Extra prep has Mililani hoisting 2nd-straight title

Mililani's Jarin Kurashige helped the Trojans win a second consecutive state bowling title. Photo by Craig T. Kojima/Star-Advertiser.

The road from Meheula Parkway to a back-to-back boys bowling state championship took a much-needed detour to Hickam Bowling Center for the Mililani Trojans.

The men of Troy captured the crown today, capping a two-day rampage that concluded with a 100-plus pin margin over eventual runner-up Mid-Pacific. The Owls made a huge run on Friday to get within distance, but Mililani had already built up a massive lead on Thursday.

The Trojans made extra preparation for an alley they had never competed in this season. After bowling on their home turf at Schofield all fall, they made arrangements to bowl at Hickam on Monday. Then they came back on Wednesday with other participating state teams.

“Typically, Hickam (lanes) tend to be a little dry and slower. We just try to get them to stay out of trouble as much as possible. We told them from the beginning it’ll come down to sparing,” Trojans coach Corey Zukeran said. “When we practiced here, they could see the difference.”

The lanes were oiled, as usual, early in the morning on Thursday. Then they were oiled again after the boys completed their six games each, before the girls took over. On Friday, the lanes were oiled again the morning, but with fewer total games, there was no repeat process between the boys and girls games.

Akira Sanco of Mililani was the leader after six games on Thursday. He finished second overall with a 1,623 pin total

“He came in third in the OIA for high average,” Zukeran said of the left-hander. “He’s been steady.”

Jarin Kurashige (1593) was a force on Friday, right behind teammate Sanco in the individual race.

“He bowls two-handed. Without the thumb. That’s more common now. He goes for the revolutions,” said Zukeran, who was an assistant coach for seven years before becoming head coach the past four seasons.

Kurashige (1,593) finished eighth, Michael Well was 15th (1,531), Casey Nakagawa took 23rd (1,506) and Keanu Ishihara placed 64th (1,322).

It has been quite a run for Sanco and the Trojans. In 2017, they lost in the OIA tourney to Kapolei, but then rallied in the final game of the state event to win the title. The traction at Lihue Lanes that year was drier than the lanes at Hickam this week, Sanco said.

“On Monday, we got to learn how Hickam plays, how the oil and lanes work. Schofield is the best because you can practice on different kinds of oil patterns,” he said.

The OIA and HHSAA use different oil patterns, and nobody could really practice on the HHSAA’s oil patterns until Thursday.

“When tourneys come up, they all use hard patterns. Schofield’s pattern for OIA is different from K-Bay (Kaneohe MCAS). Schofield’s the best. It’s not too dry and not too oily,” Sanco said.

Between the two state titles, Sanco is enjoying the ’18 crown a bit more.

“We traveled more last year, but team-bonding wise, we had more this year,” he said.

Zukeran doesn’t plan on leaving anytime soon.

“My kids are young, so I’ll be around for a little while more,” he said.

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