KS-Maui First MIL Team to Win State Cheer Title
By Rodney S. Yap
A mission impossible, became mission accomplished for the Kamehameha Schools Maui cheerleaders Saturday at the Blaisdell Arena on Oahu.
“I think there was this thing that because Oahu always won, that we could not beat the Oahu teams,” said Kamehameha Maui co-head coach Kealii Molina.
Prior to taking the floor for their winning performance in the 2013 Zippy’s Cheerleading Championships, Molina said he talked to the squad “about this being their time.”
“I reminded them that they had worked so hard and we had such a bad showing last year at state, because we had issues and the team just didn’t believe in themselves and didn’t think they could win.”
Kamehameha Schools Maui finished a disappointing fifth place last year as Waimea of Kauai defended its state title, ahead of runner-up Moanalua for the second straight year.
“They were ready to compete,” Molina said. “For two weeks after MIL they were just hitting every routine and they just couldn’t mess up.”
The Warriors were confident as ever and pulled off a near flawless routine.
“There was not one bobble, not one deduction, not one touch on tumbling,” said the coach. “Going in we had the highest point totals and I had seen everybody and I knew that if we hit it, nobody could beat us.”
The judges awarded KS-Maui 348.75 points. Pac-Five was second with 344.25 points and Moanalua third with 343.50. Punahou finished fourth (333.25), followed by Baldwin (329.50).
In all, 13 teams compete in the Middle Division, while five teams competed in the Large Division, won by Radford with 340.75 points.
“It was exciting. I thought winning states was not going to be as big a deal as nationals, but it kind of feels better, especially since it was on OC16 and everybody got to see it. It was different.”
No MIL team has ever won a state cheerleading title, although Baldwin finished second four times between 2004 and 2007 — twice in the Medium Division and twice in the Large Division.
Molina also coaches the Hawaii All-Star Cheerleaders who have won more than a half dozen national championships in mainland competition last year alone.
The Warriors varsity cheer team is co-coached by Ann Saffery. Team members include: Chaston Abut, Jocelyn Aipa, Moana Astronomo, Kalea Borling, Acacia Coloma-Mariano, Rachel Kaulupali, Halia Kekuewa, Hannah Patrick, Ashlee Sawai, Kayla Sniffen, and Jessica Walker.
The team had been preparing for the state competition since Sept. 1.
“Our whole theme this year was about basics. Without the basics, the simplest, easy tricks you learn in the beginning, none of the big stuff can happen.”
The Warriors’ score was the highest total ever in the Medium Division and the second highest score ever produced since 2007 when Kamehameha Kapalama scored 351.5 in the Large Division.