Motivated Chargers Prepare For OIA Bowling Championships

History has a way of repeating itself, and it’s no different when it comes to the Pearl City boys bowling team.

Last fall, the Pearl City Chargers became the first program ever to win a fourth straight boys high school state bowling title in Hawaii.

Eleven months later, Pearl City has the look of a team ready to add to its legacy, beginning with Thursday’s OIA individual and team boys bowling championships.

The event begins at 2:30 p.m. at Schofield Bowling Center.

“They’ve been there already, and they can handle the pressure situations,” said head coach Jimmy Hayashi, whose team is seeking a fifth straight OIA title. “They’ve stayed motivated because the seniors want to win a fourth title in a row as our two seniors from last year’s team did.”

Hayashi was referring to Nicholas Azumi and Ken Hayase-Fong, who finished first and second, individually, at last November’s state tournament.

Both standout bowlers left Pearl City with large shoes to fill, but the Chargers have seen little drop-off in results this fall.

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

“Keenan has a good attitude, and he’s good-natured,” Hayashi said. “He brings up the team’s morale, and they all have fun at practice.

“Aaron is on the quiet side — he minds his own business — and gets the job done.”

Hayashi also has high hopes this weekend for Ryan Kajihiro (222), Kristopher Yadao (230), Skyler Wakumoto (207), Bryan Doi (182) and Bradley Nakamura (207).

All are projected to qualify for the state tournament.

“They’ve been (performing) a little above where they’re supposed to be and shooting above their average,” said Hayashi. “They’ve been doing well.

“Kapolei is also a team to watch. They’re very good.”

As was the case last year, team unity has remained a strength.

“They’ve just gelled together — team morale is strong,” he said. “They’re so close to each other, they’re almost like family.”

Following Thursday’s OIA finals, Pearl City will have some extra time to prepare for the Oct. 30-Nov. 1 state bowling championships in Kona.