HHSAA girls golf: Waiakea’s young guns capture state team title

  • Waiakea's Lacey Uchida finds the lava rock on the 15th hole during Round 2 of the HHSAA state golf tournament on Wednesday at Waikoloa Kings' Course. (Rick Winters/West Hawaii Today)
  • Waiakea's Lacey Uchida watches Mid Pac's Myah McDonald putt on the 19th hole green during Round 2 of the HHSAA state golf tournament on Wednesday at Waikoloa Kings' Course. (Rick Winters/West Hawaii Today)
  • Waiakea's Lacey Uchida hits an approach shot on the 18th hole during Round 2 of the HHSAA state golf tournament on Wednesday at Waikoloa Kings' Course. (Rick Winters/West Hawaii Today)
  • Waiakea's Lacey Uchida hits her approach shot to the 18th hole green during Round 2 of the BIIF championship tournament at Mauna Kea Golf Club on Monday. (Rick Winters/West Hawaii Today)
  • Waiakea's Lacey Uchida lines up a putt on the 18th hole green during Round 2 of the HHSAA state golf tournament on Wednesday at Waikoloa Kings' Course. (Rick Winters/West Hawaii Today)

WAIKOLOA — The hole did not move all year for Waiakea. From Day 1, the Warriors knew exactly where they wanted to end up.

With a stable of talented, young golfers, the goal for Waiakea and first-year head coach Bobby Perreira this season was the team state title.

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On Wednesday, Perreira could final utter the words he had been waiting to all season, koa trophy in hand: mission accomplished.

Waiakea hit their season-long target at the Waikoloa Kings’ Course, surging past the field at the HHSAA state championships with a two-day total score of 26-over 458 for the program’s first title since 2005.

“We had a vision,” Perreira said just off the 18th green. “The girls worked hard for this. We needed 225 both days. We got 223 the first day, leaked a little oil the second day, but we were lucky to pull it off. Everyone did their jobs to get there.”

Lacey Uchida, Kailey Oki and Kiersten Saludares combined for a 223 in the first round. Elle Otani was added to the mix in the second round, and alongside with Uchida and Saludares, the Warrior trio recorded a 235.

Uchida was the top finisher for Waiakea, carding a second round 72 to finish third. It was the highest finish for a BIIF golfer since Waiakea’s Ciera Min finished second in 2013.

“It means so much — oh my goodness,” Uchida said. “The team worked so hard; every single person worked hard. Everyone is so good, it pushes us to be better.”

The Waiakea sophomore had an exceptional two days, the only exception being a three hole stretch in the first round that she played a combined 4-over. Uchida ended up finishing just two strokes behind champion, Leilehua freshman Leia Chun.

“I was getting a little too aggressive,” said Uchida, who won the BIIF championship last month by a whopping 16 strokes. “But I had to finish strong. Coach told me the team was behind me and that made me calm down and took pressure off.”

Oki was the co-leader after the first round with an even-par 72, but struggled on the final day with an 85. However, her contributions on the first day were a big reason Waiakea was able to earn the victory.

“She got to play in that last group,” Perreira said. “That’s good experience for her to take it into next year.”

After a stellar first round, Waiakea entered Wednesday with a nine-stroke lead on Mid Pacific and a 13-stroke edge on Punahou, which had won six crowns in a row, and 11 of the last 12.

“Punahou’s coach (Ed Kageyama) told me this morning, ‘we are gunning for you coach,’” said Perreira. “I told him good luck, because we have the pedal down.”

The Buffanblu (468) made a run in the second round, but Waiakea rolled to the title by a comfortable 10 strokes. Mid Pacific finished third.

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The scary prospect for the rest of the state is that the Warriors are very young. Uchida and Oki are sophomores, while Otani and Saludares are listed as freshmen.

“We are a young team and will be back next year,” Perriera said. “Now it’s our turn.”

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