Mililani A Dual Threat In High School Tennis Championships
Among those taking part in this weekend’s state tennis championships, perhaps no school will be as well-represented as Mililani in both the boys and girls divisions.
As the Trojans enter Thursday’s first-round action at the Orchid Mauna Lani and Mauna Lani, they boast depth as well as star-power, most notably in the form of two-time state champion Alyssa Tobita.
Third-year head coach Jason Agsalda recently took some time away from the practice court to visit with MidWeek‘s Central Oahu Islander on the eve of the state finals.
How would you assess Mililani’s season to date?
What has pleased you most with your current group? We are currently in the OIA Individual playoffs. What has pleased me the most is that the players have met the team goals that they set out so far this season, (winning) the Boys and Girls OIA team championships, to be exact. It was the first boys title in a few years here.” (The Trojan girls have won seven OIA titles in a row.)
What has enabled the girls program to remain a consistent winner for so many years? I give credit to the tremendous feeder programs we have, such as Mililani 10s Kids, Mililani Monsters and Mililani Acers. Through their programs, they have been able to provide the players with solid coaching and mentoring. I think also because of the tradition that the previous teams established, the current one understands each year what is at stake. I always remind them of that – to make sure they play up to their potential and keep up the tradition that has been set for them to follow.
Which of your players should we be watching for at the state tournament? For girls, we have Alyssa Tobita (two-time defending state champion in singles), as well as three doubles teams: Lauren Jyo and Dani Terukina (OIA West champions), Taryn Kimura and Joelle Arakaki, and Kaycee Oyama and Kristen Mock. For the boys, we have two at singles – Sage Leaman (OIA West champion) and Mikah Sato, as well as a pair of doubles teams, including Ryan Hirokane and Davin Lee (OIA West champions), Elisha Lin and Greg Watanabe.
What are the characteristics you look for in a student-athlete? Being a team player first and foremost as well as having integrity, good character and sportsmanship. Students also need to do well in school to able to participate in team activities.
Which match to date would you say was your team’s most impressive performance? Winning the team championships versus Kalani, but individually the OIA championship boys doubles match was probably the most impressive because it was our boys (Davin Lee and Ryan Hirokane) versus the defending champions and No. 1 seeds (Andrew Obatake and Zac Villarmia from Pearl City High).
Our boys lost the first set and then came back to win the second and decisive third set, a super-tiebreaker 14-12. It was very exciting and entertaining with both teams playing very well.
This is the first year that our duo has played together, and with them being ninth- and 10th-graders, respectively, made it even better, knowing that we’re going to have these kids for a few more years.
Who has been your best leader this season? For sure our leader has been Alyssa. Although soft-spoken in practice, she definitely leads by example. Everyone on the team looks up to her. She, as well as my captains Lauren Jyo, Danielle Terukina, Greg Watanabe and Elisha Lin, have really stepped up to lead the team!
What are your thoughts on your senior class overall? I am going to miss them a lot. They have been the backbone of the team this year, and they all have had their shining moments and have shown leadership qualities to guide the underclassmen.