Star-Bulletin Sports


Iolani beat Kalaheo for the state basketball championship, one of 20 state titles won by ILHschools this year.

State of ILH
proved strong

The private-school league won 20
of the 30 high school championships

The champs

By Jason Kaneshiro

In a year in which the Interscholastic League of Honolulu lost its leader of the past three decades, Oahu's private schools did Clay Benham proud.

Benham served as ILH executive secretary for 32 years before he died on April 29. And perhaps in a final tribute, ILH teams claimed 20 of the 30 state championships sponsored by the Hawaii High School Athletic Association this school year. Seven were won by Benham's alma mater, Kamehameha.

"Clay's the type of person who looked above and beyond the wins," Kamehameha athletic director Blane Gaison said. "If there's anything I've learned from him it's that athletics is a tool for kids to grow and develop and we need to strive to give them the opportunities to participate. That was the focus Clay and the entire league had."

The Warriors won boys championships in cross country, volleyball and golf. The girls program captured the state softball, paddling and basketball titles. Kamehameha also won a state championship in cheerleading and finished second in five other state tournaments.

"Did we expect it? No way. But I guess we're doing something right," Gaison said. "Our league is so competitive -- week in and week out competition is at its highest. So that carries over when we get into state tournaments. ... It's a tremendous tribute to our kids and our coaches."

The Oahu Interscholastic Association claimed seven state titles, highlighted by Kahuku's victory over St. Louis in November to win its second consecutive football championship.

The Red Raiders defeated the Crusaders 21-14 to spoil Cal Lee's farewell as St. Louis head coach. The loss capped Lee's 21-year career at St. Louis as he walked away as the state's most successful football coach.

Kahuku coach Siuaki Livai led the Red Raiders to their second straight state football championship in November.

Both schools were in the spotlight again in February, when the HHSAA announced plans for a historic football doubleheader featuring two of the nation's top programs.

California powers De La Salle (Concord) and Poly (Long Beach) will face St. Louis and Kahuku on Sept. 21 at Aloha Stadium in an event that could draw national attention.

"The excitement is building every day," HHSAA executive director Keith Amemiya said. "We've received a lot of interest from potential corporate sponsors and fans throughout the state and the mainland who are interested in attending the games."

On the neighbor islands, Waiakea accounted for both of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation's state championships, winning in girls golf and swimming. Lahainaluna captured a paddling title for the Maui Interscholastic League.

Among the other highlights of the high school sports year:

>> Iolani's girls program enjoyed a breakout year.

Kanoe Kamana'o led the volleyball team's charge to its first ILH and state championships. The track and field team also took top honors as Lauran Dignam sprinted to victories in five events at both the ILH and state meets.

The Raiders ran away with the girls cross country title and the tennis team won the state crown for the fifth straight year. The basketball team made a late run to advance to the state's final four.

>> Punahou's grip on the state swimming and diving crowns was broken as the Buffanblu failed to win a team title for only the third time in the 45-year history of the championships.

Iolani captured the boys championship and Waiakea won the school's first girls swimming title.

>> Punahou did maintain its boys tennis dynasty, winning its 12th straight state title. In the OIA, Kalaheo and Mililani continued their domination of girls basketball and girls tennis.

>> Waimea won its 10th consecutive Kauai Interscholastic Federation football title and advanced to the state semifinals, where the Menehunes lost to eventual champ Kahuku.

>> Two state championships were added to the winter sports calendar as paddling and cheerleading made their debuts as HHSAA events.

>> Mililani proved to be the state's soccer capital as the Trojans swept the boys and girls championships. Pearl City claimed both the boys and girls bowling titles.

The year was also marked by remarkable individual achievements:

>> After leading Kahuku to the state football title, defensive lineman Jonathan Mapu was named to the Parade All-America team and signed with the University of Tennessee, making him the first Hawaii player to commit to the Southeastern Conference power.

>> Kamehameha pitcher Leo Sing Chow ended her softball career by earning the win against Kailua in the state championship game and hitting a home run in her final high school at-bat.

>> Iolani sophomore Derrick Low scored 33 points on 11-of-16 shooting to lead the Raiders to a 58-57 win over Kalaheo in the state final.

>> St. Louis junior Jonathan Spiker won his third state wrestling title, to help the Crusaders repeat as team champions.

>> Kamehameha defensive lineman Brandon Ala earned a football scholarship to Washington and shattered the ILH record in the discus with a throw of 196 feet, 11 inches.

>> Punahou's Todd Iacovelli solidified his place as the state's premier distance runner with a cross country championship and two titles in track and field.

>> Jarett Hamamoto of Waiakea shot an opening-round 66 and became only the fourth player to win back-to-back individual state championships in boys golf.


2001-02 State Champions

Air Riflery
Boys -- St. Louis; Girls -- Punahou


Boys -- Iolani; Girls -- Kamehameha

Boys -- Pearl City; Girls -- Pearl City

Medium -- Kamehameha; Large -- Aiea

Cross Country
Boys -- Kamehameha; Girls -- Iolani


Boys -- Kamehameha; Girls -- Waiakea

Boys -- Punahou; Girls -- Kamehameha; Mixed -- Lahainaluna

Boys -- Mililani; Girls -- Mililani


Swimming and Diving
Boys -- Iolani; Girls -- Waiakea

Boys -- Punahou; Girls -- Iolani

Track and Field
Boys -- Punahou; Girls -- Iolani

Boys -- Kamehameha; Girls -- Iolani

Boys -- St. Louis; Girls -- Kahuku

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