Top Lahainaluna wrestling program needs a new practice facility
It is hauntingly accurate to describe the Lahainaluna High School wrestling team’s practice facility as “Spartan.” The Luna wrestling room is about the size of a portable classroom, and the ventilation louvers have been covered by the ever-growing wall of honor that recognizes Lahainaluna state placers.
There is no air conditioning. It is a dingy and dark, concrete-walled room that hardly represents the championship caliber of the program.
On a normal practice day, the room is filled by 50 to 70 dedicated student-athletes ranging in size from 97 to 225 pounds. The Luna coaching staff has faced this space and safety dilemma with creative practice schedules that split the wrestlers into conditioning groups that leave the premises and the remainder to grapple in rotations on the mat.
Mind you, this is a program that won both the boys and girls Hawaii High School Athletic Association state championships in 2015, a girls title in 2017 and bronze trophies at this year’s event.
The Luna boys have won 11 of the last 12 Maui Interscholastic League championships, and the girls have captured eight of the last nine. Lahainaluna wrestling is indeed a youth athletic program of the highest caliber.
Certainly, they deserve more.
Longtime head coach Todd Hayase describes the wrestling room as “very crowded.”
“There is a lack of circulation, and we’ve had to be creative with our practice schedules and split the group. It is unsafe, and we’ve had injuries up there,” he explained.
Kim Ball, an assistant coach for the Lunas, also pointed out the safety issues regarding the practice facility.
“It’s dangerous up there. We have concerns, and it sure seems like the program deserves better,” he said.
Coach Todd went on to say, “Lahainaluna wrestling has opened the doors for many of our kids to go to college and has built a strong work ethic in the community.
“The talk of improving the facility has been going on for over ten years now. We think it’s time to consider improving this situation.”
With the recent improvements to the athletic facilities at Lahainaluna – including the locker room, softball field and most especially the athletic field – it would seem to be in the natural progression to bring a state-of-the-art wrestling room to the campus. The student-athletes that give their all to the sport certainly deserve the consideration. Hopefully, we can get it done.