On the road with the Dayton Flyers: Team lands in Hawaii for Maui Invitational

(From left) Dayton’s Ryan Mikesell, Rodney Chatman, Ibi Watson, Christian Wilson and Camron Greer on Friday night in Hawaii. Larry Hansgen/STAFF
(From left) Dayton’s Ryan Mikesell, Rodney Chatman, Ibi Watson, Christian Wilson and Camron Greer on Friday night in Hawaii. Larry Hansgen/STAFF

UD plays Georgia in first round Monday

After a long travel day, that included a connection in snowy Denver, the Dayton Flyers have arrived in Maui for the Maui Jim Invitational beginning on Monday.

It was an uneventful flight, save for some strong winds that buffeted the plane upon landing. I was sitting across from Ibi Watson, who was brave, but nevertheless did not enjoy the turbulence. Walk-on Camron Greer volunteered that he had an apple in his backpack, which created a brief delay at the Hawaiian Agriculture checkpoint.

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The team is staying at the Sheraton Black Rock as are many of the Dayton fans I’ve seen already. This is the same hotel the Flyers occupied in 2003 when they won the Maui Invitational. It’s called Black Rock because of a black volcanic formation that juts out into the sea. In 2003 when the Flyers arrived later in the day, we got to see a ceremony in which a Hawaiian lit torches on a path leading up to the rock, and then threw the torch into the sea, jumping in after it.

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The following day I was sitting by the pool when I noticed a gaggle of tall guys on the rock. It was Keith Waleskowski, Sean Finn, James Cripe, Jon Kingston and manager Dan Helm. They all jumped off the rock, which I am sure would not have sat well with coach Brian Gregory, had he known it. Keith and the others survived. He went on to become the MVP of the tournament, which the Flyers won.

Keith will be working alongside me on radio this year, and I don’t believe he will relive the jump.

Dayton's Moulaye Sissoko and Jordy Tshimanga. Larry Hansgen/STAFF
Dayton's Moulaye Sissoko and Jordy Tshimanga. Larry Hansgen/STAFF

I ran into some of the players on the beach, told them the story, and they all agreed there would be no rock diving in their plans.

»MAUI INV. HISTORY: Flyers recorded two upsets in 2000

Work begins in earnest Saturday for the first game against Georgia on Monday, as the Flyers have a practice scheduled for 9:30 a.m., which is 2:30 p.m. Dayton time, the same time they play the Bulldogs on Monday. All the action can be heard on 1290 and 95.7 WHIO Radio.

Our coverage of the Maui Invitational on radio, in print and online is possible thanks to Premier Health.