LIHUE — Coach Angel Legaspi of the Kapolei High School bowling team said the Hurricane always come early when the state tournament is held on Kauai.
The Hurricanes were joined by the Kauai Interscholastic Federation qualifiers to the Billy Tees Hawaii High School Athletic Association Bowling Tournament that will contest on Thursday and Friday at the Kauai Bowl.
“We always come early when the tournament is on Kauai,” Legaspi said, leading the Hurricanes to practice rounds Tuesday afternoon. “When the tournament was here two years ago, we came in Monday for the Thursday start.”
Among the Hurricane contingent, the Kapolei girls team qualified as a team, and on the boys’ side, Tylan Kim-Arrelano is the Oahu Interscholastic Association No. 1 boys bowler, and Jake Brett is the OIA No. 3.
“I don’t know what happened to the boys’ team,” said Kapolei coach Brandon Abe. “But Tylan and Jake are both looking at the individual title. Jake was the runner-up during last year’s tournament.”
The qualifiers from the KIF are also looking at lofty goals when the two-day tournament rolls.
“I want to finish in the Top 10,” said Dana Murata, KIF No. 1 girls bowler from Kapaa High School. “That is better than I did at last year’s tournament, and I have the home alley advantage — I know the oil patterns.”
Waimea High School coaches Keiko Sagawa-Pananganan and Todd Ozaki were working with the KIF qualifiers from Waimea that includes the girls team — Chloe Kamakea, Crystal Kamakea, Jaelynn Muna, Jillian May Ochua, Naomi Toki, Tokiand Alysha Palacio, and two boys qualifiers, Deiton Otoman and Kobe Perez-Aguilar.
“Coach Keiko and I are so proud of what these bowlers have accomplished, together,” Ozaki said. “Coach Keiko’s message to the girls is simple — Hit the head pin, and make your spares. Physically, our girls and boys are ready. Fine tuning is fine, but now is not the time for any major mechanical changes.”
Toki, the only senior on Waimea’s team, said she is somewhat nervous about the state tournament.
“This is my first time at states,” Toki said. “I’m pursuing collegiate bowling, and have gotten an offer from a college in Rochester, New York. I’ve already been admitted to Webber University in Florida. But there’s still a lot I need to think about and work with my coaches. We’ve been doing a lot of mental game preparation and I’m grateful to my team for doing this together. I would never be able to get here by myself.”
Kapaa boys team — Callum Meredith, Zylan Pa-Conant, Kaz Espina, Jotis Russell-Christian, and Kalani Young — are also KIF qualifiers.
“We’re pretty confident,” Meredith said. “As a team, we put in a lot of practice, and we just want to be sure we’re the best we can be.”
Taylor Kusaka, K Sommer Luis, and Kaikoa Carvalho, the KIF No. 1 boys bowler, are the qualifiers from Kauai High School.
“We’ve practiced on a lot of things — mostly timing and trying to keep the nerves down,” Luis said. “This is kind of exciting, but now, it’s down to just bowling, having fun, and hope that I do better than I did last year.”
Kaikoa Carvalho, earning the KIF No. 1 boys spot as a first-year bowler, said it’s his first time at states so he’ll try to enjoy the experience.
Joe Young, Kapaa bowling coach, said it best.
“We’re going to have fun,” he said. “This is our house.”
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.