Pearl City High Bowling Team Seeking Fifth State Title

The Pearl City boys bowling team’s success begins outside the alley, in head coach Jimmy Hayashi’s view. Indeed, the Chargers’ longtime leader isn’t one to underestimate the importance of the family atmosphere that prevails in the program.

“The morale is good,” said Hayashi. “They talk to each other all the time, they enjoy each other, and the parents are involved. They help me and the kids. After every meet, we have a family-type get-together, and that helps bring everyone closer to each other.”

Winning also has a way of uniting a team, and the Chargers are on the verge of making more history if they can stay the course over the next few weeks. As it is, they’ve won three straight state titles, three straight OIA titles and three successive regular-season crowns. They already clinched the OIA West crown for 2013 prior to last Thursday’s final league meet and will set their sights on a fourth straight OIA championship this Thursday at the finals at K-Bay Lanes on Kaneohe Marine base.

The state bowling championships are set for Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 at Hickam Bowling Center. No Hawaii team ever has won four straight state bowling titles. Since the Chargers also won in 2008, they are seeking their fifth state crown in six years.

“Since we’ve won the Triple Crown (OIA season, OIA finals, state title) the last three years, this year is for the grand slam,” Hayashi said. “Some of these kids have been with me for three or four years already. These are very disciplined kids. When we work on something, they do what we ask.”

The current team is a talented mix of upper and underclassmen. Its nine qualifiers for the OIA Finals already are a program record, eclipsing the previous record of eight. Seniors Nicholas Azumi, Ken Hayase-Fong and Blaise Morishige lead the way for 2013.

Azumi and Hayase-Fong, both team captains, averaged 216 during the season, with Morishige close behind at 198. “Nicholas bowls in a lot of tournaments, so he really knows pressure situations. Ken is a very disciplined kid. When we tell him something, he’ll give 110 percent to do what we ask. Blaise has worked hard on his game in the two years he’s been with us. He’s one of the most improved bowlers on the team.”

Hayashi also has high hopes this post-season for juniors Keenan Kihara (216 average), Aaron Rafael (202) and Skyler Wakumoto (201). Sophomore Ryan Kajihiro (215) and freshmen Bradley Nakamura (212) and Kristopher Yadao (191) are future leaders, poised to keep up the winning tradition.

On the heels of their season finale, Hayashi and the Chargers were to practice last Friday and Sunday at K-Bay Lanes to help prepare for this week’s OIA finals.

“We’re going to see how the oil breaks down on the lanes,” he said. “When they practice, we’ll see what the right balls are for the competition.”