Lahainaluna water polo team sees biggest turnout in many years
LAHAINA – Lahainaluna High School water polo coach Bradley Mason greeted a young Luna team to begin the 2020 season, yet he had high expectations for the upstart roster.
Assisted by Courtney Galarita and strength and conditioning coach Scott Fleck, Coach Mason and the Lady Lunas were poised to maintain their traditional position in the top rungs of the Maui Interscholastic League standings and, most of all, make a deep run in the state playoffs.
The COVID-19 pandemic put an end to all of that.
“We felt like we entered a new era of Lady Lunas water polo. Eighteen girls is the largest team we’ve had in several years. It is the largest freshman class we’ve had as well. We had four seniors and 14 first- or second-year players on the roster,” said Coach Bradley.
He added that the team effort was led by senior captains Lele Oliveira, Makena Cowan, Hailey Bogar and Ryli Cherry. Second-year players are senior Maile Cacal, juniors Shaden Flores and Becca Segura, and sophomore Puliki Rogers.
First-year players include senior Alana Koa and freshmen Hana Gonzalez, Healani Kanekoa, Yuna Lee, Delaney McLaughlin, Anuhea Naki, Mauri’i Niles Cantero, Ailyn Rendon and Noelle Storer.
Coach Mason stated that the team goal is to get back to the state tournament, and the team was focused and motivated to achieve that goal.
“We knew we had to consistently put forth our best effort in all aspects of our training, especially improving our swimming speed and endurance. We also want to improve communication, team bonding and having fun along the way,” he said.
“Despite being shocked and devastated with the abrupt suspension of the season, this is truly an exciting time for Lady Lunas water polo. The health and safety of our community is the most important priority at this time but we are hopeful we will get through this together, emerge stronger, and have an abbreviated season.”
“We send a big mahalo out to Phil Link and Carl Lisk at the Lahaina Aquatic Center for treating us so well; and to Scott Soldwisch, Jon Conrad, Rebecca Cohen and Debbie Rogers at Lahainaluna High School; Cyndi Cowan and all the parents; and community members for their support of Lady Lunas water polo,” concluded Coach Mason.