LAHAINA - The sterling tradition of Lahainaluna High School wrestling continues into the 2013 season, as the current team builds its pathway toward the ultimate goal of a state championship.
The Luna boys are well on their way to capturing their eighth straight Maui Interscholastic League title, while the girls team is shooting for its fourth consecutive championship.
Both teams have their sights set on another run at the Hawaii High School Athletic Association tournament in February at the Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu, where they have consistently finished in the top five at the elite competition.
Luna wrestlers will compete against the state’s best at the Hawaii High School Athletic Association tournament next month. PHOTO BY ART FILLAZAR.
Veteran head coach Todd Hayase leads the Luna coaching staff that includes Neal Nakata, Kim Ball, Conrad Bolor, Shane Cunanan, Zane Monteleone, Nick Nakata, Lindsay Ball and Jojo Hidalgo.
"We've turned a corner this year, as Coach Shane (Cunanan) has taken complete control of the practices... this has taken us to another level. He is a former Division I All-American wrestler at West Virginia and brings experience and knowledge of technique, drills - everything we do," said Hayase from his counselor's office at Lahaina Intermediate School last week.
"He is molding a championship mentality in the team."
"We went to two camps on the Mainland this past summer, and we got everybody on our team believing that we can win the state championship," Coach Todd continued.
"We all must understand the hard work and commitment that is required to reach that goal. We definitely have the roster that can win it all."
A long list of returnees will lead that charge for the Lunas. For the boys, seniors Gary Long, Mark Alamon, Kahi Tihada, Gio Perez, Joshua Coston, Reilly Pasion, Tyler Timko and Justin Taylor; juniors Hercules Mataafa, Jansen Panlasigui Domingo and Wyatt Chism; and sophomores Wayne Alibin, Robert Campos, Connor Mowat and Thomas Rosen St. John are a tournament tested group that will challenge the best at the state tournament. Seniors Precious Jaramillo and Tekau Taamu, and sophomore Carly Jaramillo will do the same for the Lady Lunas in Honolulu.
In conclusion, Coach Hayase praised the West Side community for its continued support of the Lahainaluna wrestling program.
"Individuals like Mr. Bob Kawaguchi; all of the graduates and alumni that come out to practice to help; businesses such as the Royal Lahaina Resort and the Kaanapali Beach Hotel; the school administration and staff, including the athletic trainers, all contribute to the success of the team, and we are certainly grateful for what they all do."