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Lahainaluna golfers are studious with their academics and golf game

By Staff | Apr 5, 2018

The boys squad is comprised of (from left) Josh Gutierrez, Matt Ramelb, Jonas Marcial, Kaito Nishiji, Jensen Powley, Cory Smith and Coach Sutee Nitakorn.

LAHAINA – Here on the West Side, and on the entire Valley Isle for that matter, aspiring youngsters with an interest in the game of golf are treated to a remarkable opportunity to find the pathway to become the next “Tiger,” “Lefty” or Michelle Wie.

The open door generosity of the Kaanapali and Kapalua Resort golf course management staffs over the years has set a positive course in the game for hundreds of keiki. Elite instruction and free range time on several of Maui’s top venues – among the world’s outstanding golf courses – has paved a positive course for these youngsters.

Kaanapali Golf Courses Director of Golf Sutee Nitakorn is a prime time leader in creating this enriching opportunity, which includes college scholarship aid and direction, for hundreds of youngsters with the Lahaina Junior Golf and Lahainaluna High School programs.

Nitakorn is an effervescent personality in managing the world-class facility and keeps in tune with the community through this effort with the youth teams.

Coach Sutee guides the Lahainaluna boys team along with Tyler Armijo, while Peter Villatora heads up the girls program assisted by Lee Lins and Orlino Valencia.

The girls golf team includes (from left) Kirsten Balucan, Ashley Langaman, Hannah Valencia, Ciana Lins and Alana Duran.

Both head coaches praised the camaraderie and academic effort of the student-athletes as well as their determined competitive attitudes.

“It’s been a good year for the team, and we all have had a lot of fun, and the kids have been able to re-kindle some friendships,” said Coach Peter.

Nitakorn added, “These student-athletes are studious with both their academics and their golf game. This effort will carry this young team into next year and also for our players in the MIL individual playoffs coming up and, hopefully, at the state competition May 8-9 at Turtle Bay on Oahu.”

The Lahainaluna boys team is led by senior Jensen Powley and junior Matt Ramelb. They are joined by junior Kaito Nishiji and sophomores Jonas Marcial, Josh Gutierrez and Cory Smith.

Senior veteran Hanna Valencia spearheads the girls team this season, along with juniors Alana Rose Duran, Ashley Langaman and Kirsten Balucan, and sophomore Ciana Lins.

The MIL team and individual playoffs will be played through the month of April at Waiehu, Pukalani, The Dunes and at Kapalua, with the state tournament slated for the first week of May. n