Chargers’ Bowling Team Brings Home Fifth Straight Title

The West was the best in boys high school bowling this fall, as shown in the final tabulation at the state championships at KBXtreme in Kailua-Kona.

No one was surprised when a veteran Pearl City team delivered its fifth straight state team title.

That Kapolei and Aiea finished second and fourth, respectively, helped solidify West Oahu’s reputation yet again for turning out championship-level bowlers.

“The West Side is the strongest,” longtime Pearl City girls head coach Jimmy Hayashi said.

The solid competition during their OIA West seasons also helped Pearl City, Kapolei and Aiea in the postseason.

Kapolei’s defeat of Pearl City in week seven would become a rallying point for the Chargers, according to Hayashi.

“It was difficult this year,” he said of the team’s state tournament run.

“When we played Kapolei in the regular season, they busted us up. The boys didn’t want to lose to them again (in the state finals), so they were pumped up.”

Pearl City outlasted its OIA West rival Hurricanes in the boys division by nearly 400 pins for the title. Hawaii Baptist Academy, coached by Hayashi’s brother Greg, finished third.

McKinley’s Bryce Takenaka won the Individual Championship with a nine-game total of 1,712 pins. As in past years, depth carried the Chargers across the finish line.

In addition to top 10 finishes by Bradley Nakamura (fourth, 1,624) and Kristopher Yadao (seventh, 1,607), the Chargers also got strong performances from Ryan Kajihiro (13th, 1,549), Keenan Kihara (14th, 1,542), Skyler Wakumoto (23rd, 1,460), Bryan Doi (44th, 1,399), Aaron Rafael (67th, 1,299) and Dennis Ching (93rd, 1,103).

“They bonded well at the end of the season, and that helped them get through the state tournament,” Hayashi said.

Seniors Kihara, Wakumoto, Doi and Rafael became the second class from Pearl City to win what Hayashi refers to as the “triple crown” (OIA West season title, OIA overall title, state championship) all four years of their eligibility.

“They lived up to the expectations,” Hayashi said. “Even winning three years in a row, which was the record before (Pearl City set a new one) is tough.”

In four-year seniors Kihara (222 season average) and Rafael (197), the Chargers have had the leadership they needed, according to Hayashi.

The Charger boys have now won 10 state titles overall.

The Lady Chargers also delivered big, defeating runner-up Hawaii Baptist by 150 pins for their fourth straight state title. Coached by Millie Gomes, they were paced by Chelsi Morishige, who tallied a nine-game total of 1,620 pins to finish second individually. (HBA’s Shelby Suzuki finished first with 1,696 total pins.) Morishige had won the Individual state title in 2013 as a freshman.

Ashlyn Castro (1,489) also made the top 10 from Pearl City, finishing seventh.

Like the boys team, depth figured big for the girls, with Kristin Frost (14th, 1,409) and Kylie Malilay-Madrona (1,393) also finishing in the top 25 for Pearl City. Sasha Nomura-Castro (74th, 1,133) also took part.

The Pearl City girls state title was its 11th overall.

Both Charger teams won their respective OIA bowling titles last month.