Punahou’s Yau sets riflery
record and leads Buffanblu
to championship

By Jason Kaneshiro

The state air riflery championships moved indoors this year, and Punahou senior Vicci Yau moved into the state record books with her performance yesterday at the Dole Cannery Ballrooms.

Yau set a state record with her score of 557 at the Civilian Marksmanship Program/Hawaii High School Athletic Association championships as she led Punahou to its second straight team title.

"When I'm shooting I'm not supposed to concentrate on what my score is, but after I was done I was like, 'I think I did OK,' " Yau said.

The previous girls record was 534, set last year by Sacred Hearts' Shannon Li. The state boys record is 553, set by St. Louis' Kenneth Tong in the inaugural 1999 tournament.

Punahou's team score of 2,103 also set a meet record as the Buffanblu retained their state crown.

All four Punahou competitors finished in the top 12. Christen Kam, the only junior in Punahou's contingent, finished second with a 540, also good enough to best the previous record. Kara Tellio came in eighth (512) and Cheryl Kobayashi finished 12th (494).

The event was held at an indoor venue for the first time in its four-year history and helped contribute to the record scores.

"The conditions are nice," Punahou coach Karen Finley said. "We didn't have to worry about wind or glare from the sun. The lighting in here is a little bit dim, so that was a problem, the kids were having trouble staying focused. But the lack of wind and not having to worry about the rain and stuff like that made up for it."

Sacred Hearts' aggregate score of 2,063 would have been good enough to win the state title last year, but came up short next to Punahou's performance yesterday.

Li, the defending state champion, finished third in the individual standings with a 532. Her Lancer teammate, Deana Sin, came in fourth at 531.

"(Punahou) just shot a good score," Sacred Hearts coach Zig Look said. "We didn't shoot poorly. We shot OK, and OK is not good enough on a day like that."

Yau, who finished second to Li last year, set the pace in the event's first session. She scored a 194 shooting in the prone position, 176 standing and 187 kneeling.

Yau said the target turned a bit blurry as she peered through her protective glasses from 10 meters away. But she was able to overcome the lighting to record a personal best.

"It was a lot darker, I had to rest my eyes," she said. "But outside it's more windy and there might be more distractions like rain or bugs."

"She doesn't get flustered easily," Finley said. "Some kids almost try too hard, because they get so nervous. But she seems to handle everything on an even keel. That helps in shooting because you have to stay focused."

St. Louis will try to defend its state boys championship today at Dole Cannery. The Crusaders have won all three state titles since the event was established in 1999.

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