Hawaiʻi All-Stars wins gold at All-Star World Cheer Championship
Hawaiʻi All-Stars, a competitive cheer program out of Kahului, Maui, captured gold in two divisions at the 2022 All-Star World Championship held on April 21-23 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.
The exclusive, All-Star Worlds competition featured some of the best teams from across the globe in Mini, Youth, Junior, and Senior divisions.
Attaining “two for two” on one of the biggest stages in the sport of all-star cheerleading makes this feat arguably the most significant achievement in the history of Hawaiʻi All-Star success, according to a team announcement.
HI-5, Hawaiʻi All-Stars’ senior open co-ed level five team, bested four other squads in its division to earn All-Star World champion standing. Krush, the gym’s junior level three team, outscored 90 competitors in its division to claim its gold banner. Both teams, led by gym owner and head coach Keali’i Molina and assistant coach Madison Murayama, had received paid bids to All-Star Worlds through a virtual competition held earlier in the season. The teams also snagged first place finishes last month at the Spirit Royale competition on Oʻahu, with Krush receiving overall grand champion honors for that event.
Team HI-5 includes athletes ranging from 13 to 21 years old and consists of members Shaely Anderson, Kaimana Copperfield, Kennedy (Stephanie) Duarte, Abraham Garcia-Beteran, Alexia-Lei Gonzalez, Jordan Howell, Brandi Kamalani, Sophia Lawton, Lacie Leon, Noelani Ligienza, Mia Magsayo, Hailey Nocelo, Natashya Peterson, Jarish Sagario, Teija Sniffen, Keisha Takamori, and Sophie Villarosa.
Team Krush includes athletes ranging from 10 to 16 years old and consists of members Miana-Lei Arenas, Hayden Baldwin, Alohilani Bantilan,Emi Burman, Kairi Castro, Taelah Foster, Shyla Freitas Yoro, Mya Kaufman, Sophia Lawton, Mia Magsayo, Shairah-Lei Manaois – Matteo, Mackenna Miles, Brilyn Neizman, Alana Nelson, Kailee Nocelo, Tatiana Rames, Jarish Sagario, Sophia Santos, Teija Sniffen, Alecxy Soberano, Tridel Stancil-Barino, Zaybree Claire Torricer-Filart, and Janalise Woodson.
The All-Star Worlds Championship was the gym’s final but toughest competition of the season. “Being from Hawaiʻi and traveling to these competitions in Florida is exhausting. The time changes are always a struggle, ” said Molina. The athletes arrived in Orlando on Wednesday, attended practice that evening, and headed right into preliminaries the next morning.
Jarish Sagario, a 4th-year member of Hawaiʻi All-Stars, is one of four team members who competed on both teams. “Being a crossover for J3 and HI-5 is the most stressful thing ever,” said Sagario. “You always have to give your 110% for both teams whenever we practice and perform. Being able to win for both teams for this competition made being a crossover so worth it.”
“Training and prepping is never easy,” said Molina. “ Like any other sport our athletes go through ups and downs. This season with Covid restrictions and the amount of absences (due to outside exposure) made it really hard to have normal practices. It was a difficult season on that aspect but the athletes persevered and we did our best to make it through.”
For HI-5 member Keisha Takamori, who has had five years as an athlete and three years as a coach in the program, All-Star Worlds marked the very last time she would take the mat.
“This achievement of winning All-Star Worlds with HI-5 means the world to me,” said Takamori. “It’s the feeling I hope that all of the kids in our program get to feel one day. It’s such an indescribable feeling knowing that all that hard work and everything that you’ve trained all year for just for these two minutes and thirty seconds have paid off. It’s a moment that I will cherish forever and I’m so grateful that I got to perform on that mat one last time. And I’m especially grateful for the Hawaiʻi All-Stars program and my coaches.”
“I feel complete relief,” said Molina, referring to the moment competition results are announced. “While waiting for the announcement of finalists it is very stressful and sometimes a little overwhelming. I worry maybe we didn’t do enough when I know we did. I am usually so unsure and worried I also didn’t do enough for my team. When the announcement is made there is a huge weight that lifts off my shoulders and the look on the athlete’s faces makes it all worth it.”
Molina expressed appreciation to the community and businesses in Maui who support the athletes. “Without a lot of our sponsors our travel, uniform, choreography, music, and competition fees would be too much for many of our athletes to deal with on their own.” Molina also acknowledged all the families of his gym who put their trust in him and his coaching staff. “Opening a gym on Maui has always been a dream and to be able to pull off this kind of success lets me know that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing,” he said.
The All-Star World champion program is preparing to pick it right back up again upon returning to Maui. On April 30th Hawaiʻi All-Stars will hold registration and team placements for the upcoming season. The program offers beginner to advanced training in cheerleading fundamentals and competitive cheerleading. Interested youth ages 5 and up can visit the gym’s website at www.hiallstarcheer.com for more information or call 808-269-1066.