Tennis Stars Take on Top Competitors
Molokai High School tennis duo Pono Chow and Kamaunu Pascua joined the ranks of Hawaii’s top athletes as they competed in the Hawaii High School Athletics Association state tournament last weekend.
The MIL doubles champions drew first-seeded Punahou School players, who dominated the May 2 match 6-0, 6-0. Though Chow and Pascua didn’t return home with a win, they were able to represent Molokai at a state tennis match for the first time in Molokai High’s history and experienced competition at that level.
“The tournament was awesome,” Pascua said. “Even though we lost the first game, it’s good to see how much higher the caliber is at the state level compared to the MIL.”
Pascua, a graduating senior, played tennis three months at a time for three years before competing against players who grew up in the game. Chow said their Oahu-based competitors have tennis in their school curriculum from a young age.
“These guys we were playing had played tennis since kindergarten,” Chow said. “I felt a little bit of jealous that I wasn’t raised in it… but I think I did well for only playing a few months a year for a few years.”
Coach Dean Chow said he received comments from participants and coaches that Pono Chow and Pascua were first-class in sportsmanship and etiquette, something MHS coaches really stressed to all the tennis players this season.
“It was a really good experience just to see what the competition is like and see what is ahead for [the MHS players] if they work hard enough and really apply themselves,” Dean Chow said. “They’re every bit as talented and athletic as those other guys. It opens my eyes to how much they can achieve.”
Pasucua said as he works and goes to school next year, he will try to find time to hit the courts sometime. Pono Chow plans to compete in singles as a senior next year. He said he’ll dedicate his practice time to improving his form and technique.
“Work on front-hand, back-hand, serves,” he said. “It’ll probably be a lot of strategy.”
Pono Chow and Pascua said tennis achievements are a group effort, noting everyone who coached them, encouraged them and helped keep them on the court.