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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Honolulu Advertiser Article on Mana Silva

By Stephen Tsai Editor

University of Hawai'i football player Keanemana "Mana" Silva is willing to go the distance this semester.

About 200 miles each way, as it turns out.

Weekdays, Silva attends classes on the Manoa campus and participates in the Warriors' offseason conditioning program.

Every Friday evening he travels to his home on the Big Island, where he lives with his wife, Keilah, and their 8-month-old son, Kauahe. He returns to Honolulu Sunday evenings.

"It's tough, but it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make," said Silva, a 2006 Kamehameha-Hawai'i graduate who transferred from Oregon State last August.

Silva has been impressive in conditioning drills this spring. At 6 feet 1 and 205 pounds, Silva, who is competing at safety, has displayed speed and power. Yesterday, he bench pressed 300 pounds.

"I was kind of disappointed with that," he said. "I can do better."

As a senior quarterback, Silva was the Big Island Interscholastic Federation's Player of the Year in 2005. Kamehameha ran a spread offense.

He also lettered in baseball and basketball.

Silva joined the Oregon State football team in August 2006. He moved to wide receiver, and redshirted that year.

Although he enjoyed his stay in Corvallis, Silva said, "I wanted to be closer to my family. I decided to come back."

He secured a release from Oregon State, then contacted the UH coaches. He also decided to move to safety.

"I felt, maybe, this is the ticket to the field," Silva said.

Mel deLaura, who is coordinating the off-season conditioning program, praised Silva's athletic ability.

"That guy is a stud," deLaura said. "He can do a lot of things."

Including, it seems, balancing his life.

"My family is very supportive," Silva said.

He and Keilah were married last July.

"We've been together since my sophomore year," Silva said. "She's my high school sweetheart. We've been together a long time."

Of exchanging wedding vows, he said, "I was crying when I was doing it. It made me really emotional."

Keilah is in a nursing program at UH-Hilo. Silva, who once aspired to be a doctor, now is considering a career as a nurse practitioner.

"I want to stay in the health field," he said. "I want to help people in my community."

Safety Kenny Estes said of his best friend on the team: "He always says positive things. He's grateful for everything."

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