LAHAINA - Another banner year for Lahainaluna High School athletics comes to a close with six Maui Interscholastic League championship bars to be added to the "L" high above the historic campus on the westward-facing crest of Mount Ball or Pa'u Pa'u.
The 2013-14 school year kicked off with a bang, as the Luna football team once again dominated the MIL - with two big wins over arch-rival Baldwin - and rode on top of the state Division II rankings for the entire season.
The Red Tide surged into the playoffs undefeated with the top seed but fell to the Kaiser Cougars of the Oahu Interscholastic League in the semi-finals to end their season.
The boys cross country team also highlighted the fall semester at Lahainaluna, capturing the first MIL championship since 1991.
The Lady Luna basketball program continued its unprecedented run with a tenth straight MIL title - which includes a 91-game regular season winning streak - as well as another brilliant run in the state playoffs, which ended with a heartbreaking defeat versus Interscholastic League of Honolulu powerhouse Punahou at the Neal Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu on statewide television.
Luna wrestling continues to dominate as well, as the girls and boys teams captured their fifth and ninth consecutive MIL titles, respectively, and advanced to top five finishes at the state meet.
The boys came within two matches to an elusive state title, while the Lady Lunas settled for fifth place.
The spring semester featured the return to the top for the wahine water polo team, as the Lahainaluna team gunned down reigning champ Baldwin to bring back the MIL title that they owned but had lost over the last two seasons.
And in the water again, the girls surfing team won a historic MIL championship, ripping their way through three meets held at Lahaina Harbor, D.T. Fleming Beach and Hookipa in the first officially sanctioned interscholastic surf season in the United States.
With the boys golf team taking the silver medal and the girls finishing third, as well as the young Lady Luna softball team giving MIL champ Baldwin all they could handle, Hawaii High School Athletic Association officials were literally seeing (Lahainaluna) red at post-season championship tournament events throughout the school year.
"It's been a great year for us, and I think the six MIL championships are second only to the 2010-2011 year when Lahainaluna won seven," said Athletic Director Scott Soldwisch.
"I really owe a lot of appreciation to the coaches for doing a great job - not only on those championship teams but all of them. There were a lot of young kids on all of the teams, and they all did well.
"I send special thanks out to Athletic Trainer Jon Conrad, who continued to grow in the assistant AD position, and also took up the slack as his assistant in the training room, Mikala Pino, was out for part of the year. We are sorry to announce that Mikala will be leaving Lahainaluna after six years here, as she will go back to school. We also bid farewell to boys basketball coach John Dudley, who is retiring after five seasons." (The search for his replacement is underway, with interviews for the position taking place this week.)
"We welcomed new coaches Jeremy Delos Reyes (girls soccer), Dan Schultz (boys volleyball), Andy Claydon (track and field), Genevieve Ruvold (track and field), and Luke Adolfson (surfing)," Soldwisch continued.
"Thanks also to the game day staff of Lindsay Elam, Christy Mae Ruidas and Riley Ito, who always had things running smoothly at our home events. I really appreciate their effort. And, congratulations to all of the graduating student athletes," concluded Soldwisch.