NAPILI - The Maui Preparatory Academy Pueo soared as never before in the 2012-13 sports year, as the independent campus with but 56 upper school students at the foothills of Napili made its mark across the board in the Maui Interscholastic League.
Second-term Maui Prep Athletic Director Kawika Casco - who hails from an illustrious Lahaina athletic family - reported that Pueo student athletes made great strides and strokes this school year to elevate the school's position in the MIL.
"The kids did really well, and there are several underclassmen that made their mark both here on Maui and in state competition, too, so we're excited about this year and the coming years," said Casco last week.
Troy Otto set a school record with a high jump effort of six feet, four inches.
"We saw tremendous efforts from so many of the students from Maui Prep, and we are pleased with their performance and the dedication of all of the coaches as well."
Leading the way for the Pueo were sophomore sensation Danielle Jefferies, junior Sky Hirsch and the rest of the swim team coached by Mike "Tex" Ritter, Kathleen Ireland and Coleen Jefferies.
As a whole, the Maui Prep team had another historic year in winning seven MIL Championship meet medals, setting seven school records and crowning two MIL champions.
Jeffries became Maui Prep's first two-time MIL champ by winning the 100-meter breaststroke event. She also won a silver medal in the 100 butterfly event and placed fourth in the 100 fly at states.
Hirsch became the school's first male MIL champion in any sport with his victory in the 50 freestyle race with a school record time. He also took second in the 100 free with another record effort, won a bronze medal in the 100 free and came in sixth place in the 50 free at the state meet.
Junior Sebastian Buenrostro Gallimore qualified for states with a bronze medal effort in the 200 individual medley and a second place in the 100 backstroke to set two more school records. He swam to a sixth place finish in the 100 back at states.
In the boys 400 free relay, the Pueo team of Gallimore, Slater Trout, Santana Huck and Hirsch took third place at the MIL meet. The girls 400 relay team also stood out with a lineup of Ember Hirsch, Sammi Shoemaker, Ali Torres and Jefferies. Kallen Piper and Trout were the only seniors on the team.
The Maui Prep cross country team, coached by Keenan Reader, John Deal and Dennis Nakamura, featured great senior leadership from Xavier Damo and Slater Trout in finishing fifth at the MIL meet.
All-star Damo finished ninth overall and advanced to his third consecutive state competition, while Danielle Jefferies set a new girls record time and qualified for states. Junior Caleb Bermudez finished 19th overall and also qualified for the state race.
In track and field, the senior leadership of Troy Otto, Kawaiola Wendt, Akashi Saito and Damo led the team throughout the season. Otto set a school mark with a high jump effort of 6'4" and qualified for states, but he suffered an injury the week before and was forced to scratch. His 6'4" effort would have given him a state silver medal. The team was coached by Deal, Nakamura, Kay Milne, Duncan Briggs and Bob DeZotelle.
The Pueo paddling season was highlighted with a new canoe courtesy of the Muto family, and the boys team of Lyndon Wilfur, Kameryn Pupunu, Davis Pitzer, Tim Lee, Alex Muto, Otto and Damo did well in the new boat. Senior Hannah Freeman was also a standout paddler all year. The coaching staff included Barry Franks and Michael Raines.
The tennis team, coached by Daniel Beeson, LeeAnn Siefker and Jessica Bell, was led by a senior class that included Selena Agarano, Mikayla Head, Davyana San Miguel, John Caputo, Mehran Karimadadi, Keoni Moore and Lyndon Wilfur. Top efforts came from junior Buenrostro Gallimore - who reached the MIL quarterfinals - and the doubles team of Caputo and Karimabadi also advancing to the quarterfinal round.
The girls volleyball team was led by senior captain Chloe Schaefer and classmates Alexis Oku, Saito and Head. Coach Kelly Krohn noted that the program is building with a strong nucleus of players coming back for next season.
Athletic Director Casco added that the school year 2012-13 sports award banquet was held last Friday night, May 24, on the Maui Prep campus.
The feature awards were presented to Sky Hirsch and Danielle Jefferies for Most Outstanding Athlete of the Year, and the Pueo Most Inspirational honors went to Chloe Schaefer and Troy Otto.