Pearl City Bowlers Make History With Fourth State Title

The pursuit of an unprecedented fourth straight state bowling championship is not without self-induced pressure.

But the Pearl City boys bowling team deflected any such pressure with its workmanlike mindset. At every practice, the Chargers had the work ethic of a team trying to find its way rather than one attempting to make history.

“They never stopped (working) and kept their minds intact the whole season,” head coach James Hayashi said. “It was a pretty experienced group, and they knew how to handle the situation.”

Just as they planned, the 2013 Chargers delivered another title, amassing a pin fall total of 2,901 to outlast second-place Hawaii Baptist Academy (2,686) in the finals of the Billy Tees State Bowling Championships at the Hickam Bowling Center.

“They really wanted this tournament,” Hayashi added.

Along the way, the team produced the individual state champion, Nicholas Azumi (1,905), and the tournament runner-up, Ken Hayase-Fong (1,858). (Azumi also took first in the OIA, while Hayase-Fong took second in the league.)

“They both bowled well – the whole team performed how we expected,” Hayashi said. “Nick handled it really well. He was calm and relaxed.”

Pearl City placed two others in the top 10, as Keenan Kihara (1,685) and Kristopher Yadao (1,672) finished seventh and eighth, respectively.

Ryan Kajihiro (1,641) also had a stellar outing, finishing 13th overall.

Teammate Imi Nakamura was right on his heels with a final output of 1,626, giving Pearl City six bowlers among the top 20 finishers. (Skyler Wakumoto also took part for Pearl City as a temporary substitute.)

The Chargers delivered big in the girls division as well, led by sophomore Chelsi Morishige, whose total pin-fall of 1,747 allowed her to capture the individual state title. Morishige had taken second at the OIA finals earlier in October, but rebounded big at the state finals.

“She’s a power horse,” said Pearl City girls coach Millie Gomes. “She didn’t let anything bother her. She made the adjustments and knew how to play the lanes.”

The girls tallied 2,658 to win the tournament, giving them a third straight state title. The Lady Chargers’ accomplishment was made even more special in that they had only five bowlers on the team.

“I’m really proud of them,” said Gomes. “They really held it together. They knew they had to perform all year and that they couldn’t get sick. They supported each other, and they all had each other’s backs. They’re our ‘Fab Five.'”

In addition to Morishige, Pearl City also was paced by big tournaments from Kylie Malilay (sixth place; 1,576), Ashlyn-Rae Castro (11th place; 1,559), Kristin Frost (14th; 1,535) and Sasha Calistro-Nomura (41st; 1,373).

The girls’ team returns its entire team for a chance to pursue a fourth straight state title next year.