Kana’ikai Gaughen will soon leave the comfort of island life, hop on a plane, and fly to Mississippi Valley State University to live the southern lifestyle. However, for the Hawaii Preparatory Academy baseball and football player, the flight itself might be the part of the journey that he enjoys the most.
Gaughen loves to fly. He likes it so much that he hopes to one day earn his pilots license, but in the meantime, the future commercial pilot has decided to go to college after earning an athletic/academic scholarship to play baseball for the Delta Devils.
When trying to figure out which college to attend, the process came down to two choices for Gaughen, MVSU and New Mexico. Both schools offered scholarships, but Gaughen said Mississippi Valley State offered a little more, making his choice an easy one.
“They gave me a pretty good offer,” Gaughen said. “The only downside is it is so far away from Hawaii, but I have family in Georgia, Tennessee and Texas.”
Gaughen went for an official visit at MVSU and was impressed with the small NCAA Division I school’s facilities. He also had a chance to attend a baseball practice led by Delta Devils head coach Aaron Stevens.
“The school was very nice and it is in the countryside which is very similar to being in Waimea,” Gaughen said. “The guys all seemed pretty cool and it felt like home.”
Gaughen had a chance to meet with Stevens as well, who told him he would have a chance to start as a freshman. He will likely play a utility role, seeing most of his time in the outfield and as a catcher.
While his time on the athletic field has been memorable, Gaughen says he very happy about the education he as received at the Waimea school.
“It meant a whole lot to me to attend (HPA),” Gaughen said. “It was all about the education first and then sports. We are a really tight nit group and I had a lot of good times with my teammates. The coaches are also great.”
Gaughen chose baseball over football at the college level because he said that’s where the offers were and he was a little better on the diamond than on the gridiron.
“I love how relaxed baseball is compared to other sports,” Gaughen added. “I love the feeling of throwing someone out at home from the outfield and hitting a baseball. The entire game is fun for me.”
Gaughen plans on majoring in engineering.