Some people in the crowd Saturday had that look of hope when the emcee called out the presence of Emmitt Smith, Gov. David Ige, Betty Crocker and former Gov. Ben Cayetano.
It was a joke to break that dull period between the end of bold athletic performances and the announcement of the final scores at the Blaisdell Arena.
And when the scores trickled in, two teams with high hopes to win the competition got what they were looking for. Sacred Hearts and Baldwin were the recipients of the koa trophies in the Zippy’s/HHSAA Cheerleading State Championships.
For the Lancers, it’s a third straight medium division state crown. For Baldwin, which competed in the large division, it’s a huge breakthrough and a first for the school.
“We had to get our head in the game, stay focused, step by step, stay humble, stay confident,” said Sacred Hearts junior Cayla Cabanban, whose team shook off a mistake on a stunt to score 355.75 and edge Moanalua and Radford by less than two points. “Something went wrong, but it wasn’t over. We picked up our faces and rallied until we stepped off that mat. I think we had that little extra showmanship and connected with the crowd.”
The other Lancers champions under coach Cadey Vakauta are Lexy Freitas, Kayla Oka, Alissa De Smet, Zandrina Cambra, Jacelyn Tanuvasa, Makenna Ching, Koko Tanaka and Andromeda Tong.
After years of success but no state title, Baldwin finally did it.
“We tried so hard my freshman year, when we were second, my sophomore year, when we were third, and junior year, when we were second again,” Bears senior Madison Murayama said. “We could only dream of what this feeling would be like. We have so much of the most amazing athletes in this program. Knowing the fight and drive that they all had, it’s amazing to put it all together on the floor.”
Baldwin’s other champs under coach Kealii Molina are Chelsie Constantino, Christina Damore, Karah Dean, Sasha Kamaka, Brandi Kamalani, Lea Kashiwamura, Koalii Kenui, Donnelle Leandro, Melina Perez, Teija Sniffen, Makenna Sumibcay, Hilalia Villanueva Langi and Maile Wickes.