Luna tennis teams competing for MIL titles
LAHAINA — The golden legacy of the late Shigeto “Shigesh” Wakida with the youth of the Lahaina tennis community continues into the current Maui Interscholastic League season, as both the girls and boys teams from Lahainaluna High School vie for 2011 championships.
Wakida is credited with establishing the Lahaina Tennis Club and with it a pathway to success and integrity, not only on the court but in the challenges of life. The coaches and players that learned under this great mentor continue to propagate that legacy.
Going into last weekend’s MIL Playoff Tournament at the Royal Lahaina Tennis Ranch, both the Lunas girls and boys teams were undefeated and winners of the regular season titles.
On the line at this match-up was the overall league title and the five automatic berths to the state championship tournament that will take place here on the West Side at the Royal Lahaina and Lahaina Civic Center courts on May 3-6.
Leading the way for the Lady Lunas is Kaila Nip, the last of Mr. Wakida’s protégés to pick up a racquet at the Front Street courts that are aptly named the Shigeto “Shigesh” Wakida Courts in honor of the legendary mentor.
Nip, the senior team captain and number one singles player for the Lady Lunas, is also an honor student with a 4.08 grade point average and National Honor Society member, exemplifying the positive influence of her first coach that focused on a strong work ethic, respect for parents and elders and attention to school work.
Joining Nip in the Lahainaluna lineup are junior Jasmine Garde; sophomores Melissa Taketa, Tauley Montez, Lakeisha Ching, Ezra Baccar, Destinee Ramirez, Aja Toscano and Monet Mussa; and freshmen Maile Amine and Charvie Duque.
On the boys’ side of the net, the leaders are senior co-captains Stephen Adolfson and Jackson Britt, with classmates Ty Scott and James Herron, junior McNeil Magdaong and sophomores Jordan Clay and Hayden Bogar filling out the team roster.
The head coach for both teams is Macario Pascual, an accomplished artist who learned the game of tennis under Mr. Wakida and continues to promote the team spirit and work ethic that characterized the championship youth players of that era.
Coach Mac is joined on the coaching staff by his brother, Edwin Pascual (also a Wakida product), and Ian Cohen, as well as volunteer coaches Steven Okada, Jean Okada and Alton DeGama — all mentored by Mr. Wakida in their youth.
The always-optimistic Coach Mac approached the playoffs with his usual calm and positive demeanor.
“We have a distinct advantage with the strong junior program here in Lahaina — almost all of the girls team has come up with the Lahaina Tennis Club, and several of the boys as well,” he said.
“The thing that characterizes the teams this year is the great chemistry among them and the leadership from our seniors. That and the guidance and example set by the coaches in other sports at Lahainaluna, like Todd Rickard with the basketball girls and Todd Hayase with the wrestling teams, have set a fine example that has put us all on the same page.”
Pascual also acknowledge the support of the Lahaina community and LHS Athletic Director Scott Soldwisch in regard to the success of the Lahainaluna tennis program.
“I give a lot of credit to the parents of our kids for their support in creating a great atmosphere for success in all ways. And Coach Scott is a terrific person for guidance and a sounding board for us. He is always supportive and helpful in developing team cohesiveness,” he concluded.