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By Kalamalama staff


In her home country of Japan, she met and married an American from New Jersey. The couple decided to relocate to California. En route, they stopped off in Hawai‘i for a working vacation—and never left.

Masako took a job as a Japanese interpreter with Atlantis Submarines, but became more interested in piloting the company’s 48-passenger vessel. “I got my captain’s license, and was the first female Japanese pilot for Atlantis Submarine,” Sagawa said.

At that time, running was her hobby. Through the local running community, Masako became friends with former Sea Warrior Sayuri Kusatani, who introduced her to the HPU cross country coach. Masako initially turned down an athletic scholarship to Hawai‘i Pacific, because of her recent promotion to full-time pilot. But the coach persisted, and Masako eventually said yes.

Sagawa ran cross country four years at HPU. She recently completed her final season of eligibility competing at the NCAA Division II cross country regionals.

Masako is a finance major with a 3.44 GPA. Although she admits, “I never liked math when I went to high school,” her favorite subject at HPU is mathematics, especially statistics. After Sagawa graduates from HPU in January 2007, she plans to go to law school.

What makes this scholar-athlete so successful in the classroom? “Organization is very important. I take good notes and file them very neatly. Then, it’s so easy to go back and review,” explains Sagawa. “After a quiz or exam, I write down all of the questions on one paper, and the correct answers on another. I try to solve the problems over and over until I get it, and to learn from my mistakes.”


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