On scholarship: Kealakehe’s Setu Vole signs on to play rugby at Lindenwood

  • Setu Vole could try to participate in rugby and football at Lindenwood

Facing a decision on his future, Setu Vole mulled over the offers he had to play at the next level. But the Kealakehe standout was faced with a tough choice — football or rugby?

Ultimately, Vole picked a unique opportunity that wouldn’t need him to pick between the two sports he loves.

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Vole will attend Lindenwood University to play rugby on scholarship and will have an opportunity to walk on to the football team his sophomore year.

“I’m relieved that the decision is out of the way,” Vole said. “I’m ready and excited to play at the next level.”

Vole made a name for himself on the gridiron as an offensive lineman with the Waveriders, bulldozing opponents on the way to a pair of All-BIIF first-team selections. Kealakehe never won a BIIF title during his time in Waverider Blue, but he’s still thankful for the lessons he learned during the journey.

“There were ups and downs, but I think I learned a lot,” Vole said. “We battled adversity and pushed through.”

He was also a two-time BIIF champion in wrestling at 285 pounds.

But rugby has always held a special place in Vole’s heart, so he’s excited to commit to the sport full time in college.

“Rugby was my first sport,” Vole said. “I think I was eight when I started playing.”

The Lions are one of the top rugby programs in the nation. Lindenwood competes in the Mid-South Conference of Division I-A rugby — the toughest group of collegiate rugby in the US, according to the Lions’ website. Each of the schools in the conference regularly rank in the top 25 teams in the country.

“It’s crazy,” Vole said. “They’re a really good program. I was able to visit up there and check out the campus. I know what to expect.”

As an offensive lineman, it can be fun bullying defensive players around the field. But in rugby, Vole plays prop, a position among the forwards which duties entail “proping up” the hooker in the scrum, among other things, like making tackles and even carrying the ball — a lineman’s dream.

“I just like the aggressiveness of it all,” Vole said. “You always have to be alert. I love the sport.”

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During the decision making process, Vole might have had some nudging from a pair of former Waveriders who attended Lindenwood to play rugby as well. The brother-sister duo of Tama and Nika Paogofie-Buyten both found major success with the Lions.

“They’re family friends,” Vole said. “They talk all about it up there.”

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