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Numbers are up for Lahaina’s Pop Warner Football teams

By Staff | Oct 18, 2019

LAHAINA – The sterling pathway to success manifested in the Lahainaluna High School football team continues as the Lahaina Chiefs Pop Warner program thrives in the 2019 season.

The future for the three-time state champion Lunas looks to be on solid turf as the West Side youth gridiron organization grows and prospers.

Guided by Lahaina Commissioner Althena Cajudoy, now into her 12th year with the program, the Chiefs have some 100 registered youth athletes ages five to 14 spread into the four divisions that make up the West Side rosters.

“Our numbers are up from last year, and the program is moving along well this year,” Cajudoy said.

“We are self-sufficient and financially stable, and the entire Maui Pop Warner Association is having good participation counts across the board. MPWA is bringing out the kids and is in healthy standing,” reported Cajudoy last week from the Lahaina Recreation Center practice facility of the Chiefs.

The Lahaina Tiny Mite team, for kids ages 5-7 years old that weigh 35-65 pounds, is led by President Janna Casey and Head Coach Jay Casey; the Junior Peewees (ages 8-11 and 65-105 pounds) are led by President Florence Cortez and Head Coach Hoku Gonzalez; the Peewees (ages 9-12 and 75-130 pounds) are led by Cajudoy and Head Coach Kanamu Balinbin; and the recently instituted Unlimited Division (ages 11-14, minimum 105 weight, no maximum) team is led by President Melissa Ancheta and Head Coach Charles Ancheta.

The league includes teams representing Kahului, Wailuku, Kulamalu, Kihei and Lahaina playing an eight-game schedule through the Thanksgiving holiday week that will feature the Turkey Bowl. This annual event pits the top MPWA teams facing off with teams from Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island.

Commissioner Cajudoy reported that the Chiefs Unlimited team is currently unbeaten at 3-0 and has received a tentative invitation to travel to the Garden Island for the Kauai Turkey Bowl event. “We’ll be holding fundraisers in the coming weeks to pay for the travel costs,” she said.

“We used to have a storage container here at the park, but we moved it over behind the skate park. It got vandalized over there, and now we’re looking for donations for a different storage place for our equipment in the off-season.”

“For the most part, the program is self-sufficient due to the strong support of the Lahaina community, including the parents, families, coaches and all that donate their own time to help. We certainly appreciate everyone’s help,” Cajudoy concluded.