Girls Air Riflery hits target in winning state championship

Ruimin Lin, staff writer

The Moanalua girls air riflery team won their first state championship at the Civilian Marksmanship Program/Hawaii High School Athletic Association (HSSAA) air riflery competition Tuesday, capping a short but sweet season. It was a fitting end for the team, who also “three-peated” as Oahu Interscholastic Association (OIA) champions two weeks earlier. 

The Moanalua girl’s team scored a total of 2118 points, 37 points ahead of second-place finisher Mid-Pacific Institute (MPI). The boys finished 23 points behind MPI with 2034 for second in the state. 

Senior Olivia Akina was the state’s top female shooter, with a score of 632.1. Teammate and fellow senior Lexi Tokuda finished fourth with 625.8.  A perfect score is a 700.

“Winning first in the individual championships was so surreal because going into this season, I was not expecting to have it turn out the way it did,” Akina said. “It is such an amazing way to end the season, and I have all my teammates, coaches, family, and friends to thank for it.” 

“I am so proud of the girls team,” Girls Team Head Coach Barbara Lane said. “They began as freshmen and won three consecutive OIA championships. Winning states in their senior year is proof of their grit and focus.”

Air Riflery Team Head Coach Bruce Yonesaki agreed.

“It was a tough year with Covid and trying to get back to where they were [in 2019],” Yonesaki said. “The girls were finally able to do what I had hoped they would do when we started out with them four years ago,” he said. 

“When students commit to any kind of team effort, their opportunities multiply,” Lane added. “Teamwork building confidence and confidence creates success.”

The winning team consisted of senior girls Lexi Tokuda, Olivia Akina, Love Akina and Kendelle Hung-Ino. On the boys’ side, seniors Chris Guerra and Aiden Fong and juniors Landon Lau and Gabriel Taira made up the team.

In the separate ROTC event also held at the Blaisdell Center, Bronson Tafolo-Lin placed first, and junior Eden Baguio placed third.

The last air riflery season was canceled because of the pandemic, so to have this season, even with a later September start, was a joy. Two weeks ago, the Menehunes were able to edge their long-time rivals, Pearl City, in the OIA tournament. In that tournament, Tokuda, Hung-Ino, senior Ebonie Lo, and junior Rylee Galino made up the team. In addition, Tokuda was shot her way to the OIA Girls Individual Champion.

“I was really proud and also shocked,” Tokuda said. “I won my sophomore year as well so winning again was kind of exciting because I continue to hold the title of girl’s OIA champion.” 

Moanalua girls swept the podium with Tokuda taking first place again for her second championship in a row. The dynamic Akina duo took second and third respectively.