State Tennis Champs Head to National Competition

September 7, 2016, 12:48 PM HST · Updated September 10, 11:46 AM
Debra Lordan · 0 Comments
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USTA state champs, the Maui Magic team based in Wailuku. Courtesy photo.

USTA state champs, the Maui Magic team based in Wailuku: (L–R, front) Clarita Balala, Marisa Fujimoto, Kim Kong, Jane Sakakihara, Ana Bland, JoAnn Quintos, (back) Janie King, Susan Miller, Lei O’Brien, Karen Engert, Panna Cappelli, Mercedes Bates and Dr. Diane Nagasaka, Courtesy photo.

The term “state champs” may bring to mind visions of teenage high school athletes, but a different breed of smart sportsters has proved to be as tough, tenacious and competitive as any high school team.

Outstanding in “a league of their own,” the 3.5-level Maui Magic 18-and-over women’s US Tennis Association team crushed the statewide competition at the end of August and is soon heading to the national competition in Mobile, Alabama.

Maui Magic claimed the Hawaii-Pacific USTA sectional playoffs championship title at O‘ahu’s Patsy Mink Regional Center on Aug. 19, 20 and 21. Wailuku’s Wells Park veterans dispatched a total of four O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island teams to wrap up a perfect 10-win season.

Although there are players on this team as young as 32, their ages range to 72—and at least six of the members are over 60.

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The team is led by 2012 Hawai‘i Tennis Hall of Fame recipient, the unflappable player-captain Jane Sakakihara; the 2016 Maui Magic squad is Sakakihara’s fourth Magic team to vie for a national title (2005, 2006, 2010).

“Several of our team members have played tennis for almost 50 years,” Sakakihara said. “Tennis keeps us going—keeps us young and healthy. Our goal is always to win.”

These “magicians” are public court players. Some team members are retired, but most work full-time and have families, yet they find time to play serious tennis three to five times weekly.

“We are going to Alabama with our racquets on our knees,” Sakakihara said. “We’ll have a good time and we’re intent on winning.”

To help with expenses for team travel to faraway Alabama on Oct. 7 through 9, the team has organized several fundraisers to try to raise $15,000:

  • A GoFundMe site has been created for easy donating.
  • The Maui Magic Garage Sale will be held Saturday, Sept. 10 , from 6 to 11 a.m. at 535 Hina St. in Kahului.
  • The Maui Magic Round Robin Tennis Tournament and Silent Auction will be held on Sunday, Sept. 18, at 9 a.m. at Wells Park Tennis Courts in Wailuku.

Contact Captain Sakakihara at 264-2862 or [email protected] to donate to the yard sale or silent auction, or to sign up for the round robin.

Come out and help an amazing group of competitors—fun guaranteed.

Maui Magic Team Members

  • Jane Sakakihara (captain)
  • Clarita Balala
  • Mercedes Bates
  • Ana Bland
  • Panna Capelli
  • Lei O’Brien
  • Karin Engert
  • Marisa Fujimoto
  • Marcella Holokai
  • Carol Lam
  • Janie King
  • Kimberly Kong
  • Diane Nagasaka
  • Susan Miller
  • Joanne Quintos
  • Kristin Walker
Debra Lordan
Debra Lordan has been a writer and website editor for Maui Now since December 2014.

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