LIHUE – Over 100 boys and 100 girl bowlers began converging on the Lihue Bowling Center on Wednesday afternoon as they prepared to bowl for the team and individual medals in the Hawaii High School Athletic Association (HHSAA) bowling tournament that will kick off starting Thursday morning and will run through Friday.
The defending champion, Pearl City High School girls, led by Jodi Ann Gum and Mandi Ishihara, could be the team to beat as Ann Gum has been the top qualifier from the OIA for the past two years, and also finished as a medalist in the past two HHSAA tournaments. Ishihara was also a medalist at HHSAA.
Hawaii Baptist of the ILH, last year’s runner-up at HHSAA, should provide some stiff competition for the Chargers with a veteran team led by Julie Goto, Mika Shimabukuro, and Jillian Santos. All five of their starters finished in the top ten averages of the ILH.
Kapolei, the OIA runner-up, also fields strong bowlers in Shaina Carnate, last year’s HHSAA Individual champion, and Samantha Masuda, a medal winner at that tournament.
Veteran bowlers Dena Ikeda and Kassie Otake, both medal winners at last year’s HHSAA, spark the BIIF champion program along with Kealakehe who fields four bowlers finishing in the top ten averages of the BIIF.
Other outstanding potential individual medal winners include Star Hamamoto of Hilo, the top average bowler in the BIIF as well as an HHSAA medalist for the past two years.
Lutheran’s Niccole Akau has led the ILH in average for the past two years. Terryn Howard of Maui High and Mei-Ling Keopuhiwa of Kaua’i High School will be strong contenders along with the OIA’s Stacue Nakakuni of Kalani, Shelly Shiira of Roosevelt, Kara Shiraki of Castle, and Cherish Saunders of Kapolei.
Other contenders from the ILH are Kamehameha’s Cassie Ann Ching, Janelle Fukuhara of Iolani, Renee Jong of Sacred Hearts, and Jamie Burgett of Hawaii Baptist.
OIA champion Mililani, sparked by Kellen Inafuku and Darren Hidane head up the competition in the Boys Division. Inafuku and Hidane were both HHSAA medalists last year.
OIA Runner-up Kailua is led by two-time OIA leading qualifier Bronson Teramoto. Pearl City, the HHSAA defending champions, is led by Jesse Cummings, a medalist last year, and Joshua Wong.
The ILH two-year champion Hawaii Baptist Academy will be a strong contender in the Boys division led by Chad Uyehara who leads the ILH average for the past two seasons as well as winning medals at the last two HHSAA tournaments.
Ryan Ohisa joins Uyehara in the Hawai’i Baptist team, Ohisa settling in as the second highest average in the ILH. Punahou, the ILH Runner-Up, sports a veteran team led by Darren Chen and Grant Nakahara.
Neighbor Island challenges should come from Waiakea of the BIIF with six bowlers having averages in the top 15 of the BIIF.
Baldwin of the MIL is led by Jonathan Elizares, and Kaua’i High School of the KIF will be led by Jon-Peter Sit and Garren Venzon.
Individualists in the Boys division include Kealakehe’s strong trio of Chris Choy, HHSAA medalist last year, Colin Texeira, and Justin Como, all bowlers taking the top three averages in the BIIF.
OIA bowlers of note include Cy Hiyane of Moanalua, a returning medalist from last year. Jarret Mizo of Roosevelt, a medalist last year, Grayson Kealalio of Aiea, Robert Fuke of Kalani, and Blaine Endo of Waipahu each captured HHSAA medals for the past two years.
ILH bowlers are Walter Ching of St. Louis, Vaseem Anwar of Maryknoll, Jacob Wong and Kala Stringert of Kamehameha, and Thomas Yamaoka of Mid Pacific.
Neighbor Island individualists include Maui High’s Jared Davis, and Curtis Kimura of Waimea.