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Lahainaluna High School golfers learn from expert instructors

By Staff | Apr 30, 2015

Two Lady Luna athletes qualified for the state tournament on May 3-5 at the Waikaloa Resort.

LAHAINA – It is indeed a remarkable situation that the Lahainaluna High School boys and girls golf teams flourish within. Think about having daily access to two of the world’s premiere courses as well as instruction and coaching from the professionals at the Kaanapali and Kapalua Resort courses, and then you can understand the continuous success of the Luna golf teams.

Led by veteran coaches Laura Jones and Sutee Nitakorn, the girls and boys teams both finished in second place after the Maui Interscholastic League team tournaments were held two weeks ago. Both teams had legitimate shots at first place but faltered down the stretch to finish in the runner-up slots.

In the individual play, however, junior twin sisters Caitlyn and Caylyn Villatora finished second and fourth, respectively, to qualify for the state tournament to be held May 3-5 at the Waikaloa Resort on the Big Island.

Senior team leader Ennah Cabading also had a productive season but completed her last rounds just out of the running for states.

“Ennah was fantastic for us all season long. She was one of our hardest workers and a leader for our team. She’s on her way to the University of Nevada at Las Vegas to study sports medicine, and we wish her all the best. She’s come a long way,” commented Coach Laura from her Physical Education classroom at Lahainaluna.

Coach Sutee Nitakorn said, “It is impressive to note that we qualified the whole team to go to states. They practiced very hard.”

Sophomore Yazy Chadli and first-year players Hannah Valencia and Kysteleia Bettencourt round out the roster for the Lady Lunas for the 2015 season.

“It’s been a tough season for the girls with the change to an 18-hole format this year. We had to develop mental toughness and physical training to prepare for this challenge. Overall, I’m happy and proud of the team for how hard they worked to achieve their goals,” said Coach Laura.

It was much of the same for the Lahainaluna boys, as they settled for the silver medals in the MIL team standings. But Coach Sutee noted that four Luna boys advanced to the state tournament that takes place May 7-8, also at Waikaloa: seniors Lucas Bell and Kerek Franz, junior Tristan Villa and sophomore Kaimi Kanaha, who finished in first place in the MIL junior varsity playoffs.

Joining these four in the Luna lineup were senior Lance Ito, sophomore Antonio Bak and freshmen Evra Macadangdang and Jensen Powley.

“All of these boys did a tremendous job,” said Coach Sutee, who was assisted by former Lunas Chris Shimomura, James Horton and Jeff Moon this season.

“The team was always competitive and persevered through the tough situations, so it was nice to coach this many players that can compete with the best in Hawaii. It is impressive to note that we qualified the whole team to go to states. They practiced very hard.”

Both Nitakorn and Jones praised the work of MIL golf coordinator Scott Soldwisch as well as directors Ed Koyama at Kaanapali and Mike Jones at Kapalua. They recognized the instruction provided by Ben Hongo, Dave Havens and Greg Fields, and also the contributions of Mark Tillman at Williams and Associates for the success of Lahainaluna golf this season.