APRIL 16, 1988: Punahou’s Cherie Kaneshiro begins golden age

Punahou's Cherie Kaneshiro was part of a deep class of female tennis players from 1988-1991

Punahou tennis phenom Cherie Kaneshiro only won two state high school titles in her career, but that says more about the era than it does about her.

On this date in 1998, the 14-year old freshman defended her No. 1 seed and won the state tennis championship for Punahou. Junior Ryan Lee won the boys tournament to give the Buffanblu their 25th girls title and 20th boys crown.

Kaneshiro repeated her state title as a sophomore but fell short as a junior with a 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 loss to Lahainaluna sophomore Jean Okada. Tracee Lee carried the colors for Punahou, beating Okada 6-4, 6-2 for the state title. Okada barely qualified for states, falling ill two weeks before and reaching only the quarterfinals of the ILH tournament.

Despite still being the state’s top-ranked female, Kaneshiro fell short again as a senior with a 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) loss to teammate Kathy Peterson. Lee went on to win her second straight title.

Lee ended up attending Pacific while Peterson went to UC Santa Barbara and Kaneshiro competed at BYU. Kaneshiro was was 58-30 in her college career and won the Arthur Ashe award as a senior.


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