Chargers Working For Fourth State Title

One of the byproducts of a team trying to win an unprecedented fourth straight state title is the self-induced pressure that becomes part of the arduous process.

Pearl City girls bowling team head coach Millie Gomes and her bowlers can relate.

Indeed, having been hailed as the favorite to win next week’s state bowling championships only moments after capturing last year’s title, the pressure has been on all year long for the Lady Chargers, who returned their entire lineup from 2013.

“There’s a lot of pressure on them,” said Gomes. “They’ve seen a lot of the other bowlers improving their game, and we know we have to up our game even more.

“I keep telling them about the target on their back.”

For their part, the Chargers have performed beautifully to this point of the 2014 season and were the favorite to win the OIA team title again at the conference finals late last week at Schofield Bowl.

“They’ve done great,” said Gomes. “They’ve really, really pulled together as a team. I’ve noticed that they’re closer than any other team we’ve had. They like to be together all of the time.”

Junior Chelsi Morishige is among the team leaders. She will be seeking a second straight individual title next week after tallying a total pin-fall of 1,747 to capture last November’s event.

She remained in stellar form through the off-season, even bowling a perfect game in a Leeward Junior Bowling Club match last spring.

“She’s been unbelievable,” Gomes said. “She’s really stepped up her game and is the backbone of our team.”

Fellow returnees Ashlyn-Rae Castro, Kylie Malilay, Kristin Frost and Sasha Calistro-Nomura round out what Gomes likes to refer to as “The Fab Five.”

“Ashlyn has been outstanding,” Gomes said. “She has brought her game every week. Kylie is another who has stepped it up. She’s a captain, and she helps motivate the team. Her game has really progressed.

“Kristen is our lead-off bowler — she’s pretty steady. Sasha is a very good teammate who always brings a positive attitude.”

The roster also includes freshmen Sydni Inafuku and Emalani Badua.

On the heels of last Thursday’s OIA Individual and Team finals, Pearl City has this week off from competition.

The Chargers will leave for Kona next week to take part in the state bowling championships, which happen Oct. 20-Nov. 1 at KBXtreme Lanes.

“For us, it (the state finals) will be all about focus, dedication and determination,” Gomes said.