HIGH SCHOOL CHEERLEADING
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
After several national titles, Radford finally pulled through to take the medium-division state championship last night.
Warriors, Rams cheer up
One team relinquished its grasp of the state crown, and a dynasty continued its dominance.
Radford and Kamehameha captured the medium and large division titles yesterday in the Fifth Annual Zippy's Cheerleading State Championships at the Stan Sheriff Center.
It was Kamehameha's fourth straight title in the large division, which follows the Warriors' medium-division crown in 2002. Kamehameha totaled 354.5 points to outlast Mililani (342.5) in a duel that was as close as expected from the Oahu Interscholastic Association champions.
A tactical decision by coach Melissa Beimes may have proved crucial. The Warriors' second-year head coach gathered the team at 10 a.m. outside the arena -- 4 hours before the championships began -- and asked them to make an addition to the routine they had worked on for the past six months.
"It was an easy adjustment, but mentally, it was a challenge," Beimes said. "It's getting harder. Every year, the bar is getting higher."
Captain Alyssa Kong, one of Kamehameha's six all-state selections, knew the addition was necessary.
"We weren't hitting our point target, so we decided to step up our routine," she said. "We know Mililani is great, but tonight we just focused on our routine."
The stretch mount was added to Kamehameha's pyramid following the cheer.
"I was so excited when we did it. That's what we had to do," Kong said.
For Radford, the first cheerleading crown in state competition was a welcome addition after several national honors over the past few years.
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kamehameha won its fifth state championship with its large-division victory last night at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Radford won with a total of 337 points, a comfortable margin over runner-up Baldwin (324) and third place Moanalua (317.5). The Rams lost some close battles with Kamehameha in previous years and, due to a smaller squad, moved to the medium division starting last year.
Moanalua had won the three previous medium-division titles, including a close win over Radford last season.
"It finally happened," sixth-year Radford coach Bo Frank said. "I feel great. This is for all those kids who didn't get a championship."
Radford's young squad was led by sophomore captain Kanani Kekuawela, another all-state pick.
"There was no difference from what we did last year, pretty much. We did the same stuff," Kekuawela said.
The Rams benefited, in one way, from their youth.
"This is a young team, so there were no expectations. Every single competition, we had an injury on the day of, or the day before. All the changes and having to step up helped us," Frank said.
Radford's numbers are smaller, but the work remained challenging.
"We still doubled from all our stunts. We still did a kick-double basket toss," Frank said. "Our tumbling is a step down (from past years), but overall, they stepped up."
For Kamehameha, which began preparation last June with a camp, the dynasty just rolls on.
"Each year that we win is for our squad, but also for the squads before us," senior all-state flyer Kawena Vierra said. "It's really great to carry it on, to know where your squad comes from. You sacrifice free time and it's difficult to manage school with practice, but we all try to be well-balanced."
Hawaii State Cheer Coaches Association awards
Outstanding Athlete ($1,000 scholarship)
Alyssa Kong, Kamehameha
Chantel Coloma, Leilehua
Veteran Coach of Year
Joann Yap, Baldwin
Rookie Coach of the Year
Dawna Chai, Kamehameha-Hawaii
1. Kamehameha 354.5 ( Erika Castro, Heather Chong, Corinne Chun, Alise Garcia, Elisabeth-Ann Jones, Alyssa Kong, Jasmine Merseberg, Tamara Patton, Chanel Silva, Kendra Uson, Kawena Vierra, Keenyn Won)
2. Mililani 342.5
3. Lahainaluna 260
1. Radford 337 (Tayna Aquino, Sherrie Buis, Ashley Ann Carter, Brittany Cash, Kyra Ann Fong, Ephraim Gill, Kananionapua Kekuawela, Chenee Mathers, Brenda Moody, Charles Palalay, Keisha Pamaylaon, Cortney Williams)
2. Baldwin 324
3. Moanalua 317.5
Niki Fernandez, Baldwin; Mishon Kawaguchi, Mililani; Kanani Kekuawela, Radford; Alyssa Kong, Kamehameha; Kawena Vierra, Kamehameha.
Corinne Chun, Kamehameha; Annalise Miyashiro, Punahou; Lauryn Nakasone, Mililani; Tamara Patton, Kamehameha; Chelsea Villamor, Mililani; Keenyn Won, Kamehameha.
Elisabeth Jones, Kamehameha; Cheyanne Loughlin, Punahou; Julie Nagata, Moanalua; Jamie Tenorio, Mililani.
Erika Castro, Kamehameha; Bolivia Mendoza, Leilehua; Naomi Muronaka, Kamehameha-Hawaii; Zeyuna Tabernero, Baldwin.
Fergie-Lei Aguinaldo, Aiea; Brittany Cash, Radford; Heather Chong, Kamehameha; Keisha Pamaylaon, Radford; Renee Tani, Castle; Jennifer Wilson, Aiea.
Alise Garcia, Kamehameha; Ephraim Gill, Radford; Ashley Ohira, Punahou; Chanel Silva, Kamehameha.
Youna Choi, Punahou; Noe Hernandez, Radford; Shawna Matsunaga, Baldwin; Charles Palalay, Radford; Kendra Uson, Kamehameha; Lavancia Winn, Baldwin.