently was named head coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes’ women’s wrestling program.
  6. NANI COCKETT: The Kamehameha-Kapalama graduate went on to become arguably the most versatile player in the history of UH women’s basketball. Cockett is one of only two Rainbow Wahine players to record more than 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 250 assists and 200 steals. She was a 1998 All-America selection.
  7. MICHELLE WIE WEST: The one-time child prodigy never lived up to the hype of being the LPGA’s version of Tiger Woods, but the Punahou alum still belongs on this list. At age 10, she became the youngest player to ever qualify for a USGA amateur championship. Wie also became the youngest winner of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links and the youngest to qualify for an LPGA Tour event. To date, she has won one LPGA major, the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open.
  8. ILIMA-LEI MACFARLANE: The Punahou alum is the most accomplished female MMA fighter that Hawaii has ever produced. In 2017, she submitted Emily Ducote to capture the inaugural Bellator women’s flyweight title. Macfarlane successfully defended her title four times before losing it to Juliana Velasquez in December of 2020.
  9. JACKIE PUNG: A pioneer in women’s gold in the Islands, Pung won four Hawaii amateur championships before turning professional and winning five LPGA Tour events between 1953 and 1958. The Roosevelt alum was inducted into the Hawaii Golf Hall of Fame in 1988.
  10. CARISSA MOORE: What Rell Sunn started, Moore has taken to new heights. The former Punahou student has captured the World Surf League World Tour championship five times. Last year, she became the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal in surfing. She was inducted into the Surfers’ Hall of Fame at the age of 22.

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