LAHAINA - With the success and development of the Lahaina Intermediate School wrestling program, there is little doubt that the championship tradition up the road at Lahainaluna High School will gain deeper traction in the years to come.
Head coach Nate Williams leads the middle school program at LIS assisted by a veteran staff made up of Kai Keahi, Mundy Gilcoat, Jesse Dudoit, Jason Hayase, Neal Nakata and Shane Cunanan. Also on staff are managers Liza Williams, Cindy Koyama and Sharon Nohara.
As seen with the unmatched success of Lady Luna basketball - as well as the boys team and football in recent years - that is in large part fortified by the intense attention paid to the middle school hoops program by the high school coaching staff, wrestling has followed suit to prepare the sixth- to eighth-graders for the intensity of the sport at the next level.
The Lahaina Intermediate School girls won the Maui Middle School Wrestling Championships, and the boys team came in third, on Jan. 27.
"We try to instill in the kids what it takes to be successful up at Lahainaluna," explained Coach Nate recently from the team's practice site in the LIS cafeteria. "We want to emphasize the effort needed to maintain the academic, citizenship and work ethic levels required up at the high school. Lunas' head coach Todd (Hayase) and coach Conrad (Bolor) come down to practice and reinforce this to the team. Two of our leading examples of the effort required are our captains Kanoa Lanoza and Fayannie Rosario. They are both three-year members of the team... are our team captains and setting a terrific example for our 37 team members."
The LIS team began the season with an outstanding effort at the Junior Officials Tournament in December at Leleihua High School on Oahu. They took first place at the prestigious event that kicks off the high school season as well.
More recently, the LIS girls battled their way to another gold medal effort, winning the Maui Middle School Wrestling Championships - their fifth consecutive title - while the boys, who were two-time defending champs, took third in the meet held at the Old Wailuku Gym on Jan. 27.
Now, the team looks forward to improving their program with a kalbi ribs plate fundraiser. The cost for the plate is $10, with proceeds going to purchase a new wrestling mat for the LIS team.
Tickets may be purchased from team members or at the LIS office. Pickup is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 10, at the school parking lot from 3 to 5 p.m. For more information, call Coach Nate at 281-8210.
The middle school wrestling program is supported by the Department of Education, and Coach Nate expressed his appreciation to the coaching staff, the LIS staff, Liz Bell and the Royal Lahaina Resort, and to Leilani's on the Beach and General Manager Jason Donez for their continuing support.