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Trojan Tennis Teams Ready For OIA Individual Championships

The month of April always has been good to the Mililani High tennis programs. Nothing has changed in that regard, as the Trojan boys and girls teams recently swept Pearl City to capture their respective OIA team titles. With both Mililani teams set to take part in this weekend’s OIA individual championships, head coach Jason Agsalda recently took some time to visit with MidWeek‘s Central Oahu Islander.

When did you know you wanted to go into coaching? Once I decided to go into teaching physical education, I figured coaching would go hand in hand. Just helping kids and watching them get better through my guidance definitely made me want to coach.

How has coaching changed, if at all, since your high school days? There is an emphasis on year-round training. Because I went to a high school where tennis wasn’t a big sport, we didn’t play year round. We all played other sports and concentrated on tennis only during the season. Now, it’s pertinent to play and train throughout the year as well as play in and outside.

What are your thoughts on Mililani’s season to date? We are peaking at the right time. I have seen my players steadily improve throughout the season. Their performances during the OIA team championships were a good indication that my players are prime going into the individual playoffs and the state tournament. I’m pleased with how the team is gelling. We incorporated a strong freshman class this year, and the upperclassmen have meshed with their new teammates.

What has enabled the girls tennis program to win on a consistent basis? Honestly, I think it’s the programs that feed into the high school. Mililani 10S Kids and Mililani Monsters – just to name two – have done a good job in developing the kids’ fundamentals. By the time they come here, all we need to do is reinforce what they’ve learned and have them buy into the team concept, and representing the Mililani school community with pride and dignity that I try to instill in all the players.

Who among your players has made the biggest leap – improvement-wise – from last year? There are a few for sure, but some who come to mind are Kristen Mock, Kaycee Oyama, Alysse Nakasato, Mikah Sato and Davin Lee. These players have done a good job working hard in the off-season with their private coaches as well as playing in adult and junior tennis leagues to help improve their overall game.

Which match would you say was your team’s most impressive performance? The OIA team championship against Pearl City, because they are our biggest rival. We beat them only a week ago, but we knew the stakes were higher. The players just performed well, and everyone stepped up to defend our OIA title.

Which of your players should we be watching at the state tournament? The three-time defending state champion Alyssa Tobita going for her fourth is the one to watch because of her creativity, tenacity and talent. I believe everyone on our team is definitely worth watching, as they all are ready to go and do their best. For the boys singles team: Sage Leaman, Mikah Sato and Sean Balignasay; and the doubles teams: Jace Akagi-Okuma/Davin Lee, Ryan Hirokane/Elisha Lin, and Micah Andrade/Tobey Chang. As for the girls singles: Tayler dela Cruz and Jordan Nakanishi; and the doubles teams: Haley Fujimori/Alysse Nakasato, Kristen Mock/Kaycee Oyama, and Kaua Beamer/Erin Jyo. Everyone has the potential to help the team win the coveted state team championship.

Who have been your best leaders this season? Definitely my team captains, Tobita, Lee, Oyama, and Elisha Lin for sure because they not only lead by their voice, but also by their actions on and off the court.

They have been instrumental in organizing team get togethers to help create the chemistry that all good teams need to succeed.

What are your thoughts on your senior class? It consists of five girls and no boys. With that said, the boys will definitely be a team to contend with again next season. The girls, on the other hand, will graduate Tobita, our unquestionable leader, as well as Mock, Oyama, Steffanie Dubuque and Callie Toyama. The five girls are not only good tennis players but great people. Alyssa will go on to play for the University of Oregon on a full scholarship, while Kristen is looking to play at the next level. We wish all the girls the best. jackster.1969@yahoo.com

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