LAHAINA - The profound influence of legendary Lahaina youth tennis mentor Shigesh Wakida lives on, as the players and head coach of the Lahainaluna High School boys and girls tennis teams shine on in the 2013 season.
Luna coach Macario Pascual grew up in the Wakida program at the courts now named the Shigeto "Shigesh" Wakida Courts in honor of the late leader of the Lahaina Tennis Club and Lahainaluna coach.
An accomplished artist, tennis player and coach, Pascual and his coaching staff of Cathy Mortimore, Edwin Pascual, Alton Degama and McNiel Magdaong guided a young Lady Luna team to an undefeated (8-0) Maui Interscholastic League West Division title run that will send five girls to the state championships May 2-4 at the Waikoloa Tennis Club on the Big Island.
The Lahainaluna High School girls tennis team won the Maui Interscholastic League West Division title, and the boys team finished third. PHOTO BY GLEN PASCUAL.
Meanwhile, the Lahainaluna boys team struggled with injuries and academic problems that depleted their roster. They settled for third place in the team standings and will send three student athletes to the state tournament.
The girls team was led by co-captains Melissa Taketa, a senior, and junior Charvie Duque, as well as sophomores Chantel Baclay and Nicole Aceret, freshman sensation Joanna Aceret and senior Ezra Baccar. Rounding out the roster were seniors Lakiesha Ching and Aja Toscano, junior Maile Amine and freshman Amanda Mortimore.
Doubles teams Taketa/Baclay and Nicole Aceret/Baccar, and singles competitor Joana Aceret, the MIL runner-up, will all go to the state tournament in May.
The Luna boys leaned on co-captains Jordan Baclay, a senior, and sophomore Max Linder for leadership this season. They were backed up by junior Kile Richard, senior Jake "Genki" Francis and freshmen Jarret Pascual and Austin Arakawa.
Baclay will go to the state singles competition, while Linder and Pascual will represent Lahainaluna in the doubles bracket.
Coach Mac described the Luna teams as young and talented but not deep.
"In two or three years, we should be challenging for the titles. Our top five are strong, and they should make each other better. We also get a lot of help from volunteers - like Deborah Derenzo and Paval - that come out and hit with the kids. All this, along with the patience and guidance of Athletic Director Scott Soldwisch, is really a big help to the program. They've all been terrific," he said.