KAPAA — Girls volleyball is done and basketball hasn’t started yet. Yet passing motorists gathered and wondered what was going on at the Bernice Hundley gym in Kapaa on Thursday night at the Kapaa High School campus.
“This is a lot more people than if we had it on a Saturday morning,” said Keli‘i Morgado, the Kauai High School athletic director. “I’m here to observe since I have to host this next year. It’s exciting to see this much people turn out for the Kauai Interscholastic Federation cheer competition.”
Jack Leonard, owner and gym instructor at the Kauai Gymnastics Academy, was among the audience that nearly filled the Bernice Hundley Gym.
“We have three enthusiastic and energetic coaches,” Leonard said. “With this kind of spirit and energy, the competition and performances always has to come out strong.”
Kauai High School cheer squad, pared down for the competition and under the coaching of Carrie Naka‘ahiki-Young, earned the KIF title after edging past Waimea and Kapaa high schools.
The Red Raider squad finished with 470.25 points. Waimea finished with 454.75 points and Kapaa ended the night with 346.75 points.
“I guess the hard work paid off,” Naka‘ahiki-Young said. “After watching Waimea come out strong, I figured it’s going to come down to whoever executes — correctly.”
Naka‘ahiki-Young said she was proud of the Kauai cheer members.
“They struggled this year,” the coach said. “It was not about their ability, but in their own self-confidence. This should help them build their confidence. Who are we? R-E-D! They have Resilience, Endurance, and Determination.”
Members of the KIF winning competition team include Captain Drewan Pigao, Captain Keana Lovell-Obatake, Kahiau Kaimina‘au, Torrie Hasegawa, Kaytlen Caires Akau, Halle Sakai, Seidree Kealoha-Albarado and Jaykob Naka‘ahiki Young.
In addition to the cheer competition, because there is only one meeting for the cheer program, Kauai and Kapaa high schools honored their graduating seniors. Waimea has no seniors on its roster.
Coaches from the three public high schools voted on the KIF all-stars which included five members each from Kapaa and Waimea High Schools and four from Kauai High School.
Jake-Rhon Peralta, Jayn Balajadia, Marvin Jake DePeralta, Daen-Jade Macugay and Sharon Najera represented Kapaa on the all-star roster.
Zyana Vea, Shayne Simbe-Medeiros, Kaitlin Sandal, Kalsie Camelo and Jacelyn Palacio-Ragragola represent the Waimea squad. Torrie Hasegawa, Drewn Pigao, Kahiau Kaimina‘auao and Seidree Kealoha-Albarado are from the Kauai High School team.
“Watch out for Kapaa,” Naka‘ahiki-Young said. “Rosie Jervis, the Kapaa coach, did an awesome job with her squad. I coached her when she was in Pop Warner, and I told her, ‘One day, you’re going to beat me.’ I’m waiting for that to happen.”
With the KIF title, Kauai High School will represent the KIF at the Zippy’s Hawaii High School Athletic Association Cheerleading 2016 championships, which will scheduled for Nov. 18 at the Blaisdell Arena on Oahu.