Sakaguchi Clan Plunges Into Lady Mustang Bowling Season

History has a way of repeating itself, and that can only be a good thing for the Kalaheo girls bowling team. Indeed, when the Mustangs opened their season last week, their goals were etched in stone.

“We’ve done some good things over the past couple of years,” head coach Harry Sakaguchi said. “We’ve been real fortunate to qualify as a team (for the OIA East’s post-season) each of those years. We have faith in this team. Even if we don’t qualify (as a team), we have some good bowlers who can qualify as individuals.”

The Mustangs will take part in eight OIA meets by the time of the league’s post-season. The OIA East (and West) champion is decided by total pin count compiled over the eight meets. Kalaheo must finish first or second in that span to be able to make the “team” competition once the post-season arrives. (Bowlers can then qualify — individually and as a team — for the state bowling championships at that time.)

Sakaguchi’s team includes seniors Marissa Walker, Pauline Gachalian, Jade Martins and Kawena Kahui, as well as his daughter, junior Kristi Sakaguchi, who was the lone Mustang to qualify for last November’s state bowling championships, after taking second in the OIA weeks earlier.

At the end of her fresh- man season, Sakaguchi underwent back surgery (because of scoliosis), and a long period of rehab followed. She returned to activity just prior to her sophomore season last fall. (Kristi is the younger sister of former Kalaheo standout Tammi Sakaguchi, who won the 2010 individual state title. Tammi is an assistant coach at Kalaheo today.)

“Kristi used to bowl year round, so it was amazing that she took second after being out the whole year,” the coach said. “She’s a hard worker. She went through a lot with her rehab. Not taking it too seriously and having fun (are her strengths), and she helps the other girls to have fun also.”

Walker and Gachalian also are poised to have solid senior seasons, he said. “Marissa started on our team last year and is bowling year round now. She’s improved drastically.

“Pauline transferred from Castle in 2012,” he added of Gachalian. “She was a pretty good bowler there, and she’s continued that with us. We’re lucky to have her. She’s a captain for us this year.”

Kahui has been in the program all four years, while Martins is a first- year bowler, although a senior.

“Kawena was very raw in the beginning, but she’s progressively gotten better each year,” Sakaguchi said.

“Jade played on the basketball team. She’s a good athlete who has learned quickly. She’s very coachable.”

Kalaheo returns to action on Thursday for an OIA East meet at 4:30 p.m. at K-Bay Lanes.