Change is good and for KIF sports, it’s even better.
Most would say that everything goes in cycles and so does KIF sports, which is going through a couple of cycles this season.
First off, the girls basketball torch is being passed from Kaua’i to Kapa’a.
The Warrior ladies just finished off an impressive 4-0 mark on their way to the first-round title with a win on Friday against the Menehune.
And they’re just getting started.
With stars like Brittney Carvalho, Poe Gantt, April Johnson, and Mailika Napoleon returning next season, the Warriors should be in good hands for a few years. The Red Raider girls, who triumphed the past two seasons, are going through a rebuilding phase, with Rachel Taira stuck in the middle.
The reigning KIF player of the year is amongst a group of young individuals who need some time to get used to coach Dennis Aquino’s system.
It should be an interesting second round of hoops, but as far as I can see, it’ll be the Warriors cutting down the nets in May.
In KIF baseball, Waimea put a stamp on the first round after taking down Kapa’a in a double dip on Saturday.
The youthful Menehune squad is as tough as they come.
Led by interim coach Kelly Robinson, Waimea seems to have what it takes to topple the Red Raiders, who are the three-time defending KIF champs.
So far, the Menehune are 2-1 against the boys in red, with a lot of baseball to play.
However, if you ask me, the Menehune are destined to win this season, with the likes of Isaac Castillo, Quinton Natividad, Brenden Hew, Mason Lorenzo, Kelly Batis, Brad Frasco, Broc Santiago, Reggie Vigilia, and Keith Nonaka leading the way.
Leadoff hitter Troy Yamase is still recovering from an injury earlier in the season and with his services expected to grace the Menehune lineup later this season, it’ll only enhance their chance to win it all for the first time in awhile.
After talking with Robinson after the game on Saturday, he mentioned that coach Nelly Mendonca is doing fine and still manages to check on how the team is doing.
“He still calls me and I know his listening to what we’ve been doing,” Robinson said.
Mendonca, who’s recovering from injuries from a car accident, that happened before the season started, is still keeping tabs on the Menehune.
“We’re a team and we just work hard every day and this team is very close,” Robinson said.
It’s been awhile since the Menehune took home the KIF trophy in baseball, but with one round in their control, the road to the top is just a few paces away. KIF sports goes through many cycles. Many of us remember the Menehune football dynasty, but today it’s the Red Raiders who have ruled the grid-iron.
Also, the days of Menehune glory in KIF girls volleyball seems to have passed, with both Kapa’a and Kaua’i catching up.
In boys basketball, the Warriors were once the team to beat, but both Kaua’i and Waimea have figured out the right formulas.
Youth sports programs around the island play a big part in the KIF scene.
The strength of any team relies on its farm system and if you look back on the successful programs from any sport, you’ll eventually find a good feeder program.
However, like anything, there will be changing of the guards in every sport.
It’s just that the dynasties that develop have good coaches attached to them.
- Duane Shimogawa Jr., sports editor, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 257) or email@example.com.