Two Sports States-Bound
Four Molokai sports teams competed in last week’s jam-packed Maui Interscholastic League (MIL) championships. While volleyball and track wrapped up their seasons, the softball and judo teams will continue on to the state tournaments.
The boys ended their season last Thursday on Lanai at the Division II Tournament with a thrilling five-set loss to Hana. The Dragons (12-2) outlasted the Farmers (3-9) 25-19, 18-25, 26-28, 25-20, 15-7, and later qualified for the state tournament.
The Farmers played well, and Coach Hale Domingo was happy with the season.
“Words can’t explain how proud I am of these boys,” he said. “I try to teach them everything I know about volleyball, but in the end they teach me more than I ever known.”
With only senior Tanielu Falealii leaving, the future is bright for the team.
“Next season is going to be different cause we’re going to only play D-II schools,” said Domingo. “… With hard work in the offseason and the same fire as this season, we should be looking good.”
In their first-ever MIL championships on Maui, Molokai’s judo teams fielded three champions, while the girls’ team finished a solid second overall and the boys came in third.
“They really worked hard considering that just a few weeks ago they learned the basics,” said Coach Eli “Lihau” Maioho.
Ikua DePonte (145 pounds) came from behind to win, while Kuiakamoku Han (285) claimed victory in the first minute and Kaila`oe Cabanting (115) executed “two near perfect throws” to win her match, said Maioho. Seven total Farmers qualified for the May 9 state tournament.
“This week we’re just gonna be polishing up their technique, build on their individual style and … put more throws into the repertoires,” said Maioho.
In three MIL tournament games on Maui, Molokai beat Hana 13-4 before falling to Lanai 14-10 and 8-7.
Against Hana last Saturday, Molokai jumped out to an early lead with seven runs in the first three innings. They tacked on three more runs in the fourth and two more in the sixth.
Molokai’s Kelsie Espiritu-Tanabe was solid at the plate for Farmers, going 3-for-4 and driving in one run.
Later in the day, the Farmers fell 14-10 to Lanai in eight innings despite racking up 13 hits and 10 runs.
Molokai grabbed an early 5-3 lead after three innings, including a home plate steal by Nadia Augustiro. However, Lanai broke open with six runs in the fifth inning and didn’t relinquish the lead.
Camille Ledesma went 3-for-5 for the Farmers, and Waipuna Kelly-Paleka was 2-for-4 for with four RBIs.
Lanai’s victory forced the final on Sunday. In a tight game, the Farmers pushed one run across in the first, third, fifth and sixth. However, Lanai rallied to decide the game in the seventh inning. Both the Farmers and the first-place Pine Lasses qualified for states May 12-15.
Track and Field
In the final rounds of the MILs on Maui last Saturday, Hikilii Chow came in fourth in high jump, while Kori DeRouin was fourth in shot put. Alex Simon took fifth in the 300 hurdles, and Lehiwa Pedro was fifth in discus. Iokepa Albino came in eighth in discus.
“We had multiple personal bests on the team, which is what you want in a championship meet—people at their peak,” said Head Coach Jess Ford.
Only Simon qualified for states but will miss the tournament to attend the International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh.
Ford said she feels the Farmers were represented in a broad variety of events this season and credits throwing coach Micah Buchanan.
“That really helped us become more well-rounded,” she said. “… I think we have some good interest in the program where we can start developing our offseason training more. … We’re already thinking about next year’s training.”