LAHAINA - Although she'll just be reaching her 16th birthday in a few days, Lahaina girl Lalelei Mataafa already has an athletic highlight reel that most people can only dream about.
The daughter of Sophie and Sama Mataafa of Lahaina recently finished in second place in the Girls 14-15 Division at the 2013-14 NFL Punt, Pass & Kick national championship competition held at Highlands Ranch, Colorado earlier this month.
She rang up a total distance of 375.6 feet with her punt, pass and place kick efforts in the competition. This is her final year of age eligibility for the popular event.
Lalelei was the 8-9 national champion in 2008 and was recognized on national television at the NFL American Conference Championship Game, a runner-up in the 10-11 Division in 2010, and a fourth place finisher for the 14-15 category in last year's competition.
But that's not nearly the extent of the Lahainaluna High School sophomore's sterling athletic resume. Last February, young Mataafa stunned the Oahu-centric Hawaii High School Athletic Association wrestling championships by winning the gold medal in the girls 220-pound weight class after rampaging undefeated through the Maui Interscholastic League's 2012-13 season. This year, she is once again unbeaten, with her young sights set on another state title.
Veteran Lahainaluna wrestling coach Todd Hayase said, "Lalelei comes into this season as a solid favorite to repeat as the 220-pound state champion. She is strong and athletic, and will definitely help the Lady Lunas' effort in competing for the state title."
The Lahainaluna girls currently own a streak of four straight Maui Interscholastic League championships. They were state runner-ups last season and are annually top-five team finishers.
The high-quality sports genes run deep in the Mataafa family, as Lalelei's older brother, Hercules, also has made his mark as one of Lahaina's top athletes. Now a graduating senior at Lahainaluna, Hercules has been recognized as one of Hawaii's top collegiate football recruits after a stellar career as a defensive end in the Lunas' championship winning defense. He has been pursued by several Division I programs, including Washington State, Oregon State and the University of Nevada Las Vegas. It is rumored that the WSU Cougars, located in Pullman, Washington, have the inside track.
Hercules also had an outstanding wrestling career in high school in the heavyweight divisions, with several MIL titles and a silver medal at last year's state championships. The 6'2", 230-pounder chose to concentrate on football and is not competing on the mat this season.