LAHAINA - It may be our imagination - our West Side optimism - but along with the revved up run of the Lahainaluna High School football team through the regular season and into the state playoffs, the Luna cheerleaders along the Red Tide sideline have glittered with added sparkle of their own throughout the year.
Guided by sixth-year coach Stacy Shibao and assistant Nohea Ralar, the Luna cheer squad shined again by winning the runner-up spot at the 2012 Maui Interscholastic League Cheerleading Championships held Nov. 3 at Maui High.
Lahainaluna's nine-member team finished second to Kamehameha Schools Maui and ahead of Baldwin and Maui High, thus punching a ticket to the state competition on Nov. 17 in Honolulu at the Stan Sheriff Center.
The Lahainaluna High School cheerleaders came in second at the 2012 Maui Interscholastic League Cheerleading Championships on Nov. 3.
The Lahainaluna cheerleading team is led by junior co-captains Breea Yamat and Taylor Trout, and the competition roster is made up of Karen Galuardo, Sharmaine Gutierrez, Karley Keanini, Kiana Nakoa, Courtney Ruidas, Erica Sanchez and Kelsey Shultz.
"This is very exciting for us - going to the state championships for the first time since 2006," commented Coach Stacy last week.
"The competition included jumps, stunts, running tumbling, standing tumbling, dance and overall routine considerations, and we were helped tremendously by our dance coach, Emily Shaw."
Shibao added that the team had unified and grown with a reminder of the program's mission statement.
"We bonded through the inspiration of carrying on the pride and spirit of Lahainaluna. We tried to be on the same page with this mission statement in everything we did. This team has good energy a sharp togetherness that is bolstered by the community support we receive and feel," she said.
The Luna cheer program was also inspired by its effort to help teammate Elmarie Dagupion, who is battling an illness.
"We've dedicated the season to Elmarie, and we'll be doing fundraisers starting with the Youth Relay For Life and a hat drive for cancer patients later on this year," Shibao explained.
She saluted the Lahainaluna "family" and specifically the Shibao, Ralar, Elam and Ancog families for their support of the program.
"These folks are still around for us, even though they don't have kids on the team anymore. We send our thanks also to the band led by Myron Carlos and John Shigaki, to Athletic Director Scott Soldwisch, Student Activities Coordinator Art Fillazar and to the entire administration led by Principal Emily DeCosta. The positive energy from this community is really beautiful to see, and we send our thank you to everyone for this," she concluded.