KIF close to closing the gap

Some things never change, some things always change. But to most, change is good.

When I was a prepster back in the late 90s, there was nothing any Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation school could do to slay the giants from the Interscholastic League of Honolulu and the O‘ahu Interscholastic Association.

The Punahous, Iolanis, Kamehamehas, St. Louis’, Mililanis, Kalaheos, Moanaluas, Aieas, and Kaimukis were seen as gods who wouldn’t falter or budge from any attack by a KIF team. However in some sports, the seal has been broken.

This season, the Kapa‘a boys volleyball team created the biggest fuss for a KIF team, by toppling the rest of the state for a division II crown.

Head coach Merrill “No Tears” Carvalho took his group of talented men to the dance and walked away with the glass slipper. But it doesn’t stop there.

The green gang of girls hoopsters was just a few points away from possibly making a similar state run to their boys volleyballers.

But when asked to do damage in the consolation bracket, Kapa‘a answered with the right words on its way to the seventh place win in the division II tourney. Certainly the creation of the division II tournaments have helped smaller schools gain some notoriety at the state level.

Gone are the days of a KIF school coming home without a win at states.

We’d have a better chance of seeing the green flash at Polihale. Kula’s boys squad also impressed me this season. It gets me thinking about the movie, “Hoosiers.”

Despite their small size, the Kula boys proved bigger things do come in small packages on their way to fifth in the state.

Individually, it was the Chelsea Smith-Wishard show this season. Only a junior, the Red Raider runner is built like a machine with a full tank of gas. Smith-Wishard ran away with a bronze medal at the state cross country meet and just a few weeks ago, the southsider earned a state title in the 1,500 meters. Teamwise, the girls in red also broke new ground with an impressive third place showing. With HBA’s Lauren Ho and HPA’s Lucy Pollard graduating, Smith-Wishard should be well on her way to coach Deb Engdahl’s prediction of being the golden girl during her senior campaign.

If Smith-Wishard is the queen this season, then Waimea’s Kenny Estes is the king. The highly decorated senior leaves Menehune land with many state accolades in soccer, football, and track. On the greens, it was Miki Ueoka’s year, who still has a chance to make it to the U.S. Women’s Open. The junior blitzed her way to a bronze medal finish at states. Led by fab freshman Skye Shimabukuro, Kaua‘i’s girls soccer squad nearly toppled top seed Kamehameha, who went on take the state title. However, two Kaua‘i girls were able to enjoy the win (Mari Punzal and Sanoe Souza).

In softball, Kaua‘i dazzled the field for fifth place at states, behind the guns of Wailana Borrero, who is just a freshman.

And finally, yet another freshman played beyond her years. Kapa‘a’s Lyndsey Tom terrorized opponents at states for fourth place. Next year, she’ll close the gap and she’ll be joined by many other KIF competitors.

• Duane Shimogawa Jr., sports editor, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 257) or kauaisports@kauaipubco.com.

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