Miano’s Repeat For Cougars
Kaiser High capped off a riveting 2013 football season Nov. 23 by defeating Kauai High 17-7 at Aloha Stadium to win its first Division II state football championship. The championship marked Kaiser’s first major title since the 1979 Oahu Prep Bowl when current Cougar coach Rich Miano was an All-State defensive back at the school.
The Cougars (13-1) also established themselves as the winningest Kaiser team, surpassing the ’79 squad that had gone 11-2. Kaiser also became the first OIA team to win the D2 state crown since Campbell in 2004. This season was even more special, because their 2012 season ended in heartbreak. They were edged by Nanakuli 28-21 in the semifinals of the OIA White playoffs – after leading 21-0 at the half.
Kaiser’s football season was one of the top 2013 sports stories on the East side. A glance at some of the other memorable sports moments for area prep teams follows.
Kalani boys soccer team wins state title, endures tragedy
The Kalani boys soccer team made history Feb. 9 at Waipio Peninsula soccer stadium by delivering the school its first-ever state championship, battling twice from one-goal deficits to upend Punahou by a 3-2 count.
Leo Klink, who was later named OIA East Player of the Year, had scored twice in the game, including the game-winner for Kalani, but his efforts were bittersweet. Klink and the Falcons closed out their title run with heavy hearts after his mother, Hiroyo, was taken by ambulance from the game with a brain hemorrhage. She died three days later.
Chaminade makes NCAA tourney appearance
The Chaminade men’s basketball team earned a berth to the NCAA West Regional in March, after a stellar 14-4 season finish in PacWest play. The ‘Swords, who were to finish 19-11 overall under head coach Eric Bovaird, faced a tough task at the regionals in Bellingham, Wa. They drew No. 1 seed Western Washington, which was defending NCAA Division II national champion and entered the game with a 27-2 record. The Vikings eventually outlasted the ‘Swords 102-87 to end Chaminade’s season. The ‘Swords’ 2012-13 season was highlighted by an 86-73 upset win over Big Twelve Conference team Texas at the EA Sports Maui Invitational (before a national TV audience) in late November.
Kalani has stellar football season; Brum named East Offensive Player of the Year
Kalani continued its upward mobility on the gridiron under head coach Greg Taguchi, going 6-2 in the OIA White this past fall for its best season in decades.
Among the catalysts was quarterback Noah Brum, who helped lead an offense that averaged 39 points per game. He was later named 2013 OIA White Offensive Player of the Year. Brum threw for 2,797 yards and 38 touchdowns, while being intercepted just nine times. Teammates Trevor Yamashita, Shane Ra, Brandon Roberts, Jonah Magnenat, Ezekiel Taylor and Preston Dudoit all earned either First or Second Team All-League honors.
Kaimuki and Kaiser girls make state basketball tourney appearances
Both the Kaimuki and Kaiser girls basketball teams enjoyed solid seasons once again, finishing third and fifth, respectively, at the OIA Red Conference post-season tournament in February. Those performances earned both of them trips to the Division I state tournament a week later. Kaimuki finished its season 10-8 overall. The Bulldogs’ Princess Lauvao was named OIA East Player of the Year, and the team ended its season at 12-7.
Chaminade women’s soccer team breaks losing streak
On Halloween, the Chaminade women’s soccer team defeated Holy Names 1-0 in a PacWest match at Saint Louis Field to end a 43-match winless streak. The ‘Swords had been 0-42-1 during that stretch. They also had gone 0-35-1 in PacWest matches in that span.
Kristy Iwahashi provided the game-winner in the 32nd minute, while goalkeeper Lauren Ishii made six saves, earning her first career win in net. The win was also the first for Chaminade head coach Michelle Richardson, who had taken over in the off-season after a successful stint as Kalani girls head coach.
“We’ve been building on this all season, and the girls have worked hard,” Richardson said.
“Weeks and weeks of effort have finally paid off. We’re pleased that our seniors, with whom the program is built on, have experienced this win at the end of their senior season.”
Kaiser’s Okazaki named OIA East Player of the Year
Kaiser’s Courtney Okazaki was named the OIA East’s Player of the Year for girls soccer in a vote of league coaches in February after leading the Cougars to a 13-2-1 mark. Veteran head coach Adolph Samuels also was voted Coach of the Year in the East for his efforts. The Cougars also had Noelle Mercado, Callie Akazawa, Jaylin Swartz and Corina Edgington earn either First or Second Team All-League honors.
Kaimuki, Kaiser enjoy solid softball seasons
The Kaiser girls softball team enjoyed a 13-game winning streak in OIA play before being finally defeated by Nanakuli in the White title game April 20. Kaiser went on to compete in Division II state softball championships, eventually winning the consolation title to finish 15-2 overall for the season. The Kaimuki team also produced one of the school’s best seasons ever, finishing 9-2 in the OIA Red.
Bulldog team member Ehlen Awaya was later named co-Player of the Year in the Red East (along with Chrissi Omalza of Moanalua).