With inaugural MIL surf contest coming up, teams are on the Crest of history

The Maui Interscholastic League was the first in the state to define Divisions I and II by school size, the first with a comprehensive sports transfer rule and the first to have official eight-player football.

Saturday at 7:30 a.m. at Lahaina Harbor, the MIL will become the first league in the nation with surfing as a sanctioned high school sport.

“Really, I don’t think the kids have any idea of how monumental this is – I have been trying to relay it to them,” Lahainaluna coach Luke Adolfson said Thursday.

“They are excited that it’s a sport, they have a little more pride in surfing as far as it being considered a sport. It’s really cool that they get accredited and actually are considered a sport at school now. They can wear their jerseys to school (today).”

The Lunas won the 19th and final Maui Scholastic Surfing Championships team title last season and appear to be among the contenders for the inaugural MIL crown.

Lahainaluna’s Kala Willard (boys shortboard), Sierra Lerback (girls shortboard) and Nainoa Steward (boys bodyboard) appear to be title contenders, while Seabury Hall’s Rich Lenny is likely to be in the hunt for the boys shortboard crown.

King Kekaulike is also expected be in the mix for a team title with Serene Gunnison (girls shortboard), Ginger Prados (girls bodyboard) and Cody Young (boys shortboard).

Seabury’s Isabella Pickering (girls shortboard), Maui Prep’s Sophia Johnston (girls shortboard) and Maui High’s Justin McCrary (boys bodyboard) are among the other individual contenders.

The MIL championships are scheduled for April 19 at Hookipa Beach Park – the second of three meets is on April 5 at D.T. Fleming Beach Park.

Lahainaluna’s Candace Hanneman wrote a story for the school newspaper that gave insight to the student body.

“When that came out, a lot of kids were like, ‘Wow, this is something monumental, this is something that is going to be remembered forever,’ ” Adolfson said. “Our kids said, ‘I get to be a part of the first team in the whole nation.’ It is really rad that the whole school has a little bit more of an understanding of what exactly is going on here.”

The Lunas have a practice contest with Maui High today.

“To show the kids how it works and really this is just about working together as a family to get this thing going,” Adolfson said. “We don’t really look at the other schools as our competitors, but as our allies.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com